Hi! My name is Doriane. I am from France. Before coming, I was volunteering in Poland as an English teacher. I volunteered Anjali House as a teacher assistant for the whole year in 2022. This amazing experience changed my life!
My Arrival in Siem Reap
After a long flight from France to Cambodia, I finally landed in Siem Reap. I discovered a city that just woke up from a long hibernation.
Because of the Covid pandemic, Siem Reap was empty of its usual tourists. I could feel this period had a huge impact on the Khmer people. A lot of shops were still closed, but life started to come back little by little.
I arrived during the Lunar New Year, so I had a short time to adapt before starting my volunteering at Anjali House.
My Volunteering at Anjali House
I started as an English teaching assistant. First, I was helping with the Future Leaders students. And later on, my work at Anjali House began to be more diverse.
Running English Classes
I ran English and creative workshop classes in different classrooms with different ages.
I mostly teach through games. Because of the language difference, it was easier to communicate through fun activities and body language.
Creativity in Workshops
In my opinion, the workshop times were the best to speak together in English. The students would work on their crafts, so they felt more relaxed. So they felt free to ask anything about our lives. It was mostly during those times that I also learned about the Khmer culture.
I also did gardening lessons twice a week. I learned from Annie, our previous gardening volunteer. She shared her passion for nature, and the hard work she has put through to set up Anjali House’s garden. We had a great time together! She’s like my British family.
I think it was one of my favorite lessons, the students were outside, doing something with their hands and learning skills they could use at home.
They were also excited about this moment. Each week I had one student who asked about what we were going to do in the garden.
I also help the team with social media. I discovered new skills! I liked to create content, make videos, and cover some events. I was taking a break from lessons, and it helped me to be more focused on each task.
Everything wasn’t that easy. When I first arrived, it was really hard for me. I not only had to adapt to the Khmer culture but also to the way Anjali House functioned. I had to think a lot about what I wanted to teach the students. Everything was new and so challenging.
With the support of Anjali House staff, after a few weeks, everything went better and I learned so much about myself during this adaptation period.
My Bond with Anjali House
This year went by so fast! It was really hard to say goodbye to the students, I learned a lot from them. I am able to speak louder, understand the different needs of each student, and be more flexible. By being with them every day, I created a strong bond.
The coworkers at Anjali House are now my friends. The teachers brought me to the temple and shared their gorgeous culture. Our intercultural excursions make us closer. I will forever remember them, they brought me so much in my journey in Cambodia.
This experience helped me discover a job, a country, and a nation where I want to live.
I unconditionally love Anjali House, I am grateful for this volunteering opportunity that changed my life!