At heart

Three key focus-areas form the heart of our student travel experiences:

1. Self

Personal development

Facing the unfamiliar offers incredible potential for growth, which we seek to maximise by supporting young explorers in their individual journeys. By carefully framing experiences and facilitating powerful reflection activities, students are encouraged to step bravely outside of their comfort zones, challenging themselves to explore new ideas, consider new perspectives, adopt a critical mind-set, question preconceptions, and most of all reflect on their own values, beliefs, strengths, and goals. As Marie Curie so concisely stated: “You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals.”

Learning objectives:

  • Critical thinking
  • Self-awareness
  • Grit

2. Community

Cultural immersion & historical context

Cultivating the humility to fully immerse in a new culture and community can be a humbling, life-changing experience, irreversibly altering the way we see both ourselves and the world around us. We help students get excited about stepping off the well-trodden path, delving beneath Cambodia’s surface to gain a richer understanding of the Kingdom’s cultural heritage and complex history. There is boundless joy (and learning) to be found in even the smallest moments of cross-cultural exchange, as students’ focus shifts from the obvious cultural differences to the shared human experiences that connect us.

Learning objectives:

  • Humility
  • Curiosity
  • Gratitude

3. World

Development education & global citizenship

Exploring the intricacies of Cambodia’s unique development journey allows students to gain valuable insights into the complexities of development on a wider scale, and ask ‘big’ questions on broader themes. Everything from charity, sustainability, sovereignty, and globalisation to equality, social justice, privilege, and power are up for debate, as students work through critical issues to form their own opinions. While our learning journeys may take place in Cambodia, students are encouraged to use their experience as an opportunity to define their role in an increasingly interconnected world.

Learning objectives:

  • Integrity
  • Compassion
  • Global citizenship

Ayana elements

We use the following building blocks to achieve our learning objectives, and support our students in having a transformative travel experience:

Responsible travel

We invite students to examine the varied impacts of the tourism industry, explore its role in ‘developing’ countries, and consider the steps they can take to ensure their current and future travels have a positive impact on the communities hosting them.

Cultural immersion

Informal language classes, morning Buddhism chats, rural homestays, local transport options, and even shared meals all weave together to create a holistic insight into Khmer culture, allowing students to connect with Cambodia and its people on a deeper level.

Historical context

Every place is a product of its past and nowhere is this truer than Cambodia, a fast-changing country still recovering from a turbulent past. Students visit significant sites, learn of peace and reconciliation efforts, and consider the effect of one generation’s actions on another’s.

Curated discomfort

Outside of our comfort zone is where the most powerful learning takes place, so we intentionally craft challenging experiences that stretch our students physically and intellectually. It is in these moments that students often learn the most about themselves, and each other

Inspiring connections

Rather that ‘owning’ our students’ experience or carefully crafting a certain impression of Cambodia, we introduce students to a variety of change-makers, community leaders, experts, and activists who each share their own stories

Facilitated learning

Experienced facilitators accompany students throughout their journey, providing logistical and pastoral support while facilitating deep learning. Workshops and discussions are designed to provoke critical thinking, encourage personal growth, support healthy group dynamics, and maximise the learning potential of visits, meetings, and other activities.

Reflection & debrief

Dedicated time for reflections and debriefs is integral to processing new experiences and ideas, and provides students with the opportunity to dig deeper into complex issues. ‘Unpacking’ information together also helps to ensure no one feels overwhelmed.

What next?

Travel can be truly transformative, and our aim is that the skills and insights students develop in Cambodia flourish long after they return home. Students are encouraged to consider how their Cambodian journey may impact their future interests, actions, and choices.

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