I would like to tell you about my life before I was a hospitality student. My parents died of malaria when I was 8 years old and I lived with my grandmother who died when I was 11. I remember jumping on a truck and sitting on top to ride to the city of Phnom Penh. When I arrived, I was so small and I lived in the street and I was a beggar. I would shine shoes to make some money. After two years on the street, I came to study at an orphanage. It became my second home and also my second family too.
In 2010, EGBOK Mission gave us the opportunity to learn about hospitality at the orphanage. As part of the class, we toured many restaurants and hotels. We also learned about room design, which was my favorite topic. In class we saw pictures of hotels from all around the world. My favorite speaker was a lawyer. He talked to us about the law in Cambodia and why it is important in hospitality.
I am very happy that EGBOK Mission has helped me to now study at Sala Bai Hotel School in their restaurant program. At school, I study many different subjects. It is especially important to study English and I practice five days a week to improve. All of my teachers are friendly and helpful and I was ranked first in my restaurant class with 32 students. I am curious and want to know everything and the teachers always cares about the students. I really enjoy living with my classmates because they come from all different places in Cambodia.
I was able to do an internship at Le Méridian Angkor hotel for two months. At first, training was very difficult because I didn’t know anything, so I had to practice a lot. I also had to learn what different things are called in English at a five-star hotel because the flatware and silverware are very different for Cambodians and foreigners. I also did a second internship at Orient Express’ La Résidence d'Angkor, which is the same hotel I toured when I took EGBOK Mission’s hospitality class. All the staff there were very friendly including the supervisors and managers. They evaluated me every day and showed me how to improve. When I finish hospitality school in September, I would like to work there. They have good service, good standards and good food!
Sometimes we get to work part-time at hotels for special events including weddings. I have also worked banquets that were held at the temples in Siem Reap. It is very beautiful and I am happy to be a part of it.
I think hospitality is very important in Cambodia because our country is a developing country and many tourists come from abroad to visit. Hospitality is important for our society and economy. I am very happy that I can reach my dream and be a part of hospitality in Cambodia. One day I hope to be a general manager.