This year’s Fulbright scholars, including Borei Sylyvann (front right) Vinh Dany (back centre). PHOTO SUPPLIED
(CAAI News Media)
Wednesday, 23 December 2009 15:00 Kounila Keo
After receiving a bachelor’s degree in media and communications in 2006, Borei Sylyvann did not immediately apply for a scholarship, but instead decided to spend a few years building up his work experience and achievements in the hope that his school transcript and professional background would put him in a better situation.
Four years later he is one of 10 winners of a Fulbright scholarship, a prestigious scholarship to study in America that has been given to only 114 Cambodians in the past. Borei Sylyvann feels proud and says his dreams are near. He says his only secret to obtaining the scholarship is to be well-prepared, adding that to be a strong candidate, one must have job experience that is relevant to his degree.
“It is very exciting for me, and no words can describe how I’m feeling right now,” he says, adding that he impressed the scholarship interviewers not only with his excellent academic performance, but also years of relevant work experience. Borei Sylyvann is going to study communication and development studies, majoring in TV production and media campaign design.
Vinh Dany is also one of this year’s Fulbright scholars, going to study economics and sustainable development in the US. The 27-year-old believes that education is one of the primary driving forces moving people out of poverty, and sees herself as a social entrepreneur with the goal of building up the Kingdom’s education system.
“To pass the Fulbright scholarship, one should have a proficiency in English, a good academic record, and volunteer or professional experience. What is equally important is a career study objective as well as a goal,” she says.
Borei Sylyvann echoes Vinh Davy’s points, but Borei Sylyvann argues that for students without impressive exam scores or academic records, there is nothing to worry about. Especially if they have work experience related to their subject.
“Many students think that when they have average school transcripts, they do not want to apply, but this is not true,” he says.
He adds even though having equally good academic record and work experience is helpful, it is also necessary to possess a clear career objective.
“There should be a consistency and balance between school transcripts and the work experience because they complement each other. I would like to encourage students to have a real career commitment in mind, so if they fall once, they will try again,” he says.
“When I come back, I will try to find a job related to my skills and apply what I learn from there in Cambodian context,” he adds. Borei Sylyvann dreams of running his own TV station to broadcast 4 to 5 hours of news on education in an entertaining way.
“I want to put something I learn into practice to help Cambodia ... I don’t know what countries can do this, but this is what I plan to do.”