Monday, 16 January 2017 14:31

The Journey of Cambodian Student to MIT

“I knew it was real. Everything I have done up to that point will determine how my adult life is going to start,” says a young Cambodian girl who is currently studying in Boston, U.S. Grew up in Phnom Penh, a 20-year-old girl, Sotheara has made so much effort and determination to achieve a golden opportunity to be a scholarship student majoring in Biological Engineering in one of the prestigious universities in the U.S, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Back in the past years, Sotheara was a student of Zaman International School and graduated in 2012. As she was young, Sotheara did not have much faith in herself, and she often feel uncertain toward what she wants to do with her favorite science biology subject. Her life met its changing point she got an opportunity to meet a Cambodian scientist, Rethy Chem, who is the Director of the Division of Human Health at International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Rethy Chem’s struggling experiences and his successful career path have deeply inspired her to start to believe in herself that she can be anything she wants to be.

This is how her role model has changed her academic life to a new level of accomplishment. With high commitment to follow her passion science, Sotheara has worked so hard to prove her parents who desperately wanted her to follow their path instead of going to science. Nonetheless, she keeps her belief in her passion. She went on with it and ultimately made it possible to pursue her favorite major in one of the best science and engineering institutes in the world.

The first application process Sotheara had to go through is the interview following by the submission of the required documents such as biographical form, essay, recommendation letters from math and science teachers, high school transcript, and the last one is scholastic assessment test (SAT) and TOEFL.
With her high level of academic competency, the support from her friends and the passion to be a doctor, Sotheara was successfully selected to be a Biological Engineering student at MIT and currently enrolled as a junior student. Apart from what she strive for her academic journey, Sotheara has also been involved in community service activities and was a leader of SEALNet Project Cambodia 2015 which was conducted in Cambodia on August 2015. She also completed student internship in India and Singapore in the field of her study during her sophomore year.

From her academic accomplishment, Sotheara gains more trust in herself that she defines. “To be a successful person, you have to believe in yourself. You need to define what you count as success. And you have to definitely ask yourself what you want for yourself.”

Regardless of what she has achieved in her adult life, Sotheara still have a problem to communicate with her parents of what she want to live her life. This is what failure means to her. “Failure to me is not being able to fix the problem in your life even you tried so many solutions” explains Sotheara.

“However, it is not finite. People can change it. There will be an ending point of failure when ones work hard to fix the problem. We can change the outcome of the failure”.

Author: San Lyhuong

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