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I’ve surprisingly been asked by several people if I regret making the decision to be where I am today. Every time I get this question, I get confused because HOW could I possibly regret this amazing experience?! Yes, there has been some difficult moments (visa issues, adjusting to the time difference, making friends, getting sick alllllll the time) but literally none of that compares to the great times, relationships and the experiences I am having.

Every October 6th is Opening Day for The Global Child. Opening Day is a day for students to showcase the work they have done throughout the school year and welcome in the new academic year. Families and important academic officials are invited from all over Siem Reap to see the accomplishments of our students. This has been one of my favorite days at TGC for sure! Students at TGC are awarded for being in the Top 5 of their classes and one student from the school is awarded with a bicycle for their outstanding work throughout the school year!

Our students performed different traditional dances in traditional Khmer attire, played instruments, sang songs and my Hip Hop/Step club students performed for the first time! I am extremely proud of them because although they were shy, they did an amazing job! This is the first time that many of the people who attend Opening Day saw a Hip Hop routine and it seemed like they all enjoyed it!

Another reason why Opening Day has been one of my favorite days here is because Dalila & I hosted the first ever TGC OLYMPICS! Students from all classes were split up into four different groups. They came up with a team name, team chant and team banner days before the olympics took place. We had the Mobile Legion Green Warriors, the Red Ant Dragons, the Blue Sky, and the Yellow Sunflowers! (We all know what my favorite flower is so, we know who I was rooting for). There was a lot of build up for the day to finally arrive and I must say, most teams kicked butt! Sadly, there could only be one winner & that was…


Throughout the transition from Opening Day activities and TGC Olympics, the students had an incredible time and I had an even better time watching them having so much fun. We played insanely loud music, found out that many students have great singing voices through Karaoke and we laughed A LOT! This was the first time that we all- staff, teachers and students completely let our guard down and had fun with the students in a non-classroom environment. I loved this because I learned so much more about my students and was able to spend a lot of time with students that are not in any of my classes/dance club!

I took this day to reflect on my three months here and even though I manage to get sick with either a fever or a stomach bug at least once a month, everything is worth it! I recently found out how much of a baby I am because the new academic year means that some students would be switched around depending on the results of their exams. I mainly work with section B of all grades (the students that have a harder time with English and need a slower pace) and I have become so close with them all. Of course, the anticipation of finding out which students were going to be moved was killing me! I wanted all of my students to be moved to section A because that meant that their English skills would’ve improved a substantial amount. Little did I know that I was going to be so hurt when I actually found out that my students were being moved. For very selfish reasons, I cried about 3 times when I found out that I was no longer going to be teaching the students that I have strong relationships with.

Me thinking about my students being switched

Here we are, a few weeks in and I could not be happier about the class changes. I am so proud of those who were switched to section A because they really do deserve it and I am so happy to have the new students in my class because this gives me the opportunity to build strong relationships with everyone!

Catch Up w/ Yesenia Outside of Work

My life here mainly consists of school & my students but I have managed to start doing other things during the little free time that I have. As I mentioned in my last post, I had been asked to speak for Sugar Talks (intended to be like Ted Talks but smaller). Although I was very interested in doing this, I was very hesitant and nervous because I felt like I had so much to talk about yet, so little at the same time. I managed to switch my topic about 8000 times and finally came to a decision the day of. I spoke about doing things differently and moving away from traditional values that no longer are with our current time and generation. I referred a lot to my Latinx/Dominican culture and gave examples of ways that I have strayed away from some of the traditional thinking while also speaking about the amazing things that our culture has to offer. I emphasized the importance of learning to live life without permission because if I had lived my life based on the permission and acceptance of others, I would not be where I am or who I am today.

I am continuing to spend a lot of time at Latinos Restaurant & Bar because they have become my favorite people to hang out with. Eating and hanging out there gives me a little glimpse of home that I cannot let go of! I will also start teaching private Hip Hop lessons at Latinos very soon so I am extremely excited for that! Surprisingly, I have been able to maintain my pescatarian diet but I am not sure how much longer this will last especially when the Holidays come around. But, I will keep you all posted on that.

I am loving the experiences and opportunities that Cambodia continues to give me & I am loving the parts of me that are evolving because of it!

Stay tuned for my next post!



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