Sopheaktra Dim and Menghuo Lay are International Exchange students from the National University of Management in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. They will spend one semester at LCC International University studying International Business Administration. Sopheaktra and Menghuo have traveled a long way to come to Lithuania and have faced some challenges while adapting to the new culture and lifestyle. Even though they knew it would be a challenging transition, they decided to accept it and make Klaipėda their second home.
Why did you decide to come to LCC for a semester as Erasmus students?
Menghuo: One of the students from our university told me about LCC and the exchange program. In fact, he was the first one from our university to come here for a semester. After hearing about his positive experience, I got interested in the program and did some research. It was my dream to do an exchange program abroad and the chance of studying in Europe seemed exciting.
Sopheaktra: I wanted to try something new and experience a different culture and educational system. I enjoy getting to know people from other cultures and have made friends all over the world. The idea of living independently was quite thrilling as I have lived off my parents' support until now.
Moving to another country for a semester can be a major stress. Have you faced any challenges yet?
Sopheaktra: Of course, it was difficult at first because it is an entirely different culture. It was also my first experience of sharing a room with strangers. Initially, I found it very difficult to communicate with my roommates, however, as I have gotten to know them for the past two weeks, they have become good friends. I could have chosen to do the program in the country closer to Cambodia, but instead decided to go with LCC. I had a big cultural shock, but I am glad I did not hesitate to come.
Menghuo: I found it hard to communicate with people from entirely different cultures. I needed some time to adapt, but right now I feel settled and it is beginning to feel like home. I already know a lot of people and their friendliness has been beyond my expectations.
What were some surprising facts about the cultures you have interacted with?
Menghuo: The biggest surprise was how friendly and open-minded German people are. In my country, there is a stereotype that German people usually do not like to smile or talk, but I am finding out that they are just the opposite.
How has your experience with the Erasmus group has been?
Menghuo: It is a great idea to have different activities and ice-breakers for the group of exchange students. It helps us connect, get to know each other better and forge strong friendships. Our leaders, from LCC, were extremely helpful when we first arrived, they helped us settle in and did a tour around the town. I am looking forward to continued adventures with our group throughout the semester.
What are your hopes for this semester?
Sopheaktra: I am focused on my studies, my goal is to be successful in all classes. I also want to make as many friends as possible and keep in touch with them after I am back in my country. It is nice to know people from different countries, especially if you want to travel around and get to know different cultures.
Menghuo: I want to get the most from LCC in terms of education. However, my main priority is to understand diverse cultures and break through some of the stereotypes.