Mao Chansoknea is a 21-year-old graduate of Sonthor Mok high school in Phnom Penh. After graduation, she received a scholarship to the United World College in Hong Kong, which offers a pre-university program to help students prepare for further studies.
She went on to study at St. Lawrence University, in New York, majoring in economics and global studies.
She told VOA Khmer recently that the systems of study in Cambodia, Hong Kong and the US “are totally different.”
“If the student doesn’t study hard, in Cambodia he or she can bribe to pass,” she said. “However, in Hong Kong and the US, if the student does not study, he or she will definitely fail. There is no way to help them pass besides to study hard by themselves.”
In the US, she said, students must read and research. “This work makes them gain knowledge gradually,” she said, “while in Cambodia, students usually sit still, listening to teachers and lecturers, taking notes and not doing much research.”
Mao Chansoknea said she hopes to continue in economics, where she said Cambodia is lacking. More students of economics would be a great benefit to the country, she said.
She encouraged Cambodian students to study hard and commit to broad research.
“If we don’t develop ourselves,” she said, “how can we develop the country?”