Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Update 5

The interviews went well and Cambodia ACTs walked away feeling confident in the selections made. It was really interesting for me to participate in the interview process since most of it was conducted in Khmer, the local Cambodian language. The initial though was that the interviews would be conducted in English and my job would be to evaluate the English speaking level of the interviewee. At times the candidates would be embarrased with their English speaking as they tried to answer questions and I would tell them to feel free to speak in Khmer if they would feel more comfortable. Most of the time that would lead to the rest of the conversation being in Khmer and me smiling and nodding and having to ask questions of my fellow interviewers upon completion of each interview.

One thing that I learned is that the interview process was much less formal than I was expecting and when I asked my co-workers why everything was so low key they smiled and replied "We are an NGO, we keep things simple." All the interviewees were generally shy and nervous, very different from the confidence and uniqe qualities we are taught to show off while interviewing here in the U.S. Another thing that was interesting is that a lot of the candidates had acquired a degree from one of the Cambodian universities in their specialty field, but then were continuing their education with a degree in English Literature, because the general consensus between young Cambodians in that fluency in English is the way to a brighter future. Many of these people are working on their English degree while they are working for a living, or volunteering to gain experience for a job they'll apply to in the future. Reading these resumes and having conversations with the young professional workforce of Cambodia really gave me a hope for the future of the country. These people are extremely hard working and know that the future of their country is up to the young generation.

As I am now back in the United States I will continue to post blogs on the wrap up of the second half of the trip. I will also share with you the thoughts I've gathered while trying to summarize the experience as a whole, and the reactions I come across as I try to explain what I can of the trip.