Over the summer of 2019, I was fortunate enough to be able to spread my wings and fly across the world all the way to Cambodia. This was for an exclusive internship that I was able to be a part of, as I got accepted to join the Cambodian Children’s Advocacy Foundation on their quest to grow and sustain the schools they help fund. At the CCAF, I played a crucial role in the establishment and enhancement of 18 schools under their umbrella through grant writing, by visiting the many schools in the southern provinces, and fundraising with our partner organizations. When we visited the schools, we would check on the progress made by the teachers and staff members about how they are incorporating the funds and utilizing what they have to teach the students.
With limited resources and opportunities for growth, we encourage innovation by the staff in order to create a sustainable, educational atmosphere through whatever means they can fathom. My job was to help the classrooms develop their status in order to elevate their means of educating their students, many of whom have to bike up to an hour to attend their classes. Likewise, conditions in a Cambodian school are typically more difficult to navigate as an American, as classes are frequently held outside, there is a lack of flowing water, and an occasional chicken will cross the presentations. Nonetheless, the experience was incredibly eye-opening and gave me a new perspective on poverty, accessibility, and general life.
Social Science Scholars has given me a new lease on life – a new chance to develop my leadership abilities and internship capabilities. When I first joined the organization, I was afraid that I wouldn’t fit in with the expertise and professionalism found within each of the other students. I quickly realized that I belonged there, and that I was among one of the most extensive, top tier student organizations on campus. Because of Social Science Scholars, I was able to completely fund an entire internship in a foreign country, which is an amazing opportunity that few students are able to accomplish. I believe that my time in the program has greatly increased my own confidence in my abilities, along with overcoming my personal dilemmas that may have prevented me from going beyond my own limitations. Social Science Scholars is a phenomenal program that brings out the best in students by encouraging them to go forth into the world and take their knowledge and experience into the field.
Steven Faviano is earning dual degrees in International Affairs and Social Science. He has an eye for human rights and a hand in writing.