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Cathay Pacific Airways, No Barriers, and Learning AFAR are helping students from Oakland, CA, experience life-changing travel this fall. Here's what's in store.

Learning AFAR, an award-winning program from AFAR and non-profit organization No Barriers USA, and Cathay Pacific Airways are helping students expand their world by traveling from San Francisco to Cambodia in late November 2017.

Inspired by the belief that travel is a spectacular form of education, this program will make it possible for these students to take part in a life-changing experience as they immerse themselves Cambodia’s culture, history, and natural beauty while also connecting with local communities.

For some students, it may be their first time on a plane, let alone a trip across the world. Cathay Pacific’s staff will be on hand to greet the group and help them get oriented. Here’s a preview of some of the adventures waiting once the Oakland-area students touch down in Cambodia’s capital of Phnom Penh.

 

Arts and History Immersion

The arts flourished during Cambodia’s Khmer Empire (802-1431 C.E.), and the students will get a firsthand appreciation of that legacy during the Learning AFAR trip—most notably while spending a day at the awe-inspiring Angkor temple complex, including sticking around to soak up the sunset views.

But first, while in Phnom Penh, they will explore the National Museum of Cambodia and the adjacent Royal Palace complex. They will also glimpse a sobering side of Cambodia history at the Tuol Sleng Prison.

On the way to Siem Reap, the students will pay a visit to Sambor Prei Kuk, the former capital of the Chenla Kingdom, which predates Angkor. They will join a workshop at Phare, a circus troupe that provides some of the poorest young people with income, and then take in a Phare performance after dinner. A traditional Apsara dance show takes place the following night.

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Apsara dancers in Siem Reap. Photo by WIL.
Community Service and Cultural Exchange

Opportunities to lend a hand and connect with locals are woven throughout the 11-day itinerary. The students will help school children in the Phnom Penh area with a recycling project as well as computer lessons. While in Siem Reap, they’ll pay a visit the Build Your Future Today Center, a non-profit working to improve conditions for poor communities in surrounding villages.

The students will also have the chance to meet the makers at the Artisans D’Angkor handicraft center, which provides training in traditional skills like silk weaving and wood carving. The final day of the trip is devoted to engaging with children at the Cambodia-Dutch Organization, including a “show-and-tell” activity about life back in America.