To facilitate informed decision-making among prospective university students in Cambodia, CAM-ASEAN organised a seminar on December 1, 2023, inviting experts from various fields to share their experiences and provide guidance.
Following the release of the national high school examination results, Cambodian students aspiring tertiary education face the big decisions of selecting their university and their respective degree. So CAM-ASEAN has held this event five times to allow guest speakers to share their experiences and provide advice to university students on selecting the right degree major.
Watch B2B Cambodia’s highlight video from the CAM-ASEAN seminar on choosing the right university degree:
Seang Sopagna, President of CAM-ASEAN Institute, inaugurated the event by emphasising the significance of the four-year university journey, in which students must carefully choose their specialisation.
Choosing A University Major
The 2023 seminar featured guest speakers from the legal, healthcare, technology, and human resource sectors.
Sopagna shared his personal journey, coming from Kampong Cham province to study in Phnom Penh, and later receiving scholarships to study in Australia and Japan.
Seng Sokleang, CAM-ASEAN Kbal Thnol Deputy Manager, highlighted the significance of choosing the right academic path by advising students to conduct thorough research into their options, and choose a subject that aligns with their interests and also meets the social context.
“We spend at least four years to complete a (bachelor’s degree), so before we choose, we must think about the details aligning with our interests and what we want,” he surmised.
During a panel discussion at the event, guest speakers shared insightful information on the various majors students can pursue for their higher education, including law, medicine, business, engineering, agriculture, and technology.
Foreign Languages & Internships Seen Highly Regarded
The speakers also advised students to focus on foreign languages, as they can help to elevate expertise.
President of CAM-ASEAN Institute encouraged students to take up a foreign language, such as English, French, or Chinese, since language can “act as a bridge” to greater opportunities.
Dr. Hov Chamroeun, a graduate student from France with 10 years of experience in the medical field, emphasised the necessity of foreign language proficiency for medical students. He highlighted the limited number of learning resources available in the Khmer language and stressed that failing to be proficient in a foreign language can bar students from a successful career.
Dr. Chamroeun further underscored the importance of internships, especially for medical students, saying they can help to enhance a student’s resume for post-graduation employment.
Heng VanPuthBandith, Executive Director of CAM-ASEAN, who has expertise in commerce, economics, and foreign languages, advised students that they should have knowledge of computers, mathematics, and languages if they wish to pursue a career in commerce.
Discussing a major in law, Ing Kerya, Attorney at Law and co-founder of Grand Law Group, noted that the legal field offers many opportunities in Cambodia. Students taking this major can work in courts, potentially becoming judges, prosecutors, bailiffs, or clerks. Additionally, they can provide freelance services as lawyers, notaries, arbitrators, mediators, or lecturers.
While discussing the field of engineering, Bun Kim Ngun, Deputy Head of the Department at the Institute of Technology of Cambodia, explained that the field spans from mechatronics to automation, and remains useful to modern business and also contributes to social development.
Should Students Work While Pursuing Their Bachelor’s Degree?
Sok Sopheakmonkol, co-founder of CodingGate, a business and innovation technology company in Phnom Penh, shared his journey from working as a security guard after high school to earning a scholarship in the Czech Republic.
He emphasised that when students focus solely on their studies, they acquire a skill set that is beneficial for their future careers. He advised capable students to prioritise their studies over full-time employment to prevent adverse effects on their education.
Sopagna had alternatively advised students to gain practical experience during their bachelor’s degree through volunteering, internships, and other activities that complement their academic pursuits.
Recruitment Consultant and BD Lead at HR Inc. Cambodia, Thiv Sophoeun, emphasised the significance of both hard and soft skills for university students. She observed that individuals with strong soft skills such as high moral standards, flexibility, teamwork, and communication skills often advance rapidly in their careers.
She also noted that while expertise in technology, legal, medical, and business fields are highly sought after, the job market increasingly values a broad set of skills.
Buzzwords such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) have obviously become a hot topic in 2023 globally, and the Cambodian government, with its intentions to leave the group of least developed countries (LDCs) possibly by the end of 2027 and with loftier ambitions of turning Cambodia into a high-income country by 2050, is placing greater emphasis on a wider variety of skills.
The Cambodian Prime Minister, Hun Manet, has also in December 2023 called for amore holistic approach to Cambodian education – not just with a focus on academic excellence.
CAM-ASEAN is a language school known for its English and Chinese language courses, also specialises in corporate training and has its own study abroad centre.
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