Where in the world … Cambodia

July 31, 2019 | Arts & Culture

Music student Curtis Ward’s photo captures one of the daily scenes of a market in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Curtis Ward was in his first year of MacEwan University’s Bachelor of Music program when he decided to embark on a trip to Cambodia. It wasn’t just any trip — MUSC 380: Directed Project is the first cultural study tour offered by the Department of Music, and Curtis didn’t want to miss out.

“There is so much to see in the world, and I find the best way to explore is with other people who also love to explore. This study tour offered me exactly that,” says Curtis. “I had a chance to go to a country I’d never visited and experience a culture, society and way of life far different from what I'm used to.”


 In our “Where in the World” series, students and faculty members share highlights from this year’s study tours, exchanges, internships and field schools. Talk to a faculty advisor or visit MacEwan.ca/EducationAbroad for opportunities.  

“I thought about the idea of creating a cultural tour around helping students understand music and culture from another perspective or from another part of the world,” says Associate Professor Chandelle Rimmer, who chose Cambodia because of her own familiarity visiting the country on previous occasions.

Part of planning the study tour on Chandelle’s part was making connections with PeopleStories Foundation, a reputable charity focusing on education in rural Cambodia, which would ensure her students would be making an impact and that their work would uplift the local people. “It was important to me that as much as we were engaging in the culture that we were also learning what it meant to be ethical volunteers and global citizens.”

Every day when we arrived, the kids were having fun and were so excited to see us, and it just warmed my heart.
—Curtis Ward

For 12 days starting at the end of April, Chandelle and the students immersed themselves in Cambodian culture and worked with a local charity to help a rural school outside of Siem Reap, the second largest city in the country. When they weren’t repainting the school or refurbishing desks, the music students were responsible for teaching the children about Western music. That meant designing a course outline and planning activities, as well as performing for the school to share their love of music.

“For me, the highlight of the trip was being at the school,” says Curtis. “Every day when we arrived, the kids were having fun and were so excited to see us, and it just warmed my heart. The entire experience was incredible.”


 Photos provided by Chandelle Rimmer and Curtis Ward.

From left: Cassidy Zahar, James Brown, Associate Professor Chandelle Rimmer, Curtis Ward, Janice Jacobs and Kayla Kimo.
Music student Janice Jacobs works with a local boy to repair a desk.
Music student Cassidy Zahar plays games with the schoolchildren.
Kayla Kimo (front) and Janice Jacobs (left) enjoy a bike ride through a local village.
Music student Curtis Ward gets a lesson from a Cambodian music student.
Kayla Kimo spends time with a student at a school football tournament.
Janice Jacobs refreshes the exterior of a rural primary school outside of Siem Reap.
Kayla Kimo and James Brown teach basic music concepts to primary school students.
From left: Cassidy Zahar, James Brown, Curtis Ward, Kayla Kimo and Janice Jacobs explore the ancient temple of Angkor Wat.

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