This summer, Andie Palagi '18 is returning to a country for which she has found a great passion. She is one of five American students chosen to take part in the Center for Khmer Studies Summer Fellowship Program.
A double major in finance and global studies, Palagi is spending a portion of her summer in Cambodia studying at the Center for Khmer Studies. Only 15 students are chosen from America, Cambodia and France to participate in this immersive six-week study of Cambodian history and culture.
“Essentially, I'll be studying for a good portion of the day, taking language courses, a contemporary Southeast Asia course, and working on a research paper,” she says. “When I'm not studying, I'm hoping to wander around Siem Reap with other students and talk with locals in their language.”
The Butte, Mont., native previously spent almost a month in Cambodia on a trip that focused on studying environmental issues. It was the place, however, that captured her attention.
“The country was amazing, and I wanted to return as soon as I left,” she says. “The culture of the country is absolutely beautiful, the people are incredibly friendly, and the food is pretty tasty as well.”
Palagi speaks fondly of her experience living with two different host families during her first trip; she loved building relationships with them and other local people. While in Cambodia this summer, she hopes to both reunite with old friends and to make new ones.
“The people of Cambodia are known for their friendliness and, despite the language barrier, I enjoyed becoming close to people of a different culture,” she says. “I'm hoping to make more lifelong friends while in the country.”