What are the accommodations like?
During the first week of orientation, participants will be housed in a local hotel in Phnom Penh. After orientation, you will stay in a local homestay, guesthouse, apartment, or in your field placement’s on-site accommodations.
Will there be internet access?
Access is readily available at Internet cafes and the GSC homestays in Phnom Penh, with some internet access available in rural areas.
What is the food like?
Participants will be introduced to traditional Khmer cuisine which will be provided throughout the program. Khmer cuisine includes meat and vegetable stir fries, coconut curries, and rice and noodle dishes. It is less spicy than Thai cuisine and often includes a fish paste that is used as flavoring. In Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, international cuisine is also readily available. Vegetarian diets are easily accommodated.
Are there ATM machines available?
ATM machines are available in Phnom Penh and surrounding areas, as well as Siem Reap. Most accept international ATM cards, although service fees may be high. Volunteers are cautioned to secure their cash carefully.
How much spending money is appropriate?
All basic expenses including meals, accommodations, and transportation are covered during official trips and project work; however, extra funds should be budgeted for additional traveling and shopping if desired. In most locales, guest houses (similar to a small hotel) can be found for $20 or less per night and inexpensive bus transportation is available throughout the country. $10 - $15 per day covers basic food needs. Overall, for a short-term program of three to eight weeks, $300-$500 should be sufficient for all “extras” of your choosing. Volunteers will have the chance to do some shopping and sightseeing during the week long orientation in Phnom Penh, the weekend trip to Siem Reap and Angkor Wat, and during evening and weekend free time.
How do volunteer participants get around?
Transportation from/to the airport at the start and end of the program, as well as to/from the placement will be provided. Rer morks (tuk tuks) are the preferred mode of travel in the cities. Volunteers are strongly discouraged from riding motorcycle taxis in the cities due to high accident rates and are not allowed to ride on a motorcycle.
How will I communicate with GSC staff in country?
Our in-country staff can be reached by mobile phone, email and through regular check-ins during the program.
Will I need a phone while I’m there? How can I contact home?
Cambodian cell phones operate using SIM cards. Your US phone will work as long as it has a SIM card. Once in-country, you can purchase an inexpensive SIM card and phone if needed. Cambodian SIM cards allow you to make and receive international calls relatively inexpensively. Of course, you will also have the option of keeping in touch with family and friends via email.
When and where is the weekend excursion?
All participants on programs of three weeks or longer are provided a weekend trip to Siem Reap to enjoy the beautiful architecture and explore nearby Angkor Wat. All meals, transportation, and accommodations are covered by participant program fees. Participants may also wish to take advantage of weekends or holidays by visiting other sites close to Phnom Penh.
What kinds of gifts should I bring?
You may wish to bring supplies to share with the partner organization with which you are placed. For example, if working with children, non-toxic art and school supplies and used (clean) children’s clothing are appreciated and should be provided to the director for distribution, rather than given to the children directly. Children should never be given candy or other non-nutritious food items.