Raising Star Of Cambodia - A Bright Student
By: Prak Chan Thul.Photos by: Chan Thul. ( December, 2002 Volume 2 No.12 )

18 year-old Bit Bunly, a third year student of tourism management at the Norton University in Phnom Penh, is widely known as an outstanding student in her field. A confident young woman, Bit Bunly says she chose the course because in her opinion, tourism is the only reliable contribution to development in Cambodia. Cambodia has enormous potential as a top travel destination, and investors are moving in with an eye to develop tourist facilities of all kinds. Without doubt, Cambodia has experiences to offer the tourist that none of its neighbors can rival. It has beaches, secluded islands and numerous national parks. The northeast offers wild and mountainous landscapes, and an insight into the lives of the ethnic minorities living there, as well as stunning wildlife and forestry. Most memorable of all, though, is the Cambodian smile. Cambodians offer rare amounts of warmth and enthusiasm to foreign visitors. These are the reasons Bit Bunly is pining her hopes for her future - and her country's - on the development of tourism.

But grades like hers do not come easy. "To be the best student is not effortless: I study at home for five hours and at school for four and a half hours per day," Bit Bunly said. Bit Bunly considers education to be the inevitable path for every human on earth. "My brother, who works at the ministry of tourism, told me to study tourism, so I followed his advice," Bit Bunly continued. Her brother thinks that Cambodia's future will be brilliant, as tourism will soon be well developed. Bit Bunly is still young, but she never looses the energy to learn, and to build herself and Cambodia up. The status of women in Cambodian society is changing, but there is still a big disparity between the number of males and females going on to higher education. There's a saying among scholars: "Research makes the difference." Bit Bunly follows it closely. Simply attending class is not enough to improve one's knowledge, especially when one is taking a tourism course, she says. Students need to read magazines, newspapers, books, periodicals and surf the Internet in their free time, too. "I do a lot of research, discuss lessons with my classmates and ask professors immediately when questions come to mind," Bit Bunly explained. Bit Bunly doesn't boast about being the best in her class, but she has some advice for her lazy classmates: "Students should not make noise in the class because it disturbs others, and they should concentrate their mind on the class because it disturbs others, and they should concentrate their mind on their studies in order to develop Cambodia," she added.

Bit Bunly considers human resources imperative for developing her country. "Every adult should be aware that young students are the driving force of change in our society; we need to stand up and fight illiteracy. Once we have quality, the quantity of change and improvements will come to stay, like in other developed countries. Education is not only for oneself, but also for one's society: it helps to push the development of a nation onto a fast-track. Cambodia should have strong international relations, stable security, worldwide advertising, destination development and human resources," the young student explained. Bit Bunly’s understanding and clear vision sets her above her peers at school and indeed many of her classmates forwardly agree that she is truly a raising star.