Maraen Chhaing (in green), a fourth year Psychology student at the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP), comes from a family of poor farmers. She has two older sisters and one younger brother. She left home to begin studying at RUPP, and lives in a dorm very near to school with other poor students from rural areas.
Maraen has been a stellar student all through her four years. She once earned a GPA of 4.0 and other semesters got very close to a 4.0. This is particularly impressive at RUPP, where grades are much, much lower than at U.S. universities. Maraen is currently doing a thesis for her final year – the top 10% of the fourth year psychology students must write a thesis and she is among them.
In addition to her schoolwork, Maraen has been working in an internship position at the Cambodia Communication Institute. She makes a modest salary, but feels she has learned a lot and she can also use the Institute to do research for her studies.
A Master’s Degree is hopefully on the horizon, but Maraen wants to first get some work experience. She dreams of working with the Ministry of Labor or the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, or becoming a school counselor. Significantly, besides farming, her father also teaches. Perhaps helping others is in her blood?