With our Country Exchange Program, we empower our social entrepreneurs to share best practices and learn from each other. In 2023, Sreydieb from Cambodia visited Sri Lanka, Donald from Sri Lanka traveled to Cambodia and Batchimeg had the chance to learn from our social entrepreneurs in Cambodia. In this blog article, they summarize their learnings.
Why did you apply for the Country Exchange Program?
Sreydieb: I want to learn to see what I can take back and to apply all those things to make my learning center better. I was especially curious to know how students spend their time learning at home and school since countries are influenced by smartphones and social media. And I also wanted to learn basic ICT and the usage of technology.
Batchimeg: I wanted to learn about new experiences and new cultures.
Donald: I wanted to improve my professional and personal life through challenging myself and to experience differences. And wanted to learn the different approaches and techniques that my fellow social Entrepreneurs implement to uplift their social Enterprise. And also I wanted to share my best practice so that I can master my skills along with learning experiencing different culture.
What did you learn during the trip? What do you do differently back home?
Sreydieb: It was a good adventure and I am proud I could make it. Travelling alone from own country to another country, from province to province I don’t know exactly where they are. I was scared, worried, and nervous but I made sure that I looked confident And you know the mother of convincing my scariness is my smile, being helpful, and being friendly.
I visited three different learning centers and joined their classes I was not able to apply all of them at the center because different countries have different contexts, anyway at least I got to know how they learn, work, and live. All the learning centers have got modern equipment which I could afford.
Batchimeg: I learned some useful approaches to teaching younger kids. I visited Ravy, Peou, Kimsorn, and Sokea’s learning centres in Seam Reap, Kompong Tom, Kbal Beong Ses village in Tboung Khmum province, and Thnaut village in Kampong Thom province. We shared experiences and learned from each other. All of them are so hardworking to educate the younger generation of Cambodia.
Donald: I was able to learn many things from fellow community heroes such as Marketing strategy, Course offerings, their culture. And also, I learned how multiple business can be combined to a business which can be an extra revenue stream. I would like to implement this in my learning centre.
Share one thing which surprised you during your trip. It can also be funny.
Sreydieb: Cleaning and washing up are lady works. This is what men say.
In addition, men work in hotels, restaurants as sellers and cooks which is the opposite from my home country.
Batchimeg: Most people can communicate in English. Besides learning centres, I visited Saren’s farm, Saloth’s shop, and Rithy’s factory. I am so proud of them. I’m really impressed by their amazing achievements and future plans.
Donald: The surprising part of my journey was the food culture that I experienced during my stay. The food was very strange and I was unable to eat for the first three days of my stay. And also, their hospitality was really surprising they treated me as one of their family members.
What did others learn from you during your trip? What skills or knowledge did you share with them?
Sreydieb: I didn’t have much time to share anything with the GROW's students besides what is short and long-term for my personal life.
Batchimeg: I learned different activities for teaching younger kids, hiring right employees, education system, finance and marketing strategies.
Donald: I am pleased that I could share my knowledge with them. Specially I taught some online tools which can make the class really interesting. And I shared some of the marketing strategies that worked best in my country. Also I shared my experience in how to make the team work for the productive outcome.
What is your recommendation to the next social entrepreneur participating in the program?
Sreydieb: You have to inform the country host or country team especially the community hero lead at least a month or two weeks in advance and ask for a meeting to make a plan together for what you would like to share and what you would like to get back to your own country.
Batchimeg: The next social entrepreneur should prepare a cultural performance of your own country. And be prepared to always use mosquito spray.
Donald: Country exchange programme is one of the best ways to share and gain knowledge and to build confidence to take risks. If you’re applying for the country exchange programme you can develop the risk-taking ability, communication skills, business strategies. Before going to the trip participants should communicate properly with the fellow community heroes to avoid misunderstanding. And should carry enough money to cover up the cost. And should prepare proper time table to spend a productive time during the trip.
BOOKBRIDGE Foundation supports each social entrepreneur with a free return flight ticket worth about $800. The social entrepreneur covers local costs for transportation, food and accommodation for a two week stay amounting $300-600 depending on the country.