Should I bring a gift for my host family?

Yes, please bring a small gift for your host family. Good ideas for gifts are items that reflect your home town or state, such as calendars, souvenir key chains, American candy, T-shirts, baseball hats, etc. These gifts should not be overly expensive as this could cause your host family to feel awkward. Also make sure they are small in size, light and easy to pack. Postcards and photographs from home are also an excellent ice-breaker for getting to know your host family. Many previous participants found that showing their host family photographs of themselves with their families, playing sports, and doing things with their friends, was helpful in starting conversations and bridging the language barrier.

What kind of clothing should I bring?

Rule number one: Pack light! Most travelers take too much clothing. Since each person will be limited to one suitcase and one carry-on, we suggest you pack a minimum amount of clothing and rely on laundry services or hand washing. Choose a practical, easy-to-pack wardrobe of mix-and-match washable clothing. Aim for no more than a few complete outfits that you can mix and match for different occasions. Clothes made of natural fibers like cotton, Tencel, some polyesters and light knits travel well. Despite the heat in Cambodia, people stay covered with long sleeves, although clothes are loose fitting to keep cool.

Cambodians generally dress very modestly, covering shoulders and thighs. Though we are just visitors, we should try to be respectful of this and dress appropriately ourselves. Therefore, shorts will not be appropriate dress at any time during your travel in Cambodia – for students as well as teachers. Perhaps the only time shorts can be worn would be in your hotel room and by the pool.

While formal clothing will not be necessary, bring one or two such outfit(s) for special visits that may be planned — dress or skirt/blouse for women and slacks/collar shirt (a tie is not necessary) for men. Keep in mind the summer temperatures and humidity, however. The average temperature in Hawaii during July is 80 degrees and the average temperature for Cambodia in July is 80 to 90 degrees.

Sample Basic Clothing for Men Sample Basic Clothing for Women
2-3 pairs of washable, comfortable slacks 1-2 washable dresses or outfit for more formal occasion
1 dressier shirt 2-3 comfortable skirts or slacks
3-4 easy-care, comfortable shirts w/ collars and/or t-shirts 3-5 tops in washable easy-care fabrics
Sleepwear Sleepwear
Pair of shoes to wear with slacks Comfortable walking shoes; socks
Comfortable walking shoes; socks Pair of dressier shoes
Windbreaker and collapsible umbrella Windbreaker and collapsible umbrella
Personal toiletries Feminine hygiene products (these are available in local stores; however, you may not find special brands, so plan accordingly)

Will I be placed with another American student during the homestay in Cambodia?

Due to the limited availability of homes that can accommodate foreign visitors in Preah Rumkel , we plan to place several participants per host family. These families are carefully chosen and interviewed by our organization and are respected members of their communities. As most family members will not speak any English, we will have five Cambodian university students (all EWC alumni), together with one or two community coordinator(s) who will assist with communication.

Are there any costs associated with the program that are not covered by the East-West Center?

The costs of the program includes accommodations and at least two meals per day, airport transfers upon arrival/departure in Cambodia, and all program-related transportation and cultural activities. It is the responsibility of the participant to secure a tourist visa for Cambodia (available on arrival for $30) and to ensure they have a current passport valid for six months beyond the end of the program. Participants should bring a small sum of money for one meal per day and for souvenirs and snacks, $8-$10 per day should be more than adequate, depending on your spending habits.

Will I need to have any vaccinations?

Vaccinations and preventative medications are sometimes prescribed by doctors for people traveling to Cambodia. Therefore, you should consult your doctor before you begin your travel for their recommendations. More information on vaccinations and staying healthy in Southeast Asia is available at the Department of Health and Human Services Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

What sort of plugs and power adapters will I need to recharge my electrical equipment in Cambodia?

If the electrical appliance is manufactured for 220AC, you should be able to use it as long as you have a universal plug. Laptop computers will need a universal plug, but probably not a transformer (laptops normally have a transformer attached to their cords). You can purchase a universal plug – they are available in any computer store, or travel store. You have to make sure that it is a real universal plug – not one that’s only good for the United States. This means that the plug will have holes and prongs for all configurations. However, please note that if you are planning to bring along a hair dryer, curling iron, electric shaver, etc. you will not be allowed to use them during your homestay because the cost of electricity is very high in Cambodia, and using these daily will pose a financial burden on your host families.