Toutes à l'école


Two Chandara girls at INSA Lyon

In 2021, with their baccalaureate in hand, Panha NAI and Srey Ka METH have entered university: one is studying for a Bachelor's degree in Bioengineering at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, and the other for a Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering at the Cambodian Institute of Technology. But their ambition pushed them even further. At the same time, they prepared the entrance exam for the INSA Lyon engineering school. And they both passed! Interview, on the eve of their integration into this prestigious school.

Why did you choose to study those majors?

Panha: Since I was young, I have always imagined and designed machines that we have never seen in my village, like the drying machine, the car airbag, anti-theft machine, etc... And when I first had my biology class in grade 7, my imaginations expanded. The more I learn about biology, the more I find it fascinating. I want to create things on my own, I want to put all those sketches I had imagined into reality.

Sreyka:For me, Civil Engineering is something that has interested me since a young age. Since I can remember I used to always follow the construction workers in my village to see the processes and progress of their work. They even used to call me Project Director!

How did you feel when you heard that you got accepted? And how did your entourage act when you announced the news?

Sreyka:  I called my mum to tell her about this good news, then she said she was so proud of me, and we cried together. 

Panha: My family was very happy too! I called my dad and I had an urge of emotions, then we all cried with joy together. Sreyka and I cried so loud but because of happiness of course. 

Where do you see yourself doing in 10 years?

Panha:  In 10 years or even after I graduate, I don’t know yet where I would be speaking of the location. But I am sure that at some point I will come back to Cambodia for sure! I see myself working in a research laboratory, experimenting with products to improve their quality. 

Sreyka: In the next 10 years, I see myself as a civil engineer who helps construct various buildings and make Cambodia become a country that is full of cultural and amazing constructions like the Angkor Wat temple. But first, after my graduation, my current plan is to continue studying for a master's degree in France if possible. 

Do you have something that you want to say to your friend or the next generations?

Panha: I would like to say that you must do your best on the thing that you are doing but don’t put too much expectation on the results, from whatever you do you should accept the result that comes with it! In my experience when I expected too high, and when things didn’t turn out the way I expected, it hurt my feelings so much. The most important thing is to do your best and if you fail just try harder next time! It is not about luck but commitment.

Sreyka: The young generation should focus on their studies and not allow other people or distractions to sway their focus away from their goals and dreams. You can only learn from mistakes, but once you have made a wrong step just learn from it and don’t look back. By having this mindset, it will be easier to achieve your goals and become successful. If nothing opens for you then create your own chances and do things to make you step closer toward your goal, but don’t forget to be patient and humble! 

photo de Panha et Srey Ka