On 4 September, Sala Baï welcomed its 16th intake. This is a very special year as Intake 16 is made up of 120 students, 12 more than in the two previous years. A major step in the growing development of the program which will welcome 150 students in September 2018.

There were 84 girls and 36 boys who, on Monday 4 September, discovered their school, the place where they’ll be living and the friends with whom they will be sharing this year, a year that will be rich in terms of learning and experiences!

“On the first day of school last year, I was both excited and anxious. Everything was new for me… Life in town far from my family, surrounded by people whom I did not know yet… and I wanted to discover everything immediately!” remembers Monita Chheng from the year before.

Roun Roeun, English teacher, agreed: “We can see from the smiles on their faces that the students are happy to be here. This is a great source of motivation for us, the teachers and the team as a whole. Even though some of the students are a bit shy at the beginning of the year, and sometimes even overwhelmed by so many new things, we feel that they are motivated and many of them tell us how keen they are to start their classes!”

“It’s up to us to make them feel at ease so that they learn to trust us as quickly as possible!” adds Chanthorn Hen, Restaurant teacher. “They’re going to need to trust us when acquiring their skills on a daily basis, so it’s very important to begin the day by reassuring them so that they feel that they’re getting the support they need throughout the year.”

And what better way of achieving this than to spend a day together discovering the Temples of Angkor!

“Many students have never had the opportunity to visit Angor Wat until now. This outing has a dual aim”, explains Social worker Vimol Chhin. “On the one hand, the idea is to expose them to Cambodian cultural heritage and enable them to familiarise themselves with the Angkor Temples site, which is crucial for those working in the tourism industry in Cambodia. And on the other hand, they have the opportunity to get to know one another and create team spirit, which will help them throughout the year. Sala Baï is one big happy family and we want them to feel a part of it! As an alumni, this is the aspect that is of particular importance to me.”

The guided tour of Angkor Wat, picnic, games, songs, dancing, laughter and budding friendships all contributed to this wonderful integration day.

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