MAJOR FAQ-Cambodia

ABOUT THE CAMBODIA INTERNSHIP PROGRAM (IN GENERAL)
How long has IFRE been working in Cambodia ? Whom do you work with? Where are you located? What are IFRE's programs?

IFRE established our Cambodia internship program in 2006. Placements are available in schools or with NGO projects. IFRE has a well-established office and guesthouse in the outskirts of Phnom Penh , which grants interns access to each part of the city. We have internship placements available in Phnom Penh , Pursat and Kampot provinces.

APPLYING FOR THE CAMBODIA INTERNSHIP PROGRAM
How can I apply? What happens when I apply? Do you guarantee placement? How long does it take to receive confirmation?

Please read IFRE's 4-step application process:

•  There are two options for applying to intern in our Cambodia programs. You can apply online ( http://www.ifrevolunteers.org/apply-now.php  ) or you can simply download an application form, fill it out and mail it into IFRE's offices. Participants are required to submit their application with a $349 application fee plus the program fee for the number of weeks you choose. However to simply start the placement process, all that is needed upfront is a $200 deposit which will be deducted from the final invoice. This non-refundable deposit from you is required to validate and initiate the application process.

•  Once IFRE receives your application, we immediately forward it to country coordinator for processing. The in-country coordinator reviews the application carefully to determine the most optimal project for you while you intern in Cambodia . Decisions pertaining to room and board are made at this time - depending on the location of the project. The vast majority of participants stay in fully immersed in-home stays.

•  IFRE receives the details of the participants' placements from the in-country coordinator.

•  The information is then passed on to the prospective participants along with a final invoice. Final payment is due six weeks prior to departure and, in expedited cases, as soon as possible. The placement details contain local contact information to be used when applying for a visa and/or to get in touch with the local staff and host family.

Preparation for your internship vacation in Cambodia should include reading about travel to Cambodia , immunization, acquiring a travel visa and booking airfare for your internship journey to Cambodia . If you face any problems, IFRE's Program Manager is always available for any assistance.

IMPORTANT: Once participants purchase airline tickets, we request flight information be forwarded to IFRE's U.S. office by fax or by email. Participants' flight information will then be forwarded to the in-country coordinator in Cambodia , who will then arrange an airport pick-up.

AIRPORT AND ARRIVAL INFORMATION
Who will meet me in airport? What should I do if I am delayed or miss my flight? When should I arrive?

Phnom Penh International Airport is your destination and arrival point for your internship travel to Cambodia, so please book your flight accordingly. Even if participants are joining a program elsewhere in the country, IFRE suggests participants arrive in Phnom Penh. One of IFRE's representatives will await your arrival at the airport. Participants should ensure pick-up by sending their flight information to IFRE's offices - a follow-up call is suggested as your departure date draws closer.

If interns are delayed or miss their flight, it is highly recommended that you call our offices or your coordinator and make alternative arrangements with them. In the event that a intern gets lost, our general suggestion that they go to any hotel via taxi. Once you meet our representative or coordinator, you will be transferred to our offices and onto your accomodations where you will meet staff members and fellow interns. 

The program fee covers expenses beginning of the first day of the program (usually first or third Monday) to the last day of the program (the following Sunday). If you arrive before the first day of the program and/or stay beyond the last day of the program, expenses are your responsibility (usually $30 per day for room/food in guesthouse or host family).

Special note : The Cambodia in-country staff encourage you to arrive the Friday before your project begins as there is much to explore and experience. The Cambodia in-country staff hosts a welcome dinner on Thusdays and on Monday (the start day for projects) there is a general Orientation.

ROOM AND FOOD
Where do I stay during internship program? What do I eat? Do you accommodate special diet?

IFRE arranges room, meals and supervision for interns for the entire duration of the program. Depending upon the location of the project, interns will either stay in our guesthouse or with a host family. Our guesthouse is located in the center of Phnom Penh City (a notable Cambodian tourist city) near the Olympic Stadium and the Orussey Market. The staff is made up of English and French speaking people and they are very kind. There is a large roof terrace with hammocks, a TV and internet access. Nearby there is a restaurant and more services to help make your stay in Cambodia a pleasurable one.

Our host families are very friendly and hospitable. They look forward to learning more about a intern‘s home-country culture and life. Whether you stay in our guesthouse or with host family, IFRE manages clean but simple accommodations with a separate room (occasionally shared with other interns), shared bathroom with cold water (no hot available) and a fan.

IFRE also manages 3 local meals a day. Usually, interns have breakfast in either a small restaurant, with host families or at work. IFRE manages interns‘ food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Some interns have lunch at their project. Interns often have breakfast in small restaurants, with their host family or at work. In the case of the intern having special eating requirements (e.g. as a vegetarian or vegan), we would recommend staying at our guesthouse, as meat is the basis of most Cambodian food.

VISAS
IFRE requires interns to acquire a tourist Visa in their home country prior to departure for Cambodia . Interns should apply for a tourist visa. Please find the Cambodia Embassy Abroad below:

http://www.embassyworld.com/dev /result.php?guest=36&host=%25&count=0&menu=1

USA

Embassy of Cambodia ,  
4530 16th Street, NW  
Washington , DC 20011  
p. 202.726.7742  
f. 202.726.8381  
E-mail: mail@embassyofcambodia.org
Canada (Contact US Embassy for information)

UK

Royal Embassy of Cambodia  
64 Brondesbury Park,  
Willesden Green, London NW6 7AT ,  
United Kingdom  
Tel: (0208) 451 7850  
Fax: (0207) 483 9061  
E-mail: cambodianembassy@btconnect.com  
Web: www.cambodianembassy.org.uk

Australia

Royal Embassy of Cambodia  
No. 5 Canterbury Crescent,  
Deakin, A.C.T. 2600, AUSTRALIA  
Tel: (612) 6273 1259, 6273 1154,  
Fax: (612) 6273 1053  
Email: Cambodianembassy@ozemail.com.au  
Web: www.embassyofcambodia.org.nz

HEALTH AND SAFETY IN CAMBODIA

Interns should be aware of all health and safety information before traveling to Cambodia . We suggest you visit some of the websites listed below.

•  WHO website for international travelers ( http://www.who.int   )

•  WHO Cambodia (http://www.who.int/countries/en/)
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention  
Health Canada Online
Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and Travel Report
U.S. State Department & Consular Information Sheets  
Travel Health Online
Travelers' Health

General Health Tips for Cambodia

  • Drink only bottled or boiled water or carbonated (bubbly or fizzy) drinks in sealed cans or bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks and ice cubes. If safe drinks are not available, you can make tap or other water safer by both filtering through an "absolute 1 micron or less" filter AND adding iodine tablets to the filtered water. "Absolute 1 micron filters" can be found in camping/outdoor supply stores.
  • Buy bottled water from respectable outlets to guard against upset stomach. Make sure that the seal of the bottle is intact.
  • Watch out for spicy dishes, especially at the beginning of your trip. Avoid eating food from road-side stalls. Eat unpeeled fruits and avoid fresh salads, especially in small hotels. If you are forced to eat food at some place that you have doubts about, make sure the food is cooked and served hot.
  • Always use an insect repellent if you find yourself in a mosquito laden area. Keep in mind that not every place is always mosquito-infested.
  • If traveling in scorching heat, remember to drink enough water, wear hats, sunglasses & SPF/sunscreen. Stay out of the intense mid-day sun.
  • Pharmacies or chemists are available in every little town and village at which you can buy over-the-counter medications and receive minor medical advice. In case you need to see a doctor for a specific condition, ask for help from your in-country coordinator or project director. The cost of visiting a doctor is low (less than a dollar) compared to western countries.
  • In Cambodia , most modern medicines are available over the counters in drugstores, but it is wise to travel with a reserve stock. If you take any prescription drugs, bring enough for the duration of the trip. It is advisable that you carry a small health kit, which should include upset stomach/digestive tract remedies, antiseptic cream, mosquito repellant spray, sunscreen, etc.
IMMUNIZATIONS/VACCINATIONS
We strongly recommend interns obtain vaccinations before travel. Recommended Vaccinations and Preventive Medications by CDC (http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/destinationCambodia.aspx)

The following vaccines may be recommended for your travel to Southeast Asia including Cambodia . Discuss your travel plans and personal health with a health-care provider to determine which vaccines you will need.

RECOMMENDED

The following vaccines may be recommended for your travel to South Asia . Discuss your travel plans and personal health with a health-care provider to determine which vaccines you will need.

  • Hepatitis A  or immune globulin (IG). Transmission of hepatitis A virus can occur through direct person-to-person contact; through exposure to contaminated water, ice or shellfish harvested in contaminated water; or from fruits, vegetables or other foods that are eaten uncooked and that were contaminated during harvesting or subsequent handling.
  • Hepatitis B , especially if you might be exposed to blood or body fluids (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population or be exposed through medical treatment. Hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants and for children ages 11-12 years who did not receive the series as infants.
  • Japanese encephalitis , if you plan to visit rural farming areas and under special circumstances, such as a known outbreak of Japanese encephalitis.
  • Malaria: your risk of malaria may be high in these countries, including cities. See your health care provider for a prescription anti-malarial drug. For details concerning risk and preventive medications, see  Malaria Information for Travelers to South Asia .
  • Rabies , if you might have extensive unprotected outdoor exposure in rural areas, like camping, hiking or bicycling or various occupational activities.
  • Typhoid , Typhoid fever can be contracted through contaminated drinking water or food or by eating food or drinking beverages that have been handled by a person who is infected. Large outbreaks are most often related to fecal contamination of water supplies or food sold by street vendors Vaccination is particularly important because of the presence of Salmonella-typhi strains resistant to multiple antibiotics in this region. There have been recent reports of  typhoid drug resistance in India and Nepal .
  • As needed, booster doses for  tetanus-diphtheria  and  measles  measles/mumps/rubella (MMR), diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT) and a one-time dose of polio  for adults.
MONEY MATTERS
What is the exchange rate? Where should I change my dollars? Can I use my debit card or credit card? Should I bring traveler's checks?

Find the Exchange Rate of Cambodia Riels http://www.xe.com/ucc/convert.cgi

The local currency is the Cambodia Riels. You can change your money upon arrival to Phnom Penh International Airport . There are many bank counters at the airport. We suggest you change $400 in the beginning as you can change money in any bank (banks are conveniently near to our office).

In Cambodia , credit card information is often stolen and used fraudulently just by paying with a credit card. For this reason, IFRE suggests cash and travelers checks to settle your bills. You will have trouble actually paying with traveler's checks, but you will be able to exchange them at local banks. Traveler's Checks are recommended as a safe way to carry money with you, make sure you write down the check numbers and contact information you need to cancel stolen checks. Different brands of traveler's checks work better in different countries so consult your local financial institution regarding which Traveler's Checks to bring to Thailand .

Travelers should have a credit card for large and emergency purchases You can also carry a debit/ATM card that can be used at ATM's to withdraw local currency. An ATM card is the best way of getting money. Vendors are available in major banks and department stores in Bangkok . Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted in some of the large stores and hotels in larger cities but not accepted in smaller cities.

How much money you bring depends on your personal spending habits. Thrifty people can get by on less than $10/day. Your budget should also include money to explore Thailand in free time as well as for your personal use. A good rule of thumb for money management is the 1/3 method, bring 1/3 cash, 1/3 traveler's check and leave 1/3 of your money in your account - plus a credit card for emergencies.

Do ensure you notify your bank of your intent to travel and expected arrival/departure dates. This will save you the hassle of your account being flagged with fraudulent activity.

FIELD SUPPORT AND SUPERVISION
How does IFRE help me when I am in the field? How can I maintain communication? Do you visit me?

Once your internship program begins, our local staff members stay in constant touch with you. However, if you are staying far from the Phnom Penh office, our staff will visit interns every 2-4 weeks (if possible) and you are always welcome at the office. We recommend that the interns stop by the office once a week, if they are staying/working in the local area, to give feedback on their home stay and project. Many minor issues can be avoided with a just little extra communication before they develop into major issues. Your project will have local staff members in addition to our in-country coordination staff. If your project is located a great distance from our offices, then our local staff communicates by either email and/or phone.

We are available for you at the local office via email and phone for your entire trip. It is our job to make sure that you are safe and healthy.

COMMUNICATION
How do I communicate with my family? IFRE staff? Is there internet access?

Interns are requested to bring their UNLOCKED mobile phones. Upon arrival in Cambodia , participants can purchase and change SIM cards and use it. This is the perfect way to stay in touch with your family and IFRE's offices in Phnom Penh .

Internet cafés are available in several areas of Phnom Penh . However, if you are placed in a rural provincial setting, internet and international calling access is very limited. You will receive placement location information in your personal placement sheet.

CLIMATE OF CAMBODIA

The internet offers current weather and forecasts for your destination:

Yahoo Weather: http://weather.yahoo.com/regional/CBXX.html (www.weather.yahoo.com)

The Weather Channel:   www.weather.com

The Weather Underground: http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/findweather/getForecast?query=cambodia

Situated in the tropical zone, Cambodia is bathed in sun almost all year around. There are two main seasons: the rainy season and dry. Each season brings about a refreshing change. The humid, rainy season lasts from April to October. Temperatures range from 27-35 degrees Celsius. The hottest month is April when the temperature can reach 41 degree C these days. The cool, dry season lasts from November to March, with temperatures ranging from 17-27 degrees C. December to January is the coolest period at about 27 degrees C.

Temperature and rainfall of Cambodia

 

 

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average Temperature

° F

88

91 

93 

95 

93 

91 

90

90 

88 

87 

86

86 

Average Rainfall 

 

in

0.30

0.40

1.40

3.10

5.70 

5.80 

6.00

6.10

8.90

9.90

5.50

1.70

ITEMS TO BRING
Most items of daily use are available in Cambodia at a reasonable price. However, we suggest interns bring the following things.

•  Camera 
•  Mobile phone (you can use mobile phone after changing SIM card) 
•  Sleeping bag 
•  Mosquito repellents 
•  Insect repellents 
•  Sun-block 
•  Working gloves (if you are joining conservation or construction project) 
•  Some books about Cambodia 
•  Map of Cambodia 
•  Toiletries 
•  First aid kit 
•  Flash light 
•  Electricity adopter/converter 
•  Sun glasses 
•  Footwear (for work and travel) 
•  Towel

What gift should I bring for my project and/or host family?

It is a common courtesy to bring a small gift for your hosts. You are not required to do so, but if you choose to bring a gift, it can simple. We suggest a box of chocolates, a t-shirt with a hometown/country logo, pictures of your family and local post cards.

If you want to bring gifts for your project and if you are working for an orphanage or a school, please bring pencils, pens and paper, art supplies like markers and construction paper pads, as well as games for the children to enjoy. Remember that every child will need these items so you may wish to bring enough for a number of children.

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