Jack Climbs the Academic Beanstalk

Please join us in extending heartfelt congratulations to Jack, our newest school graduate. Jack finished grade 12 a few months ago and recently found out that he passed his national school-leaving examination, thus making him eligible to attend university.

Jack’s academic journey was fraught with difficulties. He came to Little Hearts from Prey Veng province seven years ago, when he was already 13 years old and well behind in his studies, having missed many months of school as he moved from one living situation to another. He had much catching up to do in all subjects and spoke no English at all, so he needed extra support from our staff, his teachers and tutors, and he had to develop a lot of self-discipline and determination to keep up. He hadn’t thought much about his future and certainly didn’t imagine that he would one day attend university.

Throughout 2022, Jack studied hard and attended extra classes on weekends to prepare for the dreaded national exam. He was the only student at Little Hearts finishing school this year, so his endeavour was not only arduous but also quite lonely. He is extremely glad it’s over and pleased with the results.

What next for Jack? Rather than relaxing after his exam, he stressed about choosing a university, a course of study, and a career path. Whatever he chose, he wanted to make sure his degree and the skills he would acquire in university could meet the future demands of Cambodia’s job market. He researched academic disciplines, visited several universities, and spoke to many current and former students; he also discussed his options at length with his dad Tony. In the end, he settled on a bachelor’s degree in Business Communication and Media at Pannasastra University of Cambodia (PUC).

First, though, he had to pass the English entrance exam, as all courses at PUC are taught in English. Despite his late start in education, Jack had always demonstrated a strong aptitude for language acquisition, so he had learned English quickly and fluently in his afternoon lessons at Little Hearts. Before sitting for the entrance exam, he spent a few weeks reviewing his English course materials and practising reading and writing, and sure enough, he passed with flying colours. This means that, unlike many other matriculating students, he will be able to enrol in first-year courses immediately, without having to attend any remedial English classes.

At age 20, Jack may well be one of the oldest first-year students at PUC, but he will begin his university studies in mid-February with a rich storehouse of experience, self-belief and determination – the results of years of hard work and perseverance despite the many obstacles he has already faced.

Indeed, Jack is already looking beyond his undergraduate years and charting an extended educational and professional journey: he hopes to eventually pursue a master’s degree in Human Resources Management, and one day to lead the HR department of a multinational company or organization. It’s a big dream, no doubt, but with the commitment and diligence he has shown thus far, we know he can succeed. Best wishes, Jack.

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