I want to go back

Sreymom heads to Oxford University for Master’s degree

AHC’s Sreymom Pol has started an exciting professional and personal journey – she is about to study a Master’s degree at Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

Sreymom, a researcher in the Cambodia Oxford Medical Research Unit (COMRU) at AHC, received a scholarship from the Jardine Foundation to cover the cost of her study. The 28-year-old will be doing her Masters in international health and tropical medicine. She is thinking about researching antibiotic resistance but says she will make her decision after talking to course advisors.

But first she needs to spend two months taking part in an English preparation course to get ready for the intense year of study and research, which begins in October. Not surprisingly, Sreymom had mixed feelings before leaving Cambodia on August 2nd.

“It’s very exciting and scary at the same time, because I feel it’s a big goal to reach,” she says.

It certainly is a big goal. Not too many people get to study at one of the most prestigious universities in the world and AHC CEO Claudia Turner is thrilled for Sreymom and says it is a fantastic opportunity.

“Gee, she’s worked hard for it,” Claudia says. “She’s done five years of research in COMRU.”

She also had to study English and score high in the IELTS exam before being accepted to the program.

It’s not Sreymom’s first international study experience. The girl who grew up in a village half way between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, completed a Bachelor of Science, majoring in public health at Asian University for Women in Chittagong, Bangladesh. She started working for COMRU at AHC after graduating. Her research at COMRU has included antibiotic resistance, community attitude to ethics and research, and health perceptions and beliefs in the newborn period.

Claudia says while the program will build her capacity it’s also really important for COMRU and AHC to have someone with these skills. During her year of study she will be required to spend six weeks working on a specific project in the area she chooses to specialise in and will probably do this project in Bangkok.

Sreymom is excited about the course and says she is really interested in some of the modules, including mathematical modelling and research relating to low resource settings. But she is also looking forward to meeting new people, travelling, exploring museums and popular sights and trying the food in England, although her mum prepared a stockpile of dried fish to take with her. A first dan black belt in Karate, she is hoping the university sports programme offers Karate so she can take it up again.

AHC extends a huge congratulations to Sreymom and we wish her well with her Master’s studies. We look forward to welcoming her back to COMRU in 14 months.

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