Whenever you visit a foreign country, your perspective is bound to be coloured by your experiences in the country from which you came.
Japan and Cambodia are markedly different economically, demographically, politically and climatically. While Japan is the world’s third richest country by GDP, Cambodia ranks at #121. Cambodia has a much younger population than Japan, with 37% of Cambodians being under the age of 18, compared to Japan’s 16%. While Japan is among the 20 least politically corrupt countries, Cambodia ranks among the 20 most corrupt. And while Japan has a mostly temperate climate with four seasons, Cambodia is tropical, and therefore warm or hot all year round.
These are some of the over-reaching factors that determine a vast range of differences between Japan, the country in which I live and work, and Cambodia, the country I visited to present at the major international English teaching conference, CamTESOL.
The purpose of this conference is, to some extent, to attempt to reconcile the vast economic gap between Cambodia and other Asian countries that are significantly more developed. To this end, hundreds of local Cambodian English teachers are sponsored to be able to attend the conference, and the focus of most of the presentations is on practical techniques and activities that are of immediate use to local English teachers, as well as international attendees.
The conference is superbly organised, and a fantastic experience as a presenter. The sharp change of perspective that my experience in Cambodia has brought about will stay with me for a long time, and I hope to be a better teacher by virtue of the excellent presentations I attended, and the great feedback I received from those who attended my presentation. I unreservedly recommend CamTESOL to anyone involved in English language education!