Pisey was born in Ratanakiri, Cambodia. Thanks to her hard work, she was selected for a scholarship programme to study in Norway, followed by a scholarship to pursue her undergraduate degree in North Carolina, USA. After graduating, Pisey decided to return to Cambodia and use her knowledge for the benefit of her community. She now works for United World Schools as our Communications Officer in Cambodia. 

What was your childhood like?

I am grateful and proud to be born in Ratanakiri, the furthest province in the northeast of Cambodia. Life there was great, but unfortunately our natural resources were running out and we had to find other ways to support our living situation. My family decided that the best option to secure my future was education. I was sent to free state schools in Banlung, the main town in Banlung and one of the only areas in Ratanakiri with free school at the time. 

What were you planning to do after secondary school?

Back then, my family and I were only hoping I could finish secondary school, get a diploma and get a job right away. However, I decided to continue my dream. I realized that I needed to get a university degree, and that my best chances were searching for a scholarship opportunity abroad. That is when in 2013, I came across United World School's announcement about selecting a student to study in Norway. After several selection processes, I was selected. I was so excited! But I was also scared, because I was just an indigenous girl who had never been outside of the country. I knew from that moment, that I wanted to achieve my educational dream and then return to work in Cambodia.

What was your experience like studying in Norway?

At the beginning, it was difficult because all classes were in English. Also, living on campus was a challenge, because I was surrounded by students and teachers from different parts of the world. I had to try food that I had never imagined trying before! Nevertheless, the difficulties I faced were nothing compared to how much I learned. Not only did I pass all the subjects in my first year, but I also made close friends with people from all over the world. My experience taught me that education is the main factor that allows people to be open-minded and to listen to others’ perspectives. It changed my life forever.

You sucessfully pursued your dream of attending university in the USA. How did you get there?

Towards the end of my two years in Norway, I decided to apply for university opportunities in the US. After many applications and much perseverance, I was awarded a full scholarship to study at the Methodist University in Fayetteville, North Carolina. I majored in Business Administration with two minors in accounting and communications, because I wanted to continue my career in service work.

Why did you decide to return to Cambodia?

I just graduated this Spring, and as I had planned before leaving home, I decided to return to Cambodia. I really want to spend a few years working and giving back the knowledge and experience I gained abroad. I chose to work for United World Schools as I enjoy working with the team and want to give back with more education. I strongly believe that helping my community with education can help others as much as it helped me.

What are your responsibilities at United World Schools?

I am the Communications Officer here in Cambodia. My responsibilities are to ensure the efficient and effective external communications of our operations with both in-country teams and our overseas partners. I enjoy working as an ambassador for the UWS Cambodia team, as well as supporting data collection, which lets me work closely with local communities and schools.

What are your plans for the future?

I plan to work for a few years and then I think I will study an MBA. I also want to be a role model for other indigenous girls and show them that we can get the same education as boys do.

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