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All Cambodian Students in India: A Briefing

JNU, New Delhi

To Thmey-Thmey Editor

Information provided herein is personal and unofficial, thus I am not responsible for any mistake, inaccuracy or misinformation. It's just to share my knowledge of all Cambodian students who have been studying in India, their living conditions and so on.

How many Cambodia students in India? 

Actually there is no record of exact number of Cambodian students in India, because we stay here in different places, different states and universities. Approximately, to say the least, there are 80 Cambodian students studying in various universities in India. Majority of the students are studying at Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi (ancient city; where Buddha preached his first sermon), Uttar Pradesh (state). This university, if i am not wrong, possesses the largest campus in Asia, with some 7 Kms square meters, and is ranked one of the top ten universities in India. Cambodian students number around 30-34 heads, most of them are self-financing, and belong to Faculty of Social Sciences and Faculty of Arts which provide various subjects – political science, sociology, economic, English, Pali and Buddhist studies, philosophy and so forth. I obtained my Bachelor and Master degrees in Political Science in this university from 2010 and 2012 respectively. To get more info, please see www.csavaranasi.com . In addition, here Wat Khmer Sarnath (Varanasi) administered by Most ven. Sem Pech, is there with beautiful Khmer architectural style. 

Particularly, there are only two students in my university (Jawaharlal Nehru University / popularly and shortly called JNU; New Delhi - 110067), Mr. Thoeurn Vongdy from Kompong Cham and I from Kompong Chhnang are Indian government (ICCR) scholarship holders. Special about this university is that it is the most preferential university for every Indian student. Its School of International Studies (SIS) is the most famous School (/Department) consists of various Centres, we are prestigious to be a part of this School. I am an M.Phil. student of Centre for Indo-Pacific Studies (CIPS), formally known as Centre for Southeast Asian Studies, final year and will be pursuing Ph.D directly upon completion of the M.Phil; and Mr. Vongdy is doing Master in SIS, final year. He is a laborious student. 

For Indian students, there is a tough competition entrance examination into this university. Some ten of thousand Indian students are admitted to this university every year, whereas there are few hundred foreign nationals scholarship and non-scholarship (600$ per semester) holders. Not to say about its excellent academic credential, this university provides the best environment for students’ political and social activities. Various student unions (acting like political parties) have been established and student union president elections have been held annually. Each and every JNU student is reserved the right to vote. In this sense, students have very strong voice in the administrative decision making of the university on various issues. Much more to say here! (Visit here for a brief note on the Hostel Life Is Amazing

We both got ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations) scholarship at the same time in 2013. Honestly, we hardly survive with this scholarship, 6000-7000 Rs (apr. 100$) monthly stipend. However, this is a generousity of Indian government to offer this scholarship, we are thankful and grateful indeed. Be informed that Indian government has offered Cambodian students 15 scholarships for many courses and levels every year (except Medical Science). The scholarship screening is conducted in and organized directly by Indian Embassy in Phnom Penh during January/February. 

In New Delhi, there are also some Cambodian students studying in other two universities namely University of Delhi (DU) and Jamia Millia Islamia University. DU posses 4 Cambodian students i.e. Ven. Khy Sovannratana (the Rector of Preah Sihanouk Raja Buddhist University in Cambodia) PhD, Ven. Huy Hang, MA, both are scholarship holders, Ven. Chan Dary, PhD, and Mr. (missing his name); and Jamia university has only one Cambodian, Mr. Khuon Ratnak form Takeo doing MA in economics who won scholarship in 2014. Actually all students come and gone, we hardly mention them all. 

University of Pune, in Maharashtra (state) is also a very good central university in India. There are some 10 students there, most probably all of them are scholarship receivers. To know more about them, please visit http://www.csapune.org . Besides, some Cambodians are/were also studying at University of Hyderabad, Osmania University in Hyderabad, University of Allahabad in UP, Magadh University in Gaya, Bihar state. Most students stay in the university campus, the accommodations/hostels are provided by the university itself. Local students are provided with free accommodation, water and electricity supply are included. Campus life is very disciplinary, students must abide by the university rules and regulations. 

Interestingly, there are a lot of Cambodian monks in Bihar. Some of them are students, while the others are religious workers. Bihar is an Indian state where Buddha attained Enlightenment (exact place is Bodhgaya, Gaya, Bihar, some 800Kms far away from Delhi). Thousands of international Buddhists visit there frequently every year. It is believed to be the most sacred place for Buddhists around the world. There is UNESCO heritage Mahabodhi Temple which attractively draws plenty of tourists. Khmer Buddhist Temples are also constructed there. Ven. Poeuy Metta is in-charge monk. In New Delhi, there is one Khmer Buddhist Temple called Kururath Khemararam or Wat Khmer New Delhi in Chhatarur, 6 Kms from JNU. Most ven. Khiev Sam-Ang is a monk in charge. 

That’s it what I want to tell you, hope you will find some usual information herein. If you wish to know more about living conditions, lifestyle and some difficulties we are facing, I am pleased to write more. Be free to raise your questions. Pardon me for any mistake, inaccuracy or misinformation. Thank you. 

Warmest regards, 

Khath Bunthorn 
JNU, New Delhi 
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