Cambodia Lifestyle and Culture

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Any visitor to Cambodia will quickly conclude that Cambodians are resilient. The complex and turbulent nature of Cambodia’s recent past creates a delicate scenario as the country learns how to deal with the present.

This, along with the wild forests and interesting scenery, makes the country a unique and exotic destination that can feel any study abroad students curiosity.

The country has a vast history and amazingly welcoming culture that one will come to embrace and love. One will find that many courses for Cambodia combine two or more South East Asian countries or cities.

It is highly recommended to find a program with a built in support system. This will allow you to broaden your cultural experience while still having the security to know that there is a safety net, just in case there are hurdles along the way.

Family and religion are the two major elements to everyday Cambodian culture. Although religion switched from Hinduism to Buddhism during the formative years, the latter was firmly rooted in the 13th century and is now the chosen faith of about 90 percent of the population.

Almost every home and institution in the country is host to a shrine of some form, upon which regular offerings, usually for good luck, are crafted.

Family and hierarchy within society as a whole are extremely important parts of the culture, with great respect not only given to senior members, but to elderly foreigners.

An obvious sign of respect is the cultural Cambodian greeting, the sampan, or the pressing of the hands together while bowing. Community life, particularly within the countryside, is very common, and families usually live under the same roof or as neighbors.

Clothing is a significant portion of Cambodian culture, with traditional attire still commonplace. The most well-known piece of Cambodian clothing is the karma. This ingenious piece of cloth can be used for almost anything, stretching from a towel, a child’s hammock, protection from the sun, or just simply as a fashion wear.

Women and men still favor the sampan, a colorful material styled into a sheath, for the lower half of the body, although both sexes now usually wear typical western style.

In terms of dance, the country is most famous for its aspara dancing, which stretches back to the heyday of the Angkor Empire. Aspara is celebrated for its distinct use of the hands and feet to express the mood of the dance, while the performers are usually marvelled in authentic, lave outfits.

Although the Khmer Rouge regime brought about a great decline in literature, tunes, and film, they are gradually starting to make their way back into modern culture, spurred by a revival of 1960’s musical arts and movies.

" Its a place to be" - Martin from Canada

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