Global Programs Blog

International Field Placement:
Marializa Kelly (JD '15), Vishnu Law Group, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Thanksgiving in Cambodia

Things have been so busy around the office that I almost forgot about Thanksgiving! There is a large group of American ex-pats here in Phnom Penh, so there were a few “Friendsgivings” happening throughout town.

Dean [Cynthia] Alkon and ​​Dean [Charlotte] Ku were in town working on some exciting Texas A&M related activities and invited my colleague Christian Holden and me to Thanksgiving dinner at their hotel. Christian is an Aggie Law classmate ​also working at Vishnu on temporary assignment. Dinner was a beautiful spread of traditional American Thanksgiving food mixed with local flavors. My personal favorites were the pumpkin pieces sautéed in butter, sweet potatoes, and the huge cheese and cracker table. #delicious. After being here over two months, it was really nice to see some familiar faces and exchange travel stories. 

As much as I miss home, I have never felt lonely here. There are so many ex-pats from all over the world doing various things in Phnom Penh. The ex-pat community is very welcoming and there are always people to hangout with, take trips and try out new cultural experiences. It is very easy to make friends and learn about even more cultures. I am not the most social person (introvert all the way), but I have really enjoyed meeting people here. Everyone I meet is so passionate about her or his work. Which makes sense because it takes some passion (or guts) to just get up and relocate halfway around the world.

Some of the people I hangout with are from America, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Japan and South Africa. It is fascinating to see the similarities and learn the differences between all these different cultures. It is also very humbling to know that America is just one country out of many. The best part about meeting all these people is that now I have places to stay during my future travels!

We met two fellow Aggies the other day at lunch! We were at a Japanese restaurant trying delicious udon noodles and my colleague Christian ('09, JD '15) was wearing a Texas A&M polo. The couple stopped him to say hello. They were surprised to see Aggie Maroon on this side of the world. They had moved to Cambodia about 17 months ago and just had a baby. They are getting ready to head back to Texas for the first time since they arrived ​here. Very small world and further proof that Aggies are global!!


​Prof. Charlotte Ku, Associate Dean for Global Programs, and Prof. Cynthia Alkon, Associate Dean for ​Academic Affairs, were kind to invite Christian and me to Thanksgiving dinner at their hotel. Easily the fanciest dinner I have had thus far. #delicious


Selfies are big in Cambodia so we had to take one at the workshop [more about that in an upcoming blog]. The people in this photo are from Cambodia, France, U.S. and Australia.


The people I work with daily:  Christian Holden, Hugo Cugnet, and Tais Ludwig. Hugo goes to Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense but he is finishing the entire last year of his degree in Cambodia. His university has a chapter here where the students work at various law firms/groups during the day and have classes in the evening and every other weekend. Tais is from American University, here for a short term assignment.


Aggie Law, pizza, Coca-Cola, and cell phones are global!
The Cambodian pizza is covered in seafood -- crab, squid and other items. They ordered a veggie one for the westerners and it has all sorts of vegetables including corn.