Global Programs Blog

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

Traveling to Cambodia

The journey to Cambodia was quite an adventure by itself! I left Dallas at 5:30 p.m. on a Monday and arrived in Phnom Penh at 5:40 p.m. on a Wednesday (5:40 a.m. Dallas/Fort Worth). I left Dallas with a medium sized suitcase, backpack and water bottle, and I arrived with everything except the water bottle.

Traveling to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, is not a short trip. I flew from Dallas to San Francisco to Hong Kong to Singapore and finally into Phnom Penh. Each stop had a layover, and I was able to meet a friend for dinner in San Francisco.

The trip was long, and I would highly recommend earplugs for the flight. I was able to sleep for most of it (thank you earplugs), but I brought an iPad full of books to keep myself entertained. The Singapore airport is now one of my favorite airports. There are mini gardens throughout the terminals, interactive art pieces and quite a bit of shopping to keep travelers entertained. At first I was nervous about navigating through the various airports, but most signs were written in three different languages so I did not have any issues finding my flights. The flight attendants on Singapore Airlines wore distinctive and beautiful flight attendant uniforms called sarong kebaya. I would suggest reading about the uniforms and marketing history.

Once I landed in Phnom Penh awe and culture shock starting to sink in. As soon as I left the airport I hopped in a taxi and kept my fingers crossed that the driver would take me to the right hotel. I do not speak Khmer and I have never been to Phnom Penh so it was difficult to give directions. Thankfully we were able to understand each other and he found the hotel. The rules of the road are quite different in Phnom Penh, and it was a bit nerve-racking to see moto bikes dart out into an intersection when the light was red.

I did not even bother to unpack once I got to the hotel. As soon as I got to my room, it was lights out. Jet lag is a real thing.

The journey was long and full of uncertainties, but starting a new adventure made the trip worth it!