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Brother Andrew Min knew that he wanted to spend his freshman summer far away from where he calls home—Seattle, Washington. However, neither he nor his parents expected him to end up where he did, across the globe in Cambodia working to consult for an NGO.

Min found his summer internship through Penn International Impact Consulting (PIIC), a group that works to connect international non-for-profits with Penn students. PIIC matched Min and four other Penn students with an organization called New Hope for Cambodian Children, an NGO that doubles as an orphanage for HIV positive children. Located right outside of Cambodia’s capital, the orphanage runs entirely on donations and volunteer efforts, both of which Min was tasked to raise awareness for and improve support for.  Min quickly learned how different the Cambodian people were from his usual crowd at Penn. In Cambodia, almost everyone Min met was extremely poor, yet the welcomed him with open arms and smiles on their faces. By not having the Internet or much other means of communication, the Cambodians Min met had no way of comparing themselves to others and were simply happy with what they had, a perspective on life Min hopes to incorporate throughout the year at Penn.

Photo captions: (top) Min and the other PIIC workers with a former Cambodian genocide victim. (bottom left) Min and co-workers prepping for their final client presentation. (bottom right) Min and co-workers outside of a local temple.

However, all work and no play would make anyone a dull boy. Min took advantage of the numerous travel opportunities he had and made sure to explore the country in his spare time. Between the Buddhist Temples, Cambodian nightclubs, and packed food markets, there was always something new to experience. Despite all that though, Min’s memory comes from a spontaneous trek through a neighboring island, in which he climbed the island’s peak in flip flops despite its steep cliffs and rocky paths. Even though he had to sprint back to his boat before it departed and the temperature reached 115 degrees, Min says the view from the top of the mountain, with the entire sea surrounding him, made it all worth it.