My Journey from English Teacher to NGO Writer in Cambodia

By: Joshua Bottorff

Let's start with a little background information on myself first. So, picture this, spry and young 25-year-old me just finished up a 6-year contract in the military. Bright eyes, and excited to move on into the civilian world and make a name for myself. I was eager for change. First things first, go to college. I enrolled at the University of Colorado and began studying for the degree that opens all those doors in the job world. Years pass, seasons change. Okay well, maybe like two. Two whole years go by, and I’m ready, once again, for a change. Notice a trend? I guess I wasn’t ready to stay put. I needed something new, and I needed it soon. So, like any rational adult I went on online and googled my issue. “Broke college student wants to live and work abroad”, or something along those lines. It wasn’t long until ITA was popping up on all ad spaces on Facebook, Amazon, CNN, and everywhere. The rest is ITA lesson planning history.

4 Things I Wish I Knew Before Moving to Cambodia to Teach English

By Kate John

Before moving to Cambodia I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I scoured blogs and websites, looking for any information I could find about life in the Kingdom of Wonder. I still felt like I came up empty, so when the day came I knew I was in for a big change. After a year of living here, I feel like I know a lot more than I did then. I started writing blogs to help inform people like me, looking for more than just the backpacking tips available on travel blogs. Here are some things I learned that I wish I had known then.

Love & Dating While Teaching English in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

By Kate John

I moved to Cambodia with my significant other. We both wanted a grand new adventure, and we got it. But with all the adventure, we try to make sure we are keeping our relationship in mind all the time. One of the simple and easy ways to do that is to go on dates. Dating is difficult in unfamiliar territory though, so this is a guide to the city. These are a few of our favorite date spots in Phnom Penh. So if you’ve just landed a hot Tinder date, or you’ve been together a while but don’t know where to go, here are our recommendations:

A Survival Guide to Moving Abroad to Phnom Penh, Cambodia

By Kate John

You’ve just arrived in Phnom Penh. It’s overwhelming, intimidating, and confusing. You are wondering why you moved halfway around the world, and what you’ve gotten yourself into. Do not panic. I was in your shoes not too long ago. I adjusted quickly to life in the Kingdom of Wonder, but I wish I knew some things earlier on. Here’s a few tips for your basic survival here in the city. You know, water, shelter, food, wifi, basically all the essentials.

You Know You're in Cambodia When...

By Kate John

Cambodia is a unique and wonderful place, that’s why they call it the Kingdom of Wonder. At one point it was the most developed and stable part of Southeast Asia, but after years of internal turmoil it has fallen behind it’s neighbors in terms of advancement. Make no mistake, that doesn’t mean it is any less amazing than Thailand or Vietnam. If anything, Cambodians are more resourceful, kind-hearted, and creative than anywhere else. Living here is a treat. There are some quintessentially Cambodian moments you’re likely to experience during your time here. These are a few of my personal favorite times that made me really know I was in Cambodia.

Staying Hydrated - A Beverage Tour of Cambodia

By Kate John

Phnom Penh, like all of Cambodia, is somewhere you want to make sure you’re well hydrated. It’s something about that ever present tropical heat. That said, why stick with just water? There’s a lot going on in the Kingdom of Wonder in terms of beverages. From worldwide classics to local treats, Cambodia does have it all. So, let me take you on a drinks tour of Phnom Penh.

Finding an Expat Community in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

By Kate John

While living and teaching abroad I have found connecting with people from back home to be a pleasant surprise. Yes, I moved away to find a new adventure and to seek a career doing what I love while traveling. But, there will always be a place I call home and it’s nice to connect with those who may have had the same experiences as you. It's also a plus to have a social connection with people who understand your political background, religious beliefs, or even just the food you like to eat. To be fair, I am not guaranteeing these places will find you a community of Americans, but you traveled abroad for some diversity so let's try to embrace that as well.

Tips to Overcome Culture Shock While Teaching English in Cambodia

By Kate John

When I first stepped off the airplane to teach English in Cambodia, I was terrified. I had no idea what I’d just gotten myself into, and I felt adrift in a sea of foreign water. I’d read about experiencing culture shock, but never really thought much of it. After all, I’d travelled abroad before. It wasn’t as if I was fresh off the boat with a brand new passport and wide eyes.

How to Get Around Phnom Penh, Cambodia

By Kate John

Teaching English in Cambodia will be an adventure you tell you friends for the rest of your life. The sights, smells, and methods of travel will be something right out of a thriller movie. The first time I hopped onto a scooter with two other grown adults, I knew I was in a different class of travel. Getting to school everyday is almost as much of an adventure as teaching the kids themselves. There are always common practices to keep in mind though, like keep anything you don't want someone to take inside your pockets or bags at all times and the first quote from your tuk-tuk driver is always going to be too high.