Remarks by Ambassador William A. Heidt at the EducationUSA Grade A Student Fair

U.S. Embassy, Phnom Penh
October 30, 2016

Good morning and thank you all for coming to participate in our EducationUSA and Grade A Student Fair. Thank you to the Minister of Education Youth, and Sport, H.E. Dr. Hang Chuon Naron, and his designee, Undersecretary of State Lav Chhiv Eav, for your commitment to improving education in Cambodia.

First of all, I would like to congratulate you all for obtaining a Grade A on your exams. We realize this was no easy task, and that it required a lot of dedication, hard work, and sacrifice. Your families, schools, and communities should be very proud.

You are all very talented students, and you will have many opportunities available as you continue your education, including to study abroad if you want. The reason that I have invited you here today is to make sure that you know that the United States is looking for students just like you to attend our colleges and universities.

The United States has the best system of higher education in the world, with more than 5,000 schools offering programs in every imaginable field of study. I know that the United States is very far away and that choosing the right school can be difficult. I also know that some of you are worried about how to pay for your education or whether you will get a visa.

I want you to know that there are resources to help you, starting with the excellent EducationUSA advising center, which provides free counseling to students who want to study in the United States. There are also thousands of young Cambodians just like you who already studied in the United States and have returned home. Many of them are with us today. The best way to learn is by asking, so don’t be shy. And if you’re not already a member, sign up online or here at the Fair to be a part of President Obama’s Young Southeast Asia Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) network. There are plenty of resources and information here today to trigger ideas and avenues to furthering your education.

You are all Grade A students, so we know you are smart. Being smart is important, but it’s not enough. You have to believe in yourself. This year, more than 500 Cambodian students are studying in the United States. I promise you that it is possible. You can be next, if you continue to work hard and you believe in your abilities. As you follow your dreams, each of you have the responsibility to help Cambodia develop and prosper. We here at the U.S. Embassy are all very proud of each of you and wish you much success.