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Khmer Language and Culture Program

2024 Program: June 10th - August 02nd, 2024

Deadline: February 29th, 2024, before 5.00 PM
Cambodia Time

The CKS Khmer Language and Culture Program (KLCP) provides an opportunity for US and non-US faculty, post-graduate researchers, and upper level of undergraduates  to participate in an intensive eight-week study abroad program in Phnom Penh, and Siem Reap Cambodia.

This program is administered in collaboration with the University of Hawaii, Mānoa. The program is designed for those who wish to develop Khmer language skills and understanding of contemporary Cambodian society for academic and professional purposes, but who have not completed two years of formal language training.

KLCP welcomes students with little or no prior Khmer language learning experience.

The program is intended to complement Hawaii’s Advanced Study in Khmer (ASK) program and is structured similarly.

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About the Program

There is a demand among academic researchers for high-quality in-country immersive Khmer language training. However, not all have completed the two years of academic training in Khmer required for Advance Study in Khmer (ASK).

The CKS Khmer Language and Culture Program aims to meet that demand and provide the opportunity for those with less Khmer language experience to benefit from immersive in-country language study . Like their ASK counterparts, participants in the CKS program receive four hours of intensive language training during morning sessions and spend afternoons , on field trips and engaging in other cultural activities where their language skills can be used in real-time situations.

Click here for information about the ASK program.

Program Goals

The program goals reflect CKS’s broader agenda of promoting research and international scholarly exchange through programs that increase understanding of Cambodia and its region:

  • To provide in-country language training for students interested in Cambodia and Khmer Studies.
  • To enable faculty, post-graduate researchers, and undergraduates to advance their level of Khmer language skills in preparation for fieldwork and study in Cambodia,
  • To promote cooperation and educational exchange among individuals, institutions, and Cambodia.

Program Instruction

To ensure the quality of the program, the course will be restricted to a maximum of 8 students.

Instruction is delivered by Cambodian instructors and linguists and follows the ASK curriculum at the appropriate level for the group.

Tuition and Administrative Costs

US applicants holding US citizenships

CKS will cover the costs of tuition, administration, and local travel on field visits for participants. Participants are responsible for their international travel and living expenses including accommodation and food throughout the duration of the program.

Participants are required to have health insurance covering their stay overseas. In addition, participants are responsible for any entry fees into Cambodia that are imposed by the Cambodian Government including visa fees, Covid-tests, quarantine, etc. if applicable.

US Students may be eligible through their institution for a Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship . To learn whether you are eligible for a FLAS fellowship please check on the FLAS website or check with your area or language studies department at your institution.

Non-US participants are eligible to apply for our program, however, if selected, you will be required to pay a portion of the tuition fee. For detailed information regarding the fee, please email to [email protected] prior to submitting your application.

For the latest updates on the Covid-19 and travel requirements in Cambodia please consult one or more of the following:

Eligibility (For US applicants)

  • Students and researchers working or studying in social sciences, humanities, foreign languages, or area studies. *
  • A faculty member at a U.S. University, or a U.S. citizen working at a foreign university.
  • A university graduate student, or upper-level undergraduate student (who is in the final two years of undergraduate study) who plans to teach in the social sciences, humanities, foreign languages, or area studies.
  • A university graduate student, or upper-level undergraduate (junior or senior) , who plans to apply their language skills and knowledge of countries vital to the United States in fields other than teaching, including government, the professions, or international development.
  • A teacher in an elementary or secondary school, or an experienced education administrator responsible for planning, conducting, or supervising programs in modern foreign languages or area studies at the elementary, secondary, or post-secondary level.

* “Area studies” refers to a program of comprehensive study of the aspects of a society or societies including the study of geography, history, culture, economy, politics, international relations, and languages.

Who is not eligible?

  • An individual who has participated in either the US/ED Group Project, Advanced Program, or Seminar Abroad Program in the past three years (2016-2018); or
  • An individual who has had two awards with either the US/ED Group Projects Abroad Program or Seminars Abroad Program, unless the award was received 10 years ago.
  • An individual who is currently unemployed.
  • An individual who is an educated native speaker or near-educated native speaker.

How to Apply


Hello = suos-tei  (in formal way, Jum Reab Sour)

Thank you = saum arkoun​


If you are Cambodian-French or Cambodian-American, and your passport shows that you were born in Cambodia, then you will not be charged for your visa.

Otherwise your Business Visa will cost US$35 for your first month. If you plan to stay in Cambodia longer than a month, we strongly recommend that you purchase your Business Visa upon arrival at Siem Reap or Phnom Penh International Airport. The process is quick and straightforward. Be certain to have two spare passport photos with you and US$35 cash. Remember that there is no visa needed for those of you who carry a Cambodian passport with them.

For American fellows, please visit:  https://www.embassyofcambodiadc.org/how-to-get-a-visa.html 

For French Fellows, please visit:  https://www.embassy-paris.com/France/Cambodia-in-Paris

 (Cambodian Government E-Visa). Note You could not apply the Business Visa via online.

  • Cost for a Cambodian Business Visa.

Otherwise your Business Visa will cost US$35 for your first month. If you plan to stay in Cambodia longer than a month, we strongly recommend that you purchase your Business Visa upon arrival at Siem Reap or Phnom Penh International Airport. The process is quick and straightforward. Be certain to have two spare passport photos with you and $35 cash.

**Remember that there is no visa needed for those of you who carry a Cambodian passport with them.

If you wish, another possible option to apply for your Tourist visa using the online application:  https://www.evisa.gov.kh (Cambodian Government E-Visa). Note You could not apply the Business Visa via online.

  • Extension
  1. Your Tourist Visa can extend another month then you will be leaving the country (Tourist Visa extend cost around US$50).
  2. Your business visas will then be extended within Cambodia for the remaining month of your stay. CKS team will facilitate the whole process for you and collect your passport and money. The extension will cost you about US$ 50.


You will be asked to fill in the blank in the application business visa application form, “business” section. Please fill in: “Research”.  Please make sure to keep track of the renewal date, and mark it somewhere in your personal calendar, so that you renew your visa on time; otherwise you will be charged a penalty of US$ 10 for each day spent in the country without a valid visa.

Guide books about Cambodia, such as the Lonely Planet, are a good source of information on history, culture and local norms and will give an idea of what types of food and services are available in Siem Reap.

The list below is furnished as a general outline and should not be seen as a hard and fast rule. And remember, all of the things on this list can be found in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh without a problem.

  • Clothes, including swimsuit, long pants, long shorts, shirts (t shirts and some button up), sneakers or shoes, some sandals/flip flops, rain poncho
  • Towel
  • Toiletries and first aid kit, including sunscreen, insect repellent, aspirin, antihistamine, cold and flu tablets, Imodium, sting relief spray, antifungal cream or powder, antiseptic, bandages/band aids, tampons, personal medication
  • Laptop computer
  • Books
  • Camera
  • Flashlight
  • Extra passport photos
  • Travel alarm clock

Cambodians tend to cover up more than one would think and they do tend to dress more on the conservative side of things, usually wearing long trousers and shirts even when very hot. Foreigners can and do get away with more relaxed dress but when doing research in villages, it’s best not to offend.

US dollars are the common currency with smaller change given in the local currency, riel. The exchange rate is approximately 4,100R to 1 US Dollar. You can find Currency Exchange stores in towns.

There are ATMs in Siem Reap that accept international cards; cash, traveller’s checks and credit card cash advances are all possibilities. Many restaurants and supermarkets accept credit cards, but not American Express. Notes that are ripped or torn, or even taped, will not be accepted.

Electricity is 220-240 V, power cuts and surges are not uncommon. You may need a voltage converter. For most electric outlets, the two pronged plug can fit (three prong is more problematic). Laptop computers may be dual voltage; look at the a/c adaptor. Plug adapters and voltage converters can be purchased in Siem Reap. Electricity is expensive as well and you are cautioned to take care to turn off lights, computers and especially air conditioning units when not using them.

Please look at the CDC Travel website (http://www.cdc.gov/travel/seasia.htm) for indications for immunizations and medications before traveling.

Siem Reap is 11 hours ahead of EST, 14 hours ahead of PST, and 6 hours ahead of Paris, something to keep in mind when calling home. International calling is easiest and most convenient through the various internet cafes in town or through Skype.

CKS has a fast wireless internet connection that you are free to use. Wireless internet connections can also be found for free all over town including: the café shops, restaurants, and hotels and in Phnom Penh, you can find the free Wi-Fi at the public park such as Hun Sen park.  

Mail can be received at the Center for Khmer Studies using the following addresses:

Your name, c/o Center for Khmer Studies, PO Box 9380 – Wat Damnak, Siem Reap, Cambodia


Your name, c/o Center for Khmer Studies, 234 Street 450 Tuol Tumpung II, Chamkamorn, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Tel: (855) 023 991 937.

Mail can take anywhere from 2 to 3 weeks to arrive in Siem Reap. You can also send mail from this location.

US taxes will have to be paid on the fellowships for American students. CKS will furnish you with a 1099 at the end of the calendar year. Again, if you have any questions, feel free to ask. However, if you wish to get started with some reading, the History of Cambodia by David Chandler is a good place to start.

25 Years of CKS

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