The First Monk to Study Journalism at the Department of Media and Communication

Venerable Mao Dina, having been part of the monkhood since he was 9 years old, is now a freshman at both the Department of Media and Communication and the Department of International Studies’ Institute of Foreign Languages.



Him Imrorn: Not many monks in Cambodia choose to study journalism, but why did you buck the trend of other monks to opt for this major?



Mao Dina: My decision has a clear reasoning. I myself might be a little bit different from others since when I was a child, I like reading books and doing exercises outside the class’ arranged contents. Actually, I can return to my previous major at Royal University of Law and Economics, but since I have a clear goal of getting a scholarship to pursue my higher education abroad—I have decided to look for a place that can equip me with broader qualities and opportunities. I have admired the Department of Media and Communication (DMC), with its program being substantially conducted in English and related to the issues of governance and political science.



Him Imrorn: So what’s your motivation for getting into media?



Mao Dina: It is my instinctive decision that I have had since I was a child. My decision is basically based on logical reasons through reading and researching. Honestly, I am new to DMC. I just started learn about it at the time when I was studying a bridging course at the Institute of Foreign Languages. I have met a lot of outstanding students who introduced me to DMC. Most importantly, there was an inspirational and brilliant teacher, Khan Chenda, who is a former DMC student. This pushed me to make the decision.



Him Imrorn: It would be hard for you specifically as a monk to pursuing a journalism degree which has many hand-on requirements. Would you share with us the most arduous challenges you have encountered so far and how you dealt with them?



Mao Dina: The biggest challenge to study here [at the DMC] is English proficiency and financial support. Since I have just learnt English intensively for some two years, I still have problems with my writing and speaking skills. Moreover, as you may know that there were some restrictions for monks when it comes to using vehicles to travel by themselves, so other monks and I are facing this problem. We have to spend more budget on transportation and meals, even though we have no problem with accommodation. In this case, it is not a big deal for those who have parents to support them, while those who do not have parents to support like me receive financial support from donation only.



I believe that my language problems will be dealt with sooner rather than later—I am now devoting more time to writing and speaking, mostly practicing with friends. Also, I have some friends who live and study abroad who help me and share with me the tips. So, I have made huge improvements lately.



Moreover, as far as the financial problems for monks studying is concerned, I strongly believe that there will be solutions. Most importantly, I want to emphasize that patience and commitment are needed for all problems. To me, I had also tried my best to find a scholarship to support my school tuition fees, as well as daily expenses besides receiving donations​.



Him Imrorn: The DMC famously prepares students for many fields of work—how do you see it shaping your career for the future?



Mao Dina: As far as my future career is concerned, I am interested in both journalism and communication fields since I have been expecting to be an editor of a media outlet, a public speaker or a political analyst. It is because one of the purposes of my life is to benefit our society by sharing my knowledge in a scientific approach, which most monks especially, lack.



Him Imrorn: What is your message to encourage other monks to choose this major?



Mao Dina: Yes, I would encourage all students, especially the monks to pursue this major. Also, I will be their facilitator—ideas and resources, if they need my help. Moreover, I have to say that the knowledge from Buddhism could help us a lot in this field as we are well-rounded with some terminologies that others might not know.



Finally, if you want to successfully become a DMC student, you have to be well-prepared with the English language proficiency as well as insightful in general knowledge, which can be gained by reading books and listening to the radio. Last but certainly not least, as a DMC student you need to have clear observations of human stories and good communication with others.


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