Marshall High School alumna to travel to Asia as volunteer

MARSHALL – Adding some practical experience to her studies, Emily Jensen, a senior at St. Benedict majoring in political science and international relations, is heading overseas.

“I’m excited,” she said. “I haven’t started getting nervous yet.”

The 2010 Marshall High School graduate will depart for Cambodia May 29 for a five-week volunteer opportunity. She will teach young students in English at an orphanage.

But first, she wants to visit her brother, Tony, whom she hasn’t seen in a year. Tony, a 2008 MHS graduate, is working in Cambodia with the Peace Corps.

When she was mulling over where she wanted to go for some international experience, Jensen said she originally thought of Turkey but then decided on Cambodia so she could see her brother.

“We’re close,” she said. “It will be nice being in the same country as him.”

After a day or two of spending time with her brother, she will depart to Phnom Penh for a two-day orientation session.

“Then I will hit the ground running,” Jensen said.

Jensen said she comes from a family of teachers and has some teaching experience, but mainly it will be a learning-while-doing experience for her.

“I’ll have to have some lesson plans and then go from there,” she said.

Jensen is looking forward to the “exchange of culture” that she will most certainly get.

“They have a different view of life that I can learn from,” she said.

Jensen was placed in Cambodia working alongside other volunteers from all over the world as part of the International Volunteer HQ program and will teach school through the Cambodia Volunteer Foundation.

In preparation for her trip, she has had six vaccinations, including rabies, tetanus and polio and will take anti-malaria pills throughout her time in Cambodia. Jensen is responsible for paying the program fees, airfare and vaccinations.

She will work in the orphanage on weekdays.

“Weekends are ours,” she said.

After her five-week stint, she and her brother plan to vacation in Cambodia and see the sights.

“He hasn’t had a vacation since he got there,” Jensen said.

After graduating from the College of St. Ben’s, Jensen would like to get a Fullbright fellowship, which is an opportunity for graduate study overseas, or work for refugee or human rights in some capacity.