Humans of Khmer America

Sophia Som

Sophia Som, 19, is a sophomore at the University of Washington. She is majoring in Health Studies and plans to work for a non-profit organization or become a family physician in the future. Sophia joined the Khmer Student Association (UW KHSA) to connect with students who share her culture and has been a very active member. She is a great example of a student who exhibits hunger for both education and keeping Khmer culture alive.

LAURA: What made you join KhSA?
SOPHIA: Their annual Khmer New Year show lured me into joining KhSA and I don’t regret it! I previously danced for a Khmer Dance group that performed a few dances for their shows and really wanted to join. I remember the first meeting I attended as a freshman, I was welcomed by their friendly vibes, eggrolls and bai cha. KhSA isn’t just some student club, it’s family.

LAURA: Describe your experience being a Cambodian-American college student?
SOPHIA: As a Cambodian-American student, I feel proud. I think it’s time to show college campuses our presence and culture. I’m so lucky to represent my Khmer culture after all that has happened in the Cambodian history. My number one motivation is to persevere through adversity just like those who survived the genocide.

LAURA: What advice do you have for Cambodian-American students currently in college and/or are aspiring to go to college?
SOPHIA: Join a club. It doesn’t have to be Cambodian related – whatever you’re interested in, you’ll form a bond with that group that will impact the rest of your college career. Also, don’t be afraid to go out of the box-join a protest or go salsa dancing! Treat yourself.

Interview by Laura Vong

Photo by Janhtria Sapearn

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