Samantha Blau has travelled outside of the country before, but an upcoming trip this summer is particularly nerve wracking.

Blau, a Desert Vista High School graduate and senior at Northern Arizona University, will be leaving for a 27-month stay in Cambodia this May through the Peace Corps.

“It’s been a dream of mine to serve in the Peace Corps,” said Blau. “Even though it’s a little jarring not knowing any details of where I’ll be going.”

Currently student teaching at Kyrene del Milenio Elementary, Blau has been mentored by two other teachers and has made connections with volunteers already in Cambodia and some who have just returned. The biggest piece of advice she’s been given was to get ready for a culture shock.

“It’s being able to be open to new experiences, and as long as you remember why you’re there in the first place,” Blau said.

Spending as much time with friends and family as she can, Blau said her family has been supportive and encouraging since she got the news earlier this year.

Though Blau doesn’t know what city, town, or specific assignments she will be doing, she wants to help with projects like teaching kids and youth about good hygiene and other life skills along with English.

With a heart for serving others, Blau said she believes that education is the biggest “equalizer.”

“And providing that to kids is of the upmost importance, making the community there better.”

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or Follow her on Twitter @dmartinezAFN.

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