When a group of Rotorua students visit Cambodia this month, it won't be for a holiday.

The 11 John Paul College students, who left for Cambodia on December 1, are travelling as part of the World Challenge programme.

The programme gives young people a chance to travel overseas to experience a new culture and give back to a local village. Often they visit third world or developing countries.

Year 11 student Adam Wong-Toi said the group had been preparing for the trip since mid-2017.


"It is hard to pick what I am most excited for because it truly is going to be a trip of a lifetime.

"I am looking forward to trying some foreign foods like fried spiders, crickets and grasshoppers in the local markets, giving my time to help the people in the village, and challenging my adventurous side with the hikes and cycling."

During the three and a half week trip the group will explore the cities of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, visiting markets, temples and a prison, then they will tramp in the jungle and mountains before working in a village in the Kratie Province.

At the village the group will help build a new classroom.

"We will also get to help out around the village, teaching basic English, helping with farming and developing the village with more basic infrastructure," Adam said.

It's funded through the original costs of the trip and a portion of the fees go to the village and resources to build the classroom.

"We can also take over other things to give to the kids, like small New Zealand souvenirs or classroom resources."

Adam said while trekking in the jungle the group would be cooking on open-top fires and sleeping in hammocks.

"This will be such a different experience to New Zealand tramping, something I am very excited to try."

They will also learn local hunting and fishing techniques.

One of the other students on the trip, Madeline Snell, has self-published her own cookery book, 100 Spoons. Proceeds from the cookbook will go to the village.