Our Students

The long-term success of Sarus' mission relies entirely on the quality of the students who enter our program. With that in mind, we take their selection very seriously, placing a high priority on character, integrity, and potential. We look for students who possess strong leadership potential under the assumption that these students will be future leaders in a wide range of fields.  As a critical mass of Sarus alumni reach the upper echelons of their respective fields, we expect them to influence public opinion and policies in ways that promote peace, goodwill, and cooperation between neighboring countries.


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Sonia was a standout intern in our Cambodia-Vietnam program in 2014, and already an inspiring and ambitious leader when she joined Sarus. During her time with Sarus, Sonia grew as a confident and courageous leader, and developed professionally in conflict resolution, peace building, project management, and team work skills. After her time with Sarus, Sonia completed a course at the Lucerne Academy for Human Rights Implementation in Switzerland, and worked on a university project on the impact of female employment and education on gender relations in families in South and Southeast Asia. Sonia's biggest passion is women's empowerment and education in Bangladesh, and hopes to start her own nonprofit organization that provides marginalized women in Bangladesh access to education.

Sarus has helped me to become a confident, open minded, and courageous person. Within a month, it expanded my way of thinking and most importantly, it gave me the courage to follow my dream.
— Sonia Akter


Ly You Y

You Y was already an exceptional person when she joined Sarus. As a media & communications studies major at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, she is highly involved in extracurricular activities, including BarCamp, Plan International, and several film projects. At Sarus, she quickly proved her work ethic, where a typical day (for her) involved waking at 5:00 AM, organizing breakfast for the group, volunteering for construction work, and organizing another group meal - all while taking photos and recording footage for a Sarus video she's planning on putting together. Sarus provided a chance for You Y to take her first trip outside of Cambodia, where she forged lasting friendships with many of the Vietnamese program participants.

Even though we only lived with each other for one month, we are bound together as brothers and sisters. That relationship will last forever between both countries.
— Ly You Y

Dong nguyen

During our Cambodia-Vietnam program in 2012, Dong learned the importance of stepping outside of his comfort zone, and discovered a new side to himself and the world. Dong's experience with Sarus inspired him to take a gap year for solo travel, exploring 10 countries across Asia and Northern Africa. Currently, Dong studies with the Institute of Potential Leaders program while working at a tech company. He hopes to grow as a global citizen, and travel the world while creating an international startup.


Living with eccentric people is not easy. Yet once you do, you’ll figure out more about yourself. Sarus gave me an opportunity that changed my life.
— Dong Nguyen