The idea to open a school for the teaching of Khmer to foreigners using this natural approach dates back to November 2011, when Sonia Cautain, one of the founders of the school, first arrived in Phnom Penh. She had previously spent 4 years in Bangkok, Thailand, where she learned Thai at AUA (www.auathai.com) using this method. Having had very bad experiences previously trying to learn foreign languages in a more 'traditional' way and having been told by everyone that Thai was one of the hardest languages to learn, she was very happy to give the 'unconventional' Thai programme at AUA a try. She was extremely impressed with the result and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience of the acquisition of the language and the direct exposure to Thai culture - thanks to the entertaining and dynamic team of teachers at AUA Bangkok.
After speaking to many expatriates around Phnom Penh, she realised that there was definitely a need for a school like AUA, as many of them struggle with Khmer and have had unsuccessful experiences trying to learn with other programmes or with private tutors. This is when, along with David Jacobs (also a former AUA student), she decided to start a school based on this very effective method.
The Language Institute of Natural Khmer (or LINK) officially opened on 11th June 2012.
Sonia Cautain, co-founder of LINK. She was a student at AUA Bangkok and learnt Thai with the Natural Method. She arrived in Phnom Penh in November 2011 and will stay in Cambodia until 2015 and is learning Khmer in the same way that you will do. One day, she will be the only French person to speak Khmer with a Thai accent...
David Jacobs, co-founder and manager of LINK. He came over to Phnom Penh from the UK after finishing his studies in May 2012 to set up the school with Sonia, where he has been studying Khmer ever since. He is planning on staying in Cambodia for a long time and all the while improving his Khmer.
A medical student from Phnom Penh. Any medical question, please ask her. She also does the Reading and Writing Course, teaches the News hour at Intermediate and Advanced levels, plays a key role in our Khmer Culture Course and helps out here and there... What would we do without her? Da has been with us since the start.
Student at Pannasastra University in Business Administration. Originally from the province of Battambang, she moved to Phnom Penh in 2005. You cannot miss her, as she is always there doing something at the office (thanks Rina). She is also the one who started our Reading and Writing Course. She has been with us since the start.
He was born in Siem Reap, but has lived in Phnom Penh all his life. He continues his studies during the weekends, so you will not see him on Saturdays. He does some modelling too. He joined our team in January 2013. He has since always been very committed and will do very well as a Natural Khmer teacher.
Our most junior team member. She loves her province of Pursat and with her you will hear loads of stories from her childhood and about her family. Voleak is often at the office helping in many ways and entertaining us all. She has worked as a volunteer for SIPAR and is now studying English and French. Voleak has been with us from the start.
Leakhena joined the LINK team in December 2013. Originally from Kandal province, she moved to Phnom Penh in 1998 and is now studying Business Administration at PUC.
Van is our most senior team member, and he comes from the province of Prey Veng. He was a monk for almost twenty years... He will tell you a lot about his experience living in a Wat. He is excellent at telling stories, miming, acting in class and he will always make you laugh. He recently got married, we wish him the best. He joined the rest of the team just one month after we had started.
Originally from Battambang but his family moved to Phnom Penh a long time ago. He always comes to class with interesting topics, great legends, tales and stories, and without any doubt he is the most talented teacher when it comes to drawing! Chetra has been with us since the start.
Don't be surprised if you see him on TV in adverts or in music videos, or in your daily newspaper, as Alexora is a well known actor and model. He calls himself a real 'city boy', as he has lived in Phnom Penh all his life. He’s been with us from the start.
One of our youngest, but most promising team members, from Kampong Cham, who always has meticulously prepared stories to tell in class. She studied psychology at University and worked for a call hotline organisation. She has also worked as a volunteer for different NGOs. Chhean has been with us since the start.