Skip to main content

Report Fidel Nemenzo Cambodia 2014

Name of Volunteer: Fidel Nemenzo


Home Institution: Institute of Mathematics, University of the Philippines

Position at home institution: Professor

Arrival and departure date in host country: Arrived 31 March 2014, left on 21 April 2014

Who was your main contact in the host country (name, affiliation and email address)?
Mam Mareth, Department of Mathematics, Royal University of Phnom Pehn (Cambodia)
Email: <>

Please answer the following questions:
1) Location (country, city, institution) of your lecture: Cambodia, Phnom Pehn, Royal University of Phnom Pehn (RUPP)

2) Dates of your lecture:
1-18 April 2014

3) Subject and title of the course:
Introduction to Number Theory

4) How often did you teach a course? 
I taught the course almost every weekday. Some school days fell on holidays, during which I met some students individually. 

5) How many students took part in the course(s)?
There were 19 students, including (only) 2 women.

6) Background of students:
Master Students

7) Please provide (if possible) any schedule of activities/list of topics covered during your visit. 
Properties of integers
Divisibility, primes and unique factorization
Diophantine equations
Solving congruences, Chinese Remainder Theorem
Fermat-Euler Theorem
Quadratic Reciprocity
Groups, rings and fields
Introduction to algebraic number theory
Some applications (RSA public key cryptography, etc)

8) Did you develop or follow a prescribed syllabus or did you write your own? Was it available to the students before the course or when the course began? I sent the list of topics to be covered as well as a list of suggested readings to the course coordinator before I went to Cambodia.
Please also mention the references you used or any text books that were referred to:
Most class material came from my lecture notes. But I always referred them to Andre Weil’s Number Theory for Beginners. For advanced students I recommended Introduction to Modern Number Theory by Ireland and Rosen. Both books are published by Springer-Verlag. 

9) Did you use any books, classroom material, AV, or other technology-based materials?
Most of the time I lectured using the whiteboard. Only once did I use my computer and the LCD projector. 

10) What type of assessment tools did you use? Attach if available, any notes or exams/quizzes that were distributed to students.
Everyday I gave exercises, and for each, I asked a student to write his/her solution on the board and explain in both English and Khmer. I gave them a 

11) In which language was the course given:

12) Was the course language the native language of the students?

13) Did you give any public lectures, and did you discuss with local staff issues regarding the curriculum?
I only had one short discussion with the local course coordinator at the beginning of the course. 

14) Where did you live? (e.g. hotel, hostel, on campus, in city e.g.)
Hotel, near the Royal Palace

15) Do you have any recommendations/suggestions to the professor who will visit the university in the future (also regarding accommodation, health and visa issues)?
Although there are hotels in different parts of Phnom Pehn, I suggest that a professor who visits this city stay in one of the many hotels along or near the river front (Sisowath Quay). There is a wide variety of restaurants and shops in the area. I particularly enjoyed walking along the riverside promenade in the late afternoon, after classes. I tried all sorts of street food—but I do not advise this for other travellers. I am more adventurous than average, but to be on the safe side, I advise visiting professors to take all the necessary precautions. Bring your insect repellents/lotions and meds. There are pharmacies (drug stores), but they speak very little English, if any. Drink only bottled water. 

16) Would you like to share anything else, such as a particular experience, testimonial etc.?
During one of the holidays- which means no access to university facilities- my students and I decided to relax and go to a small island on the Mekong River, where we had food, drinks and good conversation. This was during the later part of the course. It was helpful for me to get to know them outside the classroom setting. The activity I guess also helped them be more open and comfortable with me. I learned more about their culture, and they learned about mine. We also talked about mathematics and the experience of graduate school. 

17) Do you have any pictures which you would allow us to put on the IMU- CDC website?
Yes, and I will send them with this document.

18) Are we allowed to publish the answers you provided above?

Thank you very much!