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Cambodia Microfinance 


This course is designed to provide a tangible and real-world understanding of global economics and microfinance in Cambodia. Lessons are supported by interactions with local guest speakers, community members, and daily activities and excursions. To achieve the academic goals, this course is divided into three distinct phases. The first phase of the course explores broad themes in globalization, international economies, and banking, with a focus on the unique history of Cambodia and economic growth in Southeast Asia. During the second phase, the goal is to develop an understanding of the history and role of microfinance in society and analyze different lending models and financial products that serve the poor and those without access to traditional banking. The final phase includes a project based in the community, with lessons that further expand on topics seen in daily interactions. Funding, management, societal and economic impact measurement, and sustainability are important themes that we will discuss and debate. Microfinance blurs the line between business and social support by using a community- based approach to help people and organizations achieve financial goals and affect positive change. The lessons of microfinance go beyond financial products and processes, requiring students to understand community relationships and the dynamics of poverty.


  • Understand the evolving economic landscape of local, regional, national, and international businesses
  • Interpret the complexities of the globalization of economic industries
  • Develop a understanding of microfinance operations, procedures, models, and viability
  • Advance knowledge of banking and the history of microfinance
  • Gain an appreciation and understanding of the role and impact microfinance has within Cambodia and the world at large
  • Collaborate with existing microfinance institutions through round table discussions, presentations, and site visits
  • Apply understanding of microfinance and global markets to hands-on field experiences


  • Globalization and the Global Economy
  • Economic Performance: Trade and Growth in Southeast Asia
  • Introduction to Microfinance
  • Understanding Microfinance Markets
  • Banking and Monetary Policy
  • Introduction to Institutionalized Lending
  • Banking and the History of Microfinance
  • Program and Lending Models
  • MFI Products: Loans, Savings, and Insurance
  • Funding, Financing, and Sustaining MFIs
  • Measuring Social and Economic Impact
  • Regulation and Supervision
  • MFI Management


  • As a complement to our coursework, we visit communities and people in an attempt to measure the social and economic impact of microfinance assistance. In particular, we focus our efforts and learning around group agricultural loans and small business loans to women.
  • Volunteer at a non-profit organization designed to break the cycle of poverty through access to education. Our partnership provides another perspective on the challenges of poverty yet instills a sense of hope that is emblematic of all Cambodians.

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At a Glance

Community Service & Academics
  • 20 Hours
  • 3 Credits
College Credit
  • 3 international development Credits

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