From poverty to fulfilling the impossible: Life for Cambodian boy linguist after viral fame

It has been two years since Thuch Salik, who can speak 16 languages, went viral because of his gift. The series Beyond The Viral Video finds out how the turnaround in the 16-year-old’s life has gone.

Until he turned 14, Thuch Salik’s world revolved around the streets of Siem Reap, Cambodia, where he had to peddle trinkets and souvenirs to tourists to help support his parents.

Home was a shack outside Angkor Wat, and he only had time to go to school for half the day. But he loved to learn, and dreamt of pursuing his studies overseas in the face of poverty and debt.

Impossible as it seemed in 2018, the teenager found himself transplanted to a high-end school in China last year, the only Cambodian at the Hailiang Foreign Language School in Zhejiang province.

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