Warrant Officer Xayyakhan Varthee from Laos’ Champasak province is currently a third-year student of the Faculty of Archives and Journalism of Vietnam’s Military University of Culture and Arts. Born into a farming family, Xayyakhan went through many difficulties and hardships during his childhood. After learning about the studying environment in Vietnam from other students, Xayyakhan Varthee exerted utmost efforts and was qualified to study in Vietnam in 2020.  

Xayyakhan Varthee spends time reading books.

The Lao trainee said that he was impressed with the studying environment in Vietnam. All instructors and classmates are friendly and supportive. They are always willing to help him during his time in Vietnam. In addition, the university also provides Lao students with many essential skills to serve their future careers.

In the short-term, Xayyakhan Varthee said that he would like to acquire as much knowledge as possible to contribute to his homeland. The young officer also expressed the wish to have an opportunity to work in Vietnam in the future to continue deepening his knowledge in the field of journalism and communications.

First Lieutenant Suoksavanh Souvannalat doing an assignment

Currently, the Military University of Culture and Arts has 50 Lao students studying in various majors such as vocal music, music, dance, journalism, etc. According to Head of the Faculty of Archives and Journalism Senior Colonel Dr. Trinh Lan Huong, all Lao students studying at the university are under scholarship programs supported by the Vietnamese Government and Ministry of National Defense, so they are provided with 100% tuition coverage and living expenses. In addition, the university gives material support and learning facilities.

Language barrier is the biggest challenge to Lao students in Vietnam in general and those at the Military University of Culture and Arts in particular. The difficulties seem to increase since they have to get used to a new living environment. To address this issue, the university arranges for Lao students to stay in the same dormitories with Vietnamese students to facilitate their communication and learning.

Khanthaly Sibanthong in a joint photo with his Vietnamese instructor

Lao students are highly appreciated for their good study discipline and ability of balancing their time. Apart from actively participating in lessons during class time, they enthusiastically join extracurricular activities, cultural and sports exchanges. Together with acquiring professional knowledge, they show their interest in learning about the culture, history, and traditions of the Vietnam People's Army, the country, and its people.

First Lieutenant Souksavan Souvannalat from Savannakhet province, a third-year student of the Faculty of Archives and Journalism at the Military University of Culture and Arts, said that living in the same dormitories with Vietnamese students has helped them quickly get used to the new environment. Notably, foreign students have one year to learn the Vietnamese language to help them easily read textbooks and comprehend provided contents.

Captain Phitsamay Keomahavong (second from the left) attends a celebration of the 78th anniversary of the establishment of the Vietnam People’s Army.

According to Col. Huong, the university has created favorable conditions and provided assistance for Lao students through various forms. Together with applying suitable teaching methods, providing reference materials, and guiding them to write articles for Vietnamese and Lao newspapers and jounals, the university’s instructors have created environment to enhance their command of Vietnamese and organized extracurricular programs with diverse activities.

Captain Phitsamay Keomahavong, a fourth-year student at the university, said that friendly and supportive Vietnamese instructors as well as friends from both countries have eased his homesickness and difficulties.

By creating the best conditions and taking care of the material and spiritual life of students, as well as paying attention to training and developing human resources for Laos, the Military University of Culture and Arts has contributed to nurturing the brotherhood and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and Laos.

Translated by Tran Hoai