Feature: Interest in learning Chinese language grows among Lao students
VIENTIANE, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- Interest in Chinese language studies has been growing steadily in Laos, with the number of students taking Chinese courses in the Southeast Asian country increasing significantly.
Many Lao students are interested in learning Chinese and applying for a Chinese scholarship, which will be a great help in bolstering their Chinese language proficiency and cultivating better career skills.
The Chinese government has awarded 350 scholarships to Lao students in the 2023-2024 academic year for doctorate's, master's and bachelor's degrees in China.
Aliya Xabphaysarne, an 18-year-old student from Savannakhet province, who was awarded the scholarship and chose to study medicine, told Xinhua that she has been learning Chinese since she was young, and she believes that she will be able to bring medical knowledge and techniques from China back to Laos.
"I decided to study in China because I want to develop my knowledge and deepen bilateral ties between China and Laos," said Praveena Insisiengmay, who was awarded a master's degree scholarship.
Meanwhile, the number of candidates applying for the bachelor's program in Chinese Language at the Confucius Institute at the National University of Laos (NUOL) has nearly tripled in the past two years to 562 in 2023 from 193 in 2021.
Director of the Confucius Institute, Khamhoung Chanthavong, told the media that the number of candidates for the entrance exam has been increasing steadily since the program was launched in 2021.
Khamhoung said China's growing investment in Laos requires a bilingual workforce who understands both Lao and Chinese cultures.
The Chinese Language Teaching course is designed to train Lao youth to support the development of the Laos-China economic cooperation, he added.
At the entrance exam for the NUOL on Aug. 12, the Department of Chinese Language received over 2,000 student enrollments, the most for any subject this year.
In addition, the Lao railway vocational technical college in the Lao capital Vientiane is ready to train 360 students in its first academic intake in 2023, which would help prepare skilled workers to be employed on the China-Laos Railway.
The increasing popularity of Chinese language studies among Lao students is the result of a growing number of Chinese tourists and investors in the country neighboring southwest China, which also creates more job opportunities in related industries.