Lao students find their dreams at Mengla school

By Gateway   |    2024-07-05 17:38:12

Lao students at Mengla Vocational High School in south Yunnan's Xishuangbanna prefecture. [Photo/Yunnan Daily]

On the scorching afternoon of June 21, Mengla Vocational High School in south Yunnan's Xishuangbanna prefecture was alive with youthful energy, despite the heat and the incessant drone of cicadas.

As usual, Phan Fa, a girl from Vientiane, Laos, was preparing to attend her last Chinese class of the day. Inside the classroom, the sound of reading Chinese poetry filled the air.

In early 2023, decades of Laos students arrived in Mengla to study a wide range of subjects such as Chinese language, computer science, Chinese culture, tea art, and automotive repair, leading a fulfilling life.

In just a year and a half, under the careful guidance and constant encouragement of their teachers, the students’ proficiency in Chinese has improved rapidly. Many, though far from home for the first time, have found warmth in Mengla and developed a fondness for Chinese culture.

Phan Fa, like many of her peers, has dreams for the future.

"I want to go to university and then find a job in Laos, like my sister," she said. Her sister also graduated from Mengla Vocational High School and now works on the China-Laos Railway.

Phan Fa dreams of following in her sister’s footsteps, contributing to the railway that happiness to life. “The China-Laos Railway has made travel so much easier. My sister used to spend 30 hours on a bus from Vientiane to Mengla on rough roads. Now, the train gets me there in just 4 hours.”

Over 100 Laos students enrolled with Phan Fa also have siblings graduating from Mengla Vocational High School. They've either pursued higher education or returned to Laos to work as translators, police officers, tour guides, and more.

“Studying in Yunnan has given us more choices in life,” they say, as the seeds of their dreams take root, sprout, and grow.

Source: Yunnan Daily; trans-editing by Guo Yao

Lao students find their dreams at Mengla school