For International Youth Day, we were privileged to meet Mr Khammailee “Lee” Vangxaolee, a graduate of the National University of Laos who now enjoys a successful career at BCEL Bank in Vientiane.

Lee’s journey from a poor rural village in Laos to being accepted into a Master’s Degree in Europe is inspiring. It all began with a love of numbers, a commitment to education and the help of the Laos Australia National Scholarship program.

For Khammailee Vangxaolee, growing up in Viengkham District, Luang Prabang, the scholarship has been a game changer. Lee explains, “As I come from a low-income family in a rural area, the scholarship support from the Australian government has played a vital role in my education success and made me who I am today.”

“I discovered early that I was good at Mathematics and numbers, and as a student coming from one of the poorest parts of the country, the Laos Australia National Scholarship has provided the financial support necessary to achieve my study goals.”

Khammailee enrolled in an Economics degree at the National University of Laos. During his time at University, Khammailee was selected to join an exchange program to study for one semester at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. “Since it was my first time going abroad, I felt so happy and excited that I was eventually able to step out of my comfort zone and challenge myself. After the first program, I got selected for several short-term exchange programs abroad, which enhanced my perspectives, knowledge, experience, and networking.”

Today Khammailee is a researcher at the BCEL Bank in Vientiane – one of the biggest state-owned commercial banks in Lao PDR.

“I am so lucky to work in a field related to Economics, where I can apply my knowledge and skills gained from university, specifically conducting research and data analysis and the teamwork skills, that I acquired from exchange programs abroad have helped me deal with difficulties at work more efficiently.”

Lee says that he loves the collaborative working environment at BCEL bank. “We all support each other and work together to achieve a shared goal. Every day is different, and it is a constant adventure.”

For International Youth Day, Lee has words of encouragement for young people in Laos today: “Regardless of your disadvantaged background and no matter where you live, I firmly believe that you can always create positive impacts on your community and the people around you! Be yourself, have courage and do not give up on your dream and never underestimate your abilities.”

Keen to pursue a Master’s Degree in Global Development Policy, Lee has recently been awarded a European Union-funded scholarship to continue his studies in Europe. Congratulations Lee! We can’t wait to see what this next chapter of your career will bring.

Mr Khammailee “Lee” Vangxaolee  was supported by the Laos Australia National Scholarships (LANS) program which supports underprivileged young men and women from rural Laos to study undergraduate degrees at the @NationalUniversityofLaos. It’s part of Australia’s support for Human Resource Development in Laos.

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