Vichitsavanh grew up in Luang Prabang province in Northern Laos and after finishing high school, moved to the capital, Vientiane to study English. After graduating and working on a few international projects, she applied to be a trainee at the Lao National Radio and that was the beginning of a long and impressive career on the nation’s airwaves. Since 1995, Vichitsavanh has worked for the number 1 national radio service in Laos and today she is the Deputy Head of News in Foreign Language Department.
Vichitsavanh believes that “Radio is the medium where you can share information as far as you want.” She explains that “The Lao National Radio is very important for Lao people as well as Lao PDR. The radio can reach out to almost all area of Laos, especially those who live-in remote areas can find important information through listening to radio.”
The Lao National Radio broadcasts daily news from Laos on topics such as health, the economy and Government regulations. During the COVID-19 lockdown, the national radio was literally a lifesaver, broadcasting important information about the virus, prevention and how to access vaccines.
“I decided to apply for the Australian Scholarship because I believed that it was a chance for me to develop my knowledge and have a better future,” said Vichitsavanh “I chose Deakin University because they had the course that I wanted to study. When I was there, in the first three months, I could not understand what Australian people said so I faced a lot of struggles and cultural shock because my English was not good enough and I did not understand the new university’s system. But after 3 months, I could adapt well, and I changed my major from journalist to women studies because it was the field that I always interested in. I am proud to say that the experience and knowledge from Australia help me a lot in my work. It makes me confident in my English, able to transfer the news accurately and comfortable to work/communicate with international countries.”
Vichitsavanh made the most of her time in Australia and chose to stay with an Australian family to help her improve her English. She was also motived to travel and see as much of Australia as possible during her 3-year degree “I tried to save money for traveling by doing part-time jobs. In the summer, I traveled to visit other states and stayed with my Lao friends. It was a great opportunity to have new experiences and see a lot of culture and meet new people.”
Vichitsavanh advises young people who interested in working with Lao National Radio to be passionate and to have a love for reading and general knowledge, so that they can respond spontaneously to listeners’ questions
Finally, she believes that the relationship between Australia and Laos is significant. “As I have seen until now, Australia has assisted the Lao people through a lot of development projects such as education, healthcare, gender, etc. Those projects are very important for improving the Lao people’s living conditions, especially the new generation of Lao who are accepted for an Australian Awards Scholarship – they will surely have a brighter future and career.”
“On behalf of Lao people, I would like to say thank you very much for supporting Lao’s younger generation in accessing international standard education via the Australia Awards Scholarship. This is a crucial step for Lao PDR to move forward to developed country. Finally, I hope that Australia will continue support Lao PDR and keep our friendship forever.”