Vichit Sayavongkhamdy, oldest son of Mr. Thongsa and Mrs.Taykeo Sayavongkhamdy, talked to VOA about his education and childhood upbringing. He said his parents were very supportive and encouraged their children to get higher education. The whole family, parents and three sons, were all educated in foreign countries. Vichit received his bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, in 2003 before returning to Laos to assist in his country's national development, working in the government's poverty reduction program.
Vichit came to United States about
two years ago under the Fulbright Scholarship to work on a master's degree in urban and regional planning. Having prior education in Sydney helped Vichit a lot with his studies in the United States. He completed his program in exactly two years and graduated with the highest honor (Tau Sigma Delta) from the University of Colorado in May with a 3.95 GPA. The Tau Sigma Delta membership is bestowed on the top 20% of each graduating class only.
Vitchit said of the honor, “At first I was not sure, because I thought there were many other outstanding students who deserved the honor, but after talking to my professor and classmates, I learned that I was the one
selected from the College of Architecture and Planning. It’s a great honor, not only to myself and my family but also to my country, to receive such a distinction."
Vichit returned home to Laos immediately after graduation to take a big role in the United Nations Development Program or UNDP, working as the agency's liaison officer with the Lao government. Vichit told VOA that he was very excited about going back to his home country to take a leading role in its national development on a different level. He said, "I will bring the new techniques and methods that I’ve learned from America to use in Laos,
not all of it but only the ones that are applicable. I will apply the methods that will work from top down and bottom up to make sure that we meet in a middle, and I will try my best to reduce the gap between these two sectors.”
What are his recommendations for those who will come to study in America? Vichit said. "As an alumnus and a foreign student who did his studies overseas, I would like to recommend to members of the younger generation who are planning to study abroad that it 's a good idea to bring your spouse if you are married, because she or he can help you in school and houseworks. And for those who are not married, maybe it’s better to be single because that makes it even easier for you to
concentrate and excel in school. Being Asian, being humble and quiet is nice, but it’s not suitable here in the American society. We have to be more talkative, more outgoing, and do not be afraid to participate, to share your thoughts and ideas.”
VOA congratulates Vichit Sayavongphakdy on his educational achievement and hopes he will serve as a great example and guidance to many members of the younger generation.
Listen to our audio files for Vichit interview in Lao.