Phouthong Bounchareun Nguyen is a wife, mother of three, and a businesswoman who never gives up her goal of becoming a medical doctor. Phouthone came to the United States as a Laotian refugee and resettled in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1981 along with her older sister, younger brother and their mother. The family later moved to Georgia.
In an interview with VOA, Phouthone describes herself as a strong and very determined person. All her life, she wants to be a medical doctor. She explaines to VOA…”My desire of becoming a doctor started when I was only eight or nine years old. At the time, my grandfather was dieing of malaria, but back then the people from the village believed that it was a spiritual that made him sick and took a way his life. I also believed in that superstition, partly because I was too young to
understand but I always had doubt about it. I often asked myself - why couldn’t I help him? Then I told myself that someday I would have a chance to get higher education to be able to pursue in medical field and become a doctor so that I can get to help my family, my relatives and my villagers, but again that was only a little girl’s dream.”
Phouthone escaped to Ubon, Thailand with her sister, while her mother was still with her father in a concentration camp in Laos. Her mother later joined them along with her younger brother.
Starting a new life in America - learning a new language, culture, traditions and a new way of life - was not easy. But Phouthone is a fighter. She fought against all odds and had gone through many obstacles in her life to get this far. “I am four person at the same time, I am a mother taking care of three children, a wife, a business woman and a full time student at the same time. I don’t know how I did it, but one thing I know for sure that I’ve to do it.” Phouthone works hard, juggling between her children, work and school. “Getting five hours of sleep is a blessing.” She added.
Phouthone finally got her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from West Georgia University in May 2006, after taking almost ten years to complete it. Phouthone will be going to Ross University School of Medicine in Miami, Florida in 2007. But she will have to wait another year to get rid of her laundry business first and make arrangements for her children before going to Miami and live there for the next four years, starting in Sept 2007.
Listen to our audio report for more details.