Study in Laos
Laos is a Southeast Asian country known for its mountainous terrain, French colonial architecture, Buddhist monasteries, hill settlements. Laos is a less-known Southeast Asian country but is an ideal destination for those looking for a blend of culture, history, and adventure.
It is a nation known for its relaxed demeanor and friendly and easy-going people. Vientiane is the capital city and is the site of the That Luang monument. It is fast becoming a popular travel destination.
Some go for tourism, some for business, some to get them on-demand English teaching jobs, and some for study. It is becoming a popular study destination for language enthusiasts, culture enthusiasts, tourism enthusiasts, and students who just want to experience a unique new environment.
If you are looking to study in Laos, then you are in for a treat as you are bound to experience more than you bargained for in this strange intriguing, and beautiful country.
Education in LAOS
Education in Laos follows a Western academic calendar from September to June. In the current structure of Laos education, primary education is compulsory for five years, followed by three years of lower secondary, three years of upper secondary, and then three to seven years of postsecondary education, depending on the field of study.
Education is compulsory, free, and universal through the fifth grade. A unified standard national curriculum is used while modern technology in education is extremely limited.
Several higher education institutions provide degree programs, some of which include the National University of Laos, University Pedagogical Institute, the National Polytechnic Institute; and the University of Health Sciences.
Each of these institutions provides specialized professional training of at least 4 years to 7 years depending on the program chosen. Laos has an adult literacy rate of 84.66%, while the male literacy rate is 89.96%, and is 79.39% for females, according to UNESCO.
Important things to note
Here are a few things to take note of before you go out and about in Laos.
Money- The official national currency used in Laos is the Lao kip (K). however, Thai baht (B) and United States dollars (US$) are also commonly accepted in many institutions.
ATM- ATMs are now found in most places in Laos. ATMs however dispense a maximum of 700 000K to 2 000,000K which is about US$85 to US$250 per transaction, depending on the bank, and mention a variable withdrawal fee on top of that.
Bank/ Credit Cards- most hotels, upmarket restaurants, and gift shops in Vientiane and Luang Prabang accept Visa and MasterCards, and Amex and JCB. However, many places charge a transaction fee usually around 3%.
Outside of the main towns in Laos, credit cards are virtually useless. Banks like Banque pour le Commerce Exterieur Lao branches in major towns offer cash advances or withdrawals on MasterCard and Visa credit or debit cards for a 3% transaction fee.
Travelers Cheques- Traveller's cheques are accepted by a few merchants and can be cashed at most banks in Laos, but normally only in exchange for the local currency, the kip. Cheques made in US dollars are readily accepted.
Laos is a socialist state in Southeast Asia. It is the only landlocked country in the region in the heart of the Indochinese Peninsula. Laos is bordered by Myanmar and China in the northwest, Cambodia in the southeast, Vietnam in the east, and Thailand in the west and southwest.
Its capital city and largest city is Vientiane. Laos traces its historic and cultural identity to Lan Xang, a kingdom that existed from the 14th to the 18th century. Its total area is about 237 955 km2.
The estimated total population as of 2019 was 7 123 205, with a population density of 26.7 per square kilometer.
The ethnic composition of Laos is as follows: 53.2% Lao, 11% Khmu, 9.2% Hmong, 3.4% Phouthai, 3.1% Tai, 2.5% Makong, 2.2% Katang, 2.0% Lue, 1.8% Akha, 11.6% other groups including foreigners.
The official language of Laos is Lao. Other spoken languages include Hmong, Khmu, French, and English which are fast becoming popular and in demand.
Did you know? Facts about LAOS
• Public displays of affection are not recommended.
• Laos used to be called Lane Xang which translates to “the Land of a Million Elephants”.
• The landlocked country has 4000 islands at Si Phan Don which translates as the 4000 islands. It is a section of the Mekong river that divulges into many smaller waterways resulting in a huge number of islands, varying in size and shape.
• boys in Laos are expected to spend some time as a monk during which time they will live in a monastery and adhere to strict rules.
• A novice monk has only 10 major rules to follow, whereas a fully-fledged monk has 227 rules(precepts)to follow.
• Laos is home to a magical ‘crater’ lake
• Nong Fa Lake the, stunning volcanic lake found at elevated levels in the mountains of southeast Laos, is shrouded in legends, respect, and fear.
• The Vieng Xai Caves once concealed an entire city
• Home to a surprising abundance of wildlife
• The oldest modern human fossil in Southeast Asia was found in Laos
Must see places in LAOS
Vientiane- the capital city Vientiane used to be a former French trading post during the colonial period, and as a result, it has a delightful old French feel.
As you go around the town you will find a plethora of French-inspired architecture such as a version of the famous Arc de Triomphe in Paris known as Patuxai. other attractions include the sprawling local markets and temples like Wat Si Saket which is the oldest of its kind in Vientiane
Luang Prabang- this is a town that lies on the mighty Mekong and Khan rivers. The town is also known for its European style cafes located along the scenic river banks, so delightful that it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
You will also find several temples around the town. the Kuang Si Waterfalls has amazing azure cataracts with deep pools which are quite a mesmerizing sight.
Si Phan Don islands- Si Phan Don which means ‘Four Thousand Islands’ in Lao. The islands are caused by the Mekong River dispersing close to the border between Laos and Cambodia thus created these amazing islets. The islands vary in size.
Bokeo Nature Reserve- The Bokeo Nature Reserve lies outside the town of Huay Xai. it is known for its conservation work of protecting black-cheeked gibbons which were rediscovered in 1997.
In this park, you can stay in tree houses which give you a bird’s eye view of the forest canopy and swing on a zip line. besides the famous gibbons, you can also find elephants, bears, tigers, and buffalo in the park and hundreds of species of colorful avians.
About Laos's Economy
The economy of Laos is a rapidly growing lower-middle-income developing economy with an economic freedom score of 55.5, making it the 129th freest economy in the 2020 Index.
Laos has made good strides over the past twenty years, in reducing poverty, reducing malnutrition, and improving education and health. Its GDP (PPP) as of 2019 was estimated at US$58.329 billion with a Per capita of US$8,458.
Nominal GDP as of 2019 was estimated at US$20.153 billion with a Per capita of US$2,670
Laos’s GDP contribution by sector as of 2019 was as follows:
• Industry 30.91%
• Services 42.65%
• Agriculture 15.29%
Inflation in Laos is estimated at 3.3% as of 2020. Unemployment as of 2017 was estimated at 9.4% and there was an employment rate of 36.9%. Industry
Main industries in Laos include copper, tin, gold, and gypsum mining, timber, electric power, agricultural processing, rubber construction, garments, cement, and tourism.
Laos Total Exports recorded 1.6 USD billion in Sep 2020, compared with 1.2 USD bn in the previous quarter. Main export products included wood, clothing, coffee, tin, electricity, metals, corn, and rubber.
As of 2019 export partners included Thailand with a share of 41% (2.4 billion US$), China 28% (US$1.67 billion), Vietnam18.1% (US$1.05 billion), Japan 1.61% (US$93 million), India 1.55% (US$90 million), Germany 1.4% (US$81 million), Hong Kong 1.01% (US$58 million), Switzerland 1% (US$58 million) USA - US$29 million, and Italy - US$24 million. Laos Total Exports grew 5.8 % Year on Year in Sep 2020.
Laos Total Imports recorded 1.2 USD billion in Sep 2020, compared with a value of 1.2 USD bn in the previous quarter. Import products included oil, motor cars, consumer goods, and machinery and equipment. The country's most important trading partners are China (36.1%), Thailand (31.3%), and Vietnam (17.2%), as it imports mainly from Thailand (61.9%%), China (18.2%), Vietnam (10%), Japan (2.2%) and South Korea (2%).
Why Study in Laos
Opportunity to learn new languages
studying in Laos allows international students to learn any of the local dialects and other foreign languages..
Laos is a unique place beaming with several delicious cuisines. You can take time to visit some of the restaurants to try out the traditional Laotian dishes.
Students who choose to study in Laos have an opportunity to find plenty of scholarships to finance their studies. These can be from Non Governmental organizations, government, or private businesses.
Travel and tourism
there are plenty of world heritage sites and historical sites to see in Laos. Students can visit any of them to unwind on a weekend.
Scholarships in Laos
There are plenty of scholarships are available for students intending to study in Laos.
Students can apply for scholarships ranging from merit-based scholarships, sports scholarships, engineering scholarships, law scholarships, medical scholarships, medicine scholarships, athletic scholarships, art scholarships, and grants, to mention but a few.
Laos Student Visa
Visitors to Laos must obtain a visa from any of the Laotian diplomatic missions or online unless they come from one of the visa-exempt countries or qualify for a visa on arrival. All visitors must hold a passport valid for 6 months.
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