Lao trainees attend the Chinese language class at Confucius Institute of National University of Laos in Vientiane, Laos, July 15, 2020. The first group of trainees for China-Laos railway's operation are studying hard in the intensive Chinese language and professional railway theory training in Lao capital Vientiane, with hopes for a bright future of their career and life. (Photo by Kaikeo Saiyasane/Xinhua)
by Chanthaphaphone Mixayboua, Zhang Jianhua
VIENTIANE, July 17 (Xinhua) -- The first group of trainees for China-Laos railway's operation are studying hard in the intensive Chinese language and professional railway theory training in Lao capital Vientiane, with hopes for a bright future of their career and life.
Twenty-three-year-old Somphone Inleuangsy from northern Laos' hilly Luang Namtha province told Xinhua on Wednesday that she wanted to be the first female train driver in the country's first modernized railway.
"I'm always interested in railway and I think women can work in this field too, so I decided to apply for this job," said Somphone.
Somphone said she had learned Chinese before, but this time she has to learn the language involving railway terminologies, which is completely new for her.
"There are so many technical words and not easy to understand. This training is very important to me," she added.
Somphone said the railway is an exciting place to work, which provides real benefits and great opportunity. "I wish I could work here as long as I can," she said.
A total of 233 trainees are receiving the training at Confucius Institute of National University of Laos (NUOL). They are learning to be train drivers, engine mechanics, train operators, and supervisors of railway maintenance.
All of the trainees were selected by the Laos-China Railway Co., Ltd (LCRC), a joint venture based in Lao capital Vientiane.
Somphone said the job with the LCRC is important to her, through which she can fulfil her dream and take care of her family.
"I feel grateful that I was selected in the first group, and I'm glad to be a part to help improving the country," she added.
Since the LCRC launched the recruitment of the Lao trainees for the railway operation on Feb. 27, the company has selected the first batch of trainees for the four-phase training, including Chinese language, professional railway theory, on-site practical training in China's Kunming and specific pre-job skill training.
Another 24-year-old Lao youth from Xieng Khuang province on central Laos' plateau, Somboun Tualavong, told Xinhua that he wanted to work in the railway for life since it is a great opportunity.
"I'm so proud of myself that I can get this opportunity. It's exciting to be a part of China-Laos railway," he said.
Somboun added that working in the railway isn't just a job but a chance to have a bright future.
"I am working hard to become the qualified staff of the China-Laos railway, which will have a satisfactory salary and welfare then I can improve my livelihood and meet my family needs," said Somboun.
"Another reason that I want to work here is the company offers the necessary support and training, so I can always improve my skills," he said.
Somboun felt thankful to have this training since he does not have any experience in the railway sector.
The ongoing intensive Chinese language class will last for 10 weeks at the Confucius Institute, and the follow-up selection of the second and third groups of 600 trainees has started, which is expected to be completed in July.
"We are leaning new words, mostly technical words and railway theory. It's hard to understand but I am willing to learn new things," said Somboun.
The professional railway training is very useful and it is even better when the trainees can learn from Chinese teachers, Somboun added.
Qin Yanhong, a Chinese teacher with the NUOL Confucius Institute, told Xinhua that she and her colleagues not only try to improve the trainees' language level, but also try to equip them with professional railway knowledge.
"It is also a challenge for us to learn (railway knowledge) before (teaching) the trainees, but we are trying to make the start a success," said Qin, adding that the railway is a link between the two countries and a good start is important.
Director of Confucius Institute in the NUOL Yonvilay Xayyalerd encouraged all trainees to study hard, hoping them to seize this opportunity to gain railway expertise.
The China-Laos Railway is a strategic docking project between the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and Laos' strategy to convert from a landlocked country to a land-linked hub.
The 422-km railway, with 198-km tunnels and 62-km bridges, will run from Boten border gate in northern Laos, bordering China, to Lao capital Vientiane with an operating speed of 160 km per hour.
The electrified passenger and cargo railway is built with the full application of Chinese management and technical standards, with its construction starting in December 2016 and scheduled to be completed and operational in December 2021. Enditem