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Two-time Chinese scholarship awardee shares his experiences

"Ever since I heard about the Chinese Government Scholarship when I was in Mor 5 (Grade 11), my goal was to get one,” said 26-year-old Chinese Government Scholarship holder, Mr Novalee Sayaxang.

True to his promise, Mr Novalee got a Chinese Government Scholarship in 2008, to pursue a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery at Guangxi Medical University, China.

Mr Novalee attends the 1st China-ASEAN Health Cooperation Forum in Guangxi, China.

Most people know that getting a scholarship is not easy. It takes a lot of effort, time and commitment. In order to make his goal come true, Mr Novalee underwent a two-year preparation period by attending extra mathematics and physics classes.

Mr Novalee shared his attitude and approach to studying with Vientiane Times. In his opinion, hard work is the key to becoming a great student.

“Many younger students have told me that no matter what they do or how much they learn, they don't improve. But I don't believe that's true,” Mr Novalee said.

“There's no such thing as not achieving when you're hardworking. It's only that you're not hardworking enough. To master something, a lot of practice and time is needed,” he explained.

“When those students asked me: how can I become someone who likes studying? My answer is, you need to start studying. Do it all the time until it becomes a habit. When it becomes a habit, it will gradually become a part of your personality.”

The Chinese Government Scholarship, which supports bachelor, master's and PhD degrees, is open for applications from January to April each year.

This full scholarship covers tuition fees, accommodation, medical insurance and a monthly stipend. More information can be found on the China Scholarship Council's website, www.csc.edu.cn or the Ministry of Education and Sports, the sending partner.

Mr Novalee studied for a bachelor degree over a period of six years including one year of Chinese language study and one year of professional internship.

After his graduation in 2014, he returned to Laos and worked at Luang Prabang Hospital for 10 months as a surgeon's assistant.

“My real work experience was very different from the internship. I was scared of the responsibility that I had to bear. I felt I didn't have enough experience or knowledge to diagnose and treat patients. Human life is not a joke,” said Mr Novalee.

Mr Novalee said that while working in the health sector was certainly scary and tiring, was also very rewarding. He got to save many people's lives during the course of his work. In particular, there is one case which he cannot forget.

“That day, I got an emergency call about a husband and wife who were fighting. I drove the ambulance at full speed to the restaurant where they were. The wife was lying on the ground in a pool of blood. Her right wrist was injured; her back and head were stabbed. I counted at least 10 knife stabs. She was still alive but barely conscious. I thought she wouldn't make it,” Mr Novalee said.

In the end, the woman was taken to hospital and the doctors were able to stop her blood loss in time. After a week, she was released. Mr Novalee said the event left him shaken but glad that a life had been saved.

To Mr Novalee, doctors must update their knowledge all the time because diseases are always evolving. If doctors do not keep themselves up to date, they will not have the knowledge to cure patients. So he decided to apply to do a Master's in Surgery at Guangxi Medical University.

In 2015, Mr Novalee obtained another Chinese Government Scholarship to fulfill his thirst for knowledge.

While he was in his second year of the master's degree, Mr Novalee attended the 1st ASEAN-Chinese Cooperation Forum in October 2016, as a representative of a Lao traditional medicine brand.

“The forum was mainly about the exchange of knowledge between Asean countries and China through presentations. It contained traditional medicines and dentistry sections among others,” Mr Novalee said.

Apart from the exchange of knowledge, this forum was a platform that linked countries together to establish an international network and connection. It created an opportunity for future cooperation between countries.

After his expected graduation in 2018, Mr Novalee's goal is to work for the Lao government.

“While I was working in Luang Prabang, I was extremely sad to see many patients who were in need but did not have money to pay for the treatment,” Mr Novalee said.

He would like to work in a government hospital because he believes the costs are more affordable for patients. His wish is for the health service to be accessible to everyone.

“I will go anywhere the country needs me,” Mr Novalee said.


By SThipphaphone Channavong
(Latest Update January 14, 2017 )

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