During our visit to Vientiane, Laos in July of 2010, the goals was to learn as much as we could about The Lao American College (LAC), which the Windhorse Foundation supports. Neither Don Kraft (the President of the Foundation), nor I, had ever been to the college, but we had heard wonderful things about the education that this school provides for the Lao people.
However, before we even managed to get to LAC we met one of its graduating students. We were staying at the Green Park Hotel, and we went to the front desk to ask for directions and transportation to the college. When a young man working there said, “That is where I went to college.” Don and I asked him when he graduated and he said, “I graduated this summer.” We asked him what his major was and he said business, and that it was his first day on the job. Don and I asked him what he thought of the college and he said, “It is the best school in all of LAO.”
We were very impressed with the young man’s command of the English language and his professionalism. We were given directions and provided transportation and went on our merry way. We arrived at the college and we received a warm welcome by Ms Virginia Van Ostrand co-director of LAC. She said she would like for us to tour the college first in case we had any questions. She sent one of her assistant with us.
We toured their classrooms, libraries, computer classes and study rooms. Then from Ms Van Ostrand we learned that LAC offers instruction in English, business management and computer programs. Courses are taught in Lao and English, with teachers from the UK, United States, Thailand and Australia. Ms Van Ostrand said LAC’s main goal is, “To shape productive citizens who can help to eradicate poverty and become leaders.”
Don and I were very impressed with the school, the director and its statistics. LAC has a diverse student body and at present the students are fifty (50) percent men and fifty (50) percent women. The college provides financial aid to impoverished Lao students each year, and has a seventy (70) percent graduate student success rate compared to a fifty (50) percent success rate at all other LAO colleges.
By Patricia Perez