My name is Thanousone Sangthongphet or you can call me Koung (my nick name). I am very proud and happy that I was selected as a representative from Savannakhet University (SKU) to be as one of two students to study in the summer term (6 months) in Karlsruhe University of Education (KUE) in Karlsruhe, Germany, for my Master Degree in English under the support from the Erasmus+ KA107 project and Prof. Isabel Martin.
Note from the editor: Our two Lao students arriving in Karlruhe tomorrow will join 28 other international students for their 4-week German Intensive Course on Monday. It continues as a regular course in the summer term and is organised by the International Office (Ms Julia Friedl). Ms Souphansa and Mr Thanousone will take up their studies in the English Department in mid-April and stay in Germany until the end of August. At the same time, after a 2-year hiatus, our two doctoral students Ms Rebecca Dengler and Ms Miaoxing Ye are preparing to fly to Savannakhet again next week for their “Student Mobility” at SKU. Over the summer term, they will complete their research and data gathering and also teach “Academic Writing” for staff at SKU.
In May we expect our two lecturers from SKU who could not come over last spring because of the sudden lockdown, Ms Somsanouk Xayyavong (IT) and Mr Sitsanou Phouthavong (Physics) – and, last, but not least, also Mr Napha Khothphoutone (Biology), whom our readers may remember from his illuminating posts written during his first stay in Karlsruhe 3 years ago. (With a bit of luck, a new Lao doctoral student from the VEDI will come to Germany later this year, on a DAAD scholarship.)
Under the tab “Project“, in “Project phases“, you can find descriptions of our first Erasmus+ Mobility Programme “Bi-directional teaching and learning” (2018-2020) and also our new one, “Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship” (2020-2023). As we could not start our second project last April due to Covid-19, this is a new start.
About myself and be prepared for an Erasmus+ Mobility in Karlsruhe, Germany
Before I received this Student Mobility scholarship, during I was working at the Faculty of Linguistics and Humanities, I joined the Mr. David Schrep class, the first volunteer from KUE who taught us “Further Education in Didactics and Methodology, Regular Language Work, Mini-Workshop on Feedback-Methods, Student Motivation and Lesson Planning” and Ms. Rebecca Dengler class, the first PhD student from KUE taught us “Teaching Methodology”.
This is my first post which I would like to share about my preparation and about my expectations for my programme. We call this Erasmus+ “student mobility“. The program that select to study in KUE is English and I will also take a German Language course.
Let’s talk about my flight details, on the 4st of March 2022 I am taking an early flight from Wattay International Airport in Vientiane capital, Laos to Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Bangkok, Thailand then I will transfer just before midnight to the flight to Frankfurt Airport and I will arrive there around 6 a.m. on 5th March and then take a train at 9 a.m. from Frankfurt to Karlsruhe. Finally, there will be my “buddies”, Lea Lindner and Kim Hesse come and pick me up to my stay in Karlsruhe.
Let’s talk about my destination country, what I know about Germany
Compared to the other countries in Europe, I believe that Germany is one of the countries I know well. For example, when I learned about Geography, I thought that Germany has the biggest population in Europe after Russia. It is a developed country. Germany has the best economy in Europe. There are many luxury car industries such as BMW, Benz, and Porsche and so on. Germany is home of beer. German people are very organized, on time, work as a teamwork not only as an individual benefit which shows you on sports such as football, the national football team won 4 times of the World Cup championship. Germany has an excellent education system. Therefore, I do hope that I can learn, exchange with students people in Germany to pursue my skills especially my communication and speaking skills.
When I stay in Germany, of course I would take a visit to the famous site in Karlsruhe. If I have an opportunity, I would like to visit the other cities in Germany and also in other neighbor countries. I love football so I hope to see the stadium of Baryen Munich football club which is one of the best football cup in the world I know.
My documentation process and before receiving a visa
During the process, I had to prepare for the related documentation from the both sides, Germany and Laos. I had so much received facilitation and support from the International Office, Karlsruhe University of Education (KUE). They work very professionally, organized, step by step. They also found me my very kind and friendly “buddies”. We have got in touch via email and WhatsApp group and I have learned a lot with them. From our side (Laos), at the university level, my university is always helping me in all conditions but we had a little bit longer process on related documents from the Ministry level. However, due to the COVID 19 situation around the world, especially in Germany and Laos, we need to have proof of vaccination, negative test result and other conditions before entering Germany and re-enter Laos after six months of our mobility.
Let me talk a little about my background
I am holding BA in Applied English. I have been working in Savannakhet University (SKU) as a volunteer teacher since 2016. I worked at the Faculty of Linguistics and Humanities (FLH) from 2016 to 2019. I used to teach for several subjects including General English for beginners at the Departments of Japanese, Vietnamese, and French.
I taught basic grammar for year 1 students, and Lao Literature in English language for year 2 students in English Department. This means using English to speak about Lao culture, festivals, ceremonies, story and some foreign stories.
I also used be invited to teach English for students in the other faculties in SKU too.
Then in October 2019, I moved from “Faculty of Linguistics and Humanities” to the “General Affairs and International Cooperation Office”.
Due to I am holding a bachelor degree now, this is therefore I am looking for upgrading my qualification. I hope to earn credits from my mobility program in KUE in this summer 2022. On this Erasmus+ program my colleague, Ms Souphansa Inthachack form my faculty is also joining to study in KUE.
My hometown (Khammaoune Province)
Originally, I was born in Mouangsoum Village, an old village in Thakhek District, Khammoaune Province. It’s located close to the Mekong river bank in the southern part, 6 kilometers far from the central of Thakhek (main district of Khammouane).
My village has the most popular culture heritage site in Khammoaune called “That Sikhodtabong or Sikhottabong Stupa“. In this village also has a wonderful and very beautiful beach called “Moungsoum Beach”. We have very big festival and cerebration during Lao New Year’s day. There are many people from different town in Khammoane and from other provinces come and visit here.
I like playing football and badminton. I always enjoy reading and watching football and movies. I also love to listen to music in my free time
Last but not least, I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to the Erasmus plus program, KUE, SKU for giving me this very good opportunity and making my dream come true.
Can’t wait to see you Germany.
Text by T. Sangthongphet
Photos by T. Sangthongphet, S. Inthicak & S. Phanomphone