Vilayvanh Phonepraseuth, Lao PDR
Master of International Development, Massey University
Studying in New Zealand was an amazing experience. The staff were really friendly and approachable, and I studied with a great cohort of students from all over the world. My interactions with everyone broadened my understanding about development and the differences between the issues in Asia and other countries. My study gave me the opportunity to follow what I am passionate about and apply my learning and research to Laos, my home country. During my second year I travelled back home to collect data on resettlement and livelihoods restoration programs for a hydropower development project. I wanted to know how people felt about the project and how it affected their lives.
I am back in Laos working with the World Bank Vientiane Office. My role is to help coordinate work with our government counterparts and monitor the progress of projects. While there is no, “one size fits all,” best practice approach to development studies, my degree has opened my eyes to what development studies really is. I used to have a very limited and narrow idea of development, and now I’ve learned to think bigger. I’ve read more and experienced more, I’ve gained the knowledge and understanding that in order to succeed you need to be open – open to new ideas, open to what’s happening in the world around and open to flexibility.