Sunday , April 14 2024

From Laos beauty queen to Vietnamese university student

Minh Khuê

Xanita Savengxok, the second runner-up in the 2019 Miss World Laos pageant, is a final-year student at the University of Transport Technology, studying logistics and multimodal transport.

Xanita (centre) with university students during the university’s admission photography session. — Photo courtesy of University of Transportation Technology.

She was born in the Lao Capital in 2000.

After becoming second runner-up in the Miss World Laos competition in September 2019, rather than going straight into the entertainment industry, she chose to study aboard in Việt Nam.

It was not a whimsical decision – she had dreamed of going to Việt Nam and studying at a university there since she was young. 

And, as one grows older, the goals become more focused, and it was no different for her.

She spent a great deal of time learning about Việt Nam, its people and culture before making her move. 

Seeing the potential in Việt Nam’s transportation sector and possible collaboration with it at home, Xanita wanted to join the University of Transport Technology. 

She first studied Vietnamese at T78 Friendship High School in Phú Thọ Province for a year.

In 2020 she became a student of the University of Transport Technology. 

When she first came to Việt Nam, she missed home so much and cried constantly, she says. The homesickness was exacerbated by a daily battle to communicate in Vietnamese.

But that time passed swiftly as her friendly and welcoming classmates helped her overcome the language barrier. 

“The lecturers always helped the Laotian students get by in class and life. They supported me not just in my academic work and Vietnamese language skills, but also in my day-to-day activities.”

Xanita wears the Vietnamese traditional dress áo dài given by her Vietnamese adoptive mother. — Photo courtesy of Xanita Savengxok.

Gradually gaining confidence, Xanita participated in the 2019 Hà Nội Friendship Ambassadors for Peace competition for foreign nationals living and working in the city. 

She won the title of Best Face in the competition for her charisma and confidence. 

She was not very fluent in Vietnamese at the time, but her mentors in the competition helped her learn the language and communicate with the other participants.

It helped her make some everlasting friendships.

“The international participants and organisers are like my brothers and sisters – they have always supported me wholeheartedly.

“It has been four years since I participated in the competition, but I still stay in touch with them and we still hang out. They constantly encourage me.”

During her five years in Hà Nội, she has received warm affection from locals and gained a deeper understanding of their customs and traditions.

“My time spent studying here has been amazing since I have had the chance to see the city’s tourist attractions, distinctive culture and cuisine.”

She is a regular participant in cultural and entertainment events and is often on the jury for children’s competitions like Supermodel Kid and The Face Kid.

She also takes part in fashion shows, proudly wearing the áo dài (Vietnamese traditional dress).

Xanita and other Laos students cheer for Laos national football team during SEA Games 31 in 2022 at Thiên Trường stadium, Nam Định Province. — Photo courtesy of Xanita Savengxok.

Xanita has been travelling to various cities to experience different cultures.

During the SEA Games 31 in 2022, she headed to Nam Định province to support the Laos football team.

She thought maybe a few Laotian students would be supporting her country’s team, but, much to her surprise, many of the Vietnamese spectators in the stadium also cheered for them and waved the Laotian flag.

Seeing Vietnamese fans preparing flags, banners and shirts bearing the Lao national flag, she felt a rush of emotion. 

“The warm hospitality of the Vietnamese people as well as the nation’s sporting spirit deeply affected me. Truly, Việt Nam is my second home.”

Talking about the next chapter in her life — life after graduation — she says she will return to Laos and pursue a career as a railways specialist and help develop the transportation sector in her home country.

“I will take the experience and knowledge I have gained in Việt Nam to develop my homeland.”

But she also plans subsequently to return to Việt Nam to obtain a master’s degree. – VNS

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