Highly credentialed REI resident staff live year-around in Laos to train medical staff at the major hospitals in the capital city of Vientiane. Their focus is providing English language classes and tutoring to help medical students there become proficient in general and medical English. This is essential to participate in global research and lead the way for medical development in Laos.
The REI resident team has worked alongside Laotian leaders and English department faculty to lay the foundation for a
3-year medical English curriculum at the University of Health Sciences, and the REI apprentice program allows young university graduates to come from the U.S. to teach medical English for two years, or for a gap-year prior to entering medical school.
“Steam trains, printed books in schools, assembly lines” – what do all these things have in common? A recent English lesson comparing the past, present, and future included these as things that were in common use a hundred or more years ago. But in Laos, many advancements like these were only seen in the last 30 years as this country has focused on development, in terms of electricity, healthcare, transportation and education, raising standards to compete in the global marketplace more effectively.
While teaching our current English unit, Bill noticed his advanced English class of radiologists were struggling with some of the challenges their nation faces as they strive to improve and modernize.
Good Friday 2022 was a day to remember. We received an eye-opening email from Patsy Kent asking if we would consider returning to Laos for a few years. We had served with REI there before, starting in 2008 and coming home in 2012. At that time Craig and Patsy Kent were serving as REI country leaders for Laos.
Now, here we are, back in the Vientiane capitol. We arrived a couple months ago. After five weeks of orienting us to both old and new in Laos, the Kents departed, retiring and passing on to us the reigns of country leadership.