My life-changing journey from Thailand to Australia, and back

Being born into a poor farming family and growing up in a rural area in southern Thailand, I never thought I would have an opportunity to travel abroad. Before I heard of AusAid, the fully-funded scholarships by the Australian Government for students from regional Thailand during the mid-1990s, my dream about the future was never anything bigger than having an ordinary job in my small hometown after getting a bachelor’s degree from a local university.

I applied for an AusAID scholarship as soon as I was informed of the opportunity. I went through all the screening tests and all the required application processes, and was finally awarded a fully-funded scholarship to study an undergraduate course at an Australian university.

With my Australian host family

With my Australian host family

Receiving an AusAid scholarship was just the beginning of my life-changing journey. My first few years as a foreign student was not as smooth as expected. I struggled a lot with both the different culture and the English language. As a result, my academic performance at my first university in Australia was less than satisfactory, and I was very nervous that I might have to come back to Thailand empty-handed.

With new friends in Melbourne CBD

With new friends in Melbourne CBD

However, I was very fortunate to be given another opportunity to study in Australia. This time, studying a bachelor’s degree at Deakin University. I finally found subjects of my true interest and I am forever grateful for that second opportunity. With lessons learnt from my previous course at the first university, I realised that I would have to do my absolute best at Deakin, not only for myself and my family, but also for my kind sponsor who did not give up on me.

Working on a final-year project

Working on a final-year project

Working on a final-year project

The course structures at Deakin are very well organised. The unit guidelines helped me tremendously, to plan my study throughout the semesters. My attention was focused on studying and I devoted my time to attending lectures, working on the assignments and projects well ahead of the due dates. My efforts were not in vain. My academic results at Deakin were satisfactory and I managed to graduate with a bachelor’s degree within the timeframe allowed by the AusAid programme.

My degree equipped me with a very strong academic foundation in the technology field. All the assignments from my degree undoubtedly enhanced my analytical skills because some assignments involved long, complex and intricate calculations, as well as applications of theories in real-world practice. Participating in many extracurricular activities during my years at Deakin has also improved my self-esteem and self-confidence.

Participating in many extracurricular activities during my years at Deakin has also improved my self-esteem and self-confidence.

At the Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus

At the Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus

After graduating from Deakin, I joined the Thai Customs department when Bangkok’s new international airport, Suvarnabhumi Airport, was opened almost 10 years ago. I passed the screening tests and became a new customs officer – one of the few chosen applicants out of over 100,000 people applicants at that time.

As a customs officer, my main duties include inspecting imported cargos. Inspecting a variety of products imported into the country is a very challenging task, however, the skills I learnt at Deakin has helped me to understand and examine the products effectively. The lessons I’ve learnt from my studies at Deakin and my experience living in Australia has definitely helped with my career.

The lessons I’ve learnt from my studies at Deakin and my experience living in Australia has definitely helped with my career.

At Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport

At Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport

Customer service skills is also very important in my job because we serve a lot of customers from different nationalities each day. Having spent a few years with international friends at Deakin, it has become my nature to be friendly and to approach people with an open mind. My English skills have also been a very important factor for my good performance and continuous career growth as a customs officer at a big international airport.

On duty as a customs officer

On duty as a customs officer

With my bachelor’s degree from Deakin, together with my good performances at work, I have received a great opportunity for postgraduate studies overseas. I have been awarded another fully-funded scholarship from the Thai Customs department to take a master’s degree in the field of operations research, which is essential in promoting improved operations and services provided at the Customs department. I have confirmed my enrolment at a university in the UK, where I will go for my master’s degree next year. Without my bachelor’s degree, my experiences living in such diverse cultural settings, and all the lessons learnt during my years at Deakin and Australia, I wouldn’t have this day.

For further information about studying at Deakin and to view the many degrees on offer, visit our international student page

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