A university is a nurturing ground for the new generations of a nation. At MUIC, we prepare our students for the future through our world-class curricula, modern pedagogy, and a diverse environment. More important, we provide them with a nurturing atmosphere where they can learn new knowledge, practice new skills, widen their perspective, and have the space to spread their wings. At MUIC, we tell our students that they can be the best version of themselves.
In this issue, in line with the launching of MUIC’s new series of videos, we ask our students what it means to have a helping hand on their way to becoming the best version of themselves. Let’s read about their dreams, their struggles, but more important, their triumphs.
3rd Year, Media and Communication
One of Mr. Alexander “Ty” Manoiu’s favorite pastimes is playing basketball—not surprising for someone who was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, USA, home of the legendary Chicago Bulls team. But after graduating from high school, an opportunity beckoned for him to come to his Mom’s home country, Thailand—to work as a commercial model and actor.
“I’m half-Thai and half-Romanian. I come to Thailand mostly during the summer to visit my grandma. That’s the part of Thai culture I’m more familiar with. I spent my whole life in America up until my first year of college,” he said.
Now, the young student from Media and Communication is dead serious getting as much training as he can get to become a good actor. “I really want to perfect my craft as much as I can.” And his schoolmates are taking notice especially now when he plays the lead actor in Mahidol University International College’s new video, “Be the Best Version of Yourself.” He would also soon be seen in a Thai drama series.
The future indeed looks rosy for Ty except that he admits facing struggles along the way.
“Actually, I’m going through (a struggle) right now. It’s mostly the language barrier. If we’re having a conversation in Thai, I can tell you about my whole life in Thai if I’d want to. But in this TV series, I’m playing the role of a doctor. Thai words are really hard for me to express properly. They’re medical terms in Thai,” he explained.
He said he’s trying his best to cope. “That’s one of the obstacles I’m facing right now. I have to work harder than others because I can’t read Thai either. My only way of communicating with people is by speaking to them in Thai. So, this really brings me down, in a way.”
However, he refuses to be defeated by this. “It’s one of the obstacles you have to go through. It won’t be easy. You won’t get a flowery path everywhere you go. That’s what I always say to myself.”
Even as he tries his best to portray his role, Ty said there is constant pressure within himself. “The pressure is actually from me. I really try my best with everything I do. To be the best that I can be. But every time I put too much pressure on myself, it brings me down. The people who surround me, they pretty much support and help me. All that pressure, and I’m like why can’t I do this simple task? I’m trying to read the script, why can’t I say these words?”
It is in moments like this that he appreciates his enrolling in the Media and Communication program of MUIC. “The teachers are super supportive in everything you do.”
He cited an instance when he sought advice from one of his teachers, Ajarn Kwan. “I told her about my problem, and she assured me that I can do it. She even said I can bring the script to her and she can help me with it. And she was so nice about giving me advice,” he said.
Ty added, “In her theater acting class, you have to remember at least 10 pages of script. I told myself, if I can deliver that much dialogue in front of a live audience, then it would be much easier for me to remember a page of a script in a TV drama where I can have as many takes as I can.”
He also appreciates the support he gets from his friends. Ty mentioned one of his friends named JR. “Since I can’t read Thai, I’d sometimes have problems understanding the script. I would always call JR and he’d come to my condo and help me understand the script.”
And that is the kind of nurturing environment that Ty found in MUIC. An environment that would help you to become the best version of yourself.
Ms. Darya “Dasha” Makhotkina said it was only when she and her friends joined the Hultz Prize competition over a year ago did she discover her passion and purpose in life—to be a social entrepreneur.
It all started when she combined her interest in food science and agriculture into an idea for a start-up project that would empower impoverished Thai communities through snail farming.
“The idea took off, and I became immersed into the most gratifying learning experience of my life. Over the past year, I got to collaborate with rural Thai communities, create innovative food products, and co-found my very first startup,” she said.
Ms. Siseera Kuansongtham has big plans for the future. One of these is to carry on the family business—a restaurant in Bangphli.
Just like any second-generation entrepreneurs, Siseera and her sisters assist their parents in the day-to-day operation of the restaurant which was started by their grandfather. These include bookkeeping, branding and marketing chores. They also recently added a bakery where she joins her middle sister in baking, packaging and developing the flavor of the products.
With her playing an active role in the family business, Siseera has future plans for the restaurant. “I plan to improve the restaurant with my two big sisters.”
But it’s not easy to help run a family restaurant, especially when the older and younger generations have a clash of ideas. “My mom’s siblings prefer to keep the way they run their business as they have been doing it for many years. Sometimes my sisters, Dad, and I suggest ways to improve the restaurant to my Mom. I do not want to lose this precious restaurant.”
It’s a good thing that her studies at MUIC have proven to have practical value. “Some of the courses I attend in MUIC help me to understand more about the culinary business, like safety rules in cooking or better ways of serving food or the scientific basis behind the cooking of food. These will be useful for our restaurant in the future.”
Her teachers and friends in college are also her support system. “My ajarns are compassionate, helping me overcome my anxiety and encouraging me to try my best in writing.”
“My friends are always there for me to listen to my problems and inspire me to do something I have never thought of, like enrolling in my major’s Chinese Language concentration.” Her friends also support her family business by helping to review and advertise their bakery’s sweets on their social media accounts.
Siseera may still be molding the best version of herself but she can count on MUIC, her teachers and friends to be able to achieve her dreams.
As a young Indian who grew up attending many weddings, Ms. Rushitha Jain told herself earlier on that she wants to start her own business in the Indian wedding industry. “I understand the culture and can really put my experience and knowledge to use. Weddings are one of the most important events in a couple’s life. I want to help in creating a memorable event of the couple’s bond on their wedding day.”
To be able to one day start a business that is also environmentally sustainable, Rushitha had been busy not only in her studies in the Travel and Service Business Entrepreneurship program but also in extra-curricular activities.
She participated in contests like the UNWTO Student Leagues’ competition. In her third year, she joined the Sign Language Club and became part of the project management team. She is also a member of the THM Student Ambassadors. “I am gaining experience and learning from everything which will most definitely help me reach my dream.”
One area that she found herself struggling though is communication. As an Indian growing up in Thailand, she encountered language and cultural barriers. “Due to the language barrier, I was barely involved in group discussions and I couldn’t express myself properly back then.”
That was the turning point. Her friends, seeing her predicament, helped her much. “My friends gave me advice and I learned a lot about leadership skills as well. Working in many group projects with different people has helped me understand different personalities,” she said.
Up to now, she continues to improve her Thai language skills because “I understand it is very important to know the language of the country one is living in.”
Now she is constantly inspired by her friends, prompting her to push herself out of her comfort zone and continue exploring new areas of knowledge and experience. “I got inspired seeing my friends grow and take on leadership positions. I need to gain more skills to reach my goals as well. Hence, I started joining more extra-curricular activities.”
The road to one’s dream may be fraught not only with challenges but also with self-doubts. Ms. Permporn “PingPing” Parksripanich clearly knows what she wants and is also realistic enough to work hard to reach her goals.
She is intent on becoming an interior designer someday. And in her dream, it doesn’t only involve designing and drawing…but the entire package. “I want to oversee the design of living areas from start to finish. These include sketching various design plans, determining costs, and sourcing materials and products for the designs,” she said.
Aside from involving herself with a lot of extra-curricular activities to learn more, she’s also active in the Art Club where she is the Secretary and assists in coming up with ideas for club activities. “It is similar to a real-world job where you cater to people’s tastes.”
Her work in the club gives her the chance to learn not only about her passion, “which are drawing, painting, and basic sculpture,” but also “to improve myself, help me learn a sense of responsibility, time management, and social skills.”
Despite this, her greatest fear is that she might fall short of reaching her dream. “My worry is that I might not have enough knowledge to reach my dream. I don’t have much prior work experience in design. I feel I should learn every process needed to do this job well.”
To address this, she turns to her ajarns to learn more. “My ajarns provide me with guidance. They are willing to answer my questions. They support me and help me gain confidence.”
Her friends, classmates, and seniors also share their own experiences with her. “Some of my friends have started their own small businesses. They show me how they overcome problems. I always listen to their advice.”
For Permporn, creating the best version of herself is still a continuing process, but she is confident that she will eventually reach her dreams.
The ultimate career goal for Mr. Sutanmit “Mit” Sutadwanich is to have his own successful restaurant someday. It’s not only about offering the best dishes in town but the total package—including ensuring that the customers are happy and satisfied with the service. “I love to see the smile of customers after getting a good service,” he said.
That is why Sutanmit is focusing not just on his major but is also busy with extracurricular activities to gain more skills. Recently, he joined the THM Ambassadors—students tasked in carrying out public relations duties for the THM Division.
He is also the Treasurer of the Theatre Club. In that position, Sutanmit is learning firsthand the importance of accounting and managing the club’s budget. He is also active in the club’s behind-the-scenes activities. “Involvement in the Theatre Club’s activities teaches me valuable lessons in human resources, operations and post-event evaluation.”
With his myriad of activities, it is inevitable that he encounters challenges especially in the area of teamwork. “Sometimes there’s friction, but it’s understandable because we all come from different backgrounds,” he explained.
And how was he able to address that issue? Based on what he has learned so far from his classroom studies and club experience, he said he needed to make all members be on the same page, so to speak, to ensure a smoother teamwork. “I needed to get all the team members to be in agreement so that reaching our goals would be easier. I had to spend some time with them and explain the need for us to work well together.”
He credits his teachers and friends for his growing maturity not only as a student but as a leader. “They inspire me to reach for the greater good both for myself and the community. They point out to me ways to improve myself.”
Despite his experience and his accomplishments, however, one crucial obstacle remains: His fear of public speaking.
“Being an introvert makes it hard for me to communicate to a large group of people. I often feel nervous when I am about to speak before a group of people,” he said.
One incident comes to his mind: His group’s class presentation. “I was really nervous, my hands were shaking and I had to run up and down the stairs before the event to get rid of my tension.”
When his turn to speak came, everything seemed to fall apart. After speaking in front of the class for a minute, he suddenly forgot what he was going to say. He felt blood drain from his face and he started to sweat profusely. “I thought I was going to faint until one of my group mates touched my shoulder and nodded to me. At that moment, I found the courage to continue on with the presentation.”
He said this and other incidents were the turning point for him. “There are a lot of people that I am thankful for because they helped me throughout these challenges. Firstly, my group of friends in MUIC. I could always go to them for their valuable feedback. Secondly, my ajarns, specifically, Aj. Kurniati and Aj. Natanaree, as they both help me face my struggles,” he said.
Mr. Titipat “Junior” Wanlopbanhan wants to be a diplomat and a teacher in the future. “I dream of becoming a diplomat so I could utilize diplomatic negotiation in resolving conflicts. I also have a passion to teach—I want to share the knowledge that I have accumulated to help improve other people’s quality of life.”
He prepares himself for these two dreams by engaging in numerous student activities. “Studying hard is not enough.”
However, just like everyone else in the past two years, Apitta was hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdowns.
“The almost two-year online classes were the most challenging. It was extremely hard to adapt as communication design courses are studio-based involving hands-on work so it seems impossible and exhausting to study them online.
I was so worried about my future career—that I won’t get enough skills to get a job, that I wouldn’t have connections or friends from other majors.”
Thanks to her friends, she was able to cope well. A year into online classes, she joined a group of friends in doing their individual projects together in a café. “We gave feedback to each other to improve our work. Even though it’s my project, it’s actually the work of everyone because, without their comments, I wouldn’t have been able to execute it into the best version.”
Her ajarns also helped her. “During online classes, they always encouraged and pushed me forward. They sympathized with me during my hard times and tried their best to help. Even if it’s just a word of encouragement, that’s enough for me to continue fighting.”
The atmosphere of openness in MUIC also helped her express herself more. “As a creative individual, I’m free to dress in any clothes I feel comfortable which allows me to be myself. As a result, since there are no boundaries, I could still improve to be the best version of myself for both practical skills and my core identity.”
Ms. Piriyada “Gift” Limprapat is not just a student in the Business Administration Division (majoring in Finance)—she is also a hardworking entrepreneur. By the time she was 20 years old, she had already established her own business—selling brand name bags and accessories via online platforms like Instagram.
However, running a business while still studying is indeed difficult.
And that was her turning point, when business and studies both demanded for her attention all at once. “Both can be hard to manage. Sometimes, I have to wake up at 8.00 a.m. to mail the packages to customers and then work on my term projects until midnight. When there is a heavy workload, I get tired and do not have enough energy left to study. My grade continually went down and I started to realize what was happening.”
To deal with this predicament, Piriyada had to manage her time well. “I balanced my working hours and study time and tried my best to keep thinking positively—that I can do it. I always told myself that successful people are not lazy, that they will keep finding time for study and work, learn from their mistakes and eventually achieve the success they have today.”
Her close friends and teachers at MUIC also saved her from her predicament.
“My friends share with me their lecture notes and help me in reviewing lessons that I have missed. When we have to work in a group, we help each other figure out what we are struggling with. If I don’t know what to do, I could ask my ajarn for suggestions on how to catch up. Our ajarn also provides a Q&A session for students on the MUIC e-learning website so we can catch up in class.”
Their support was so crucial that not only has Piriyada managed to balance her studies and business, she even went on to win the “From Gen Z to CEO” Award last year.
Mr. Wattanai “Jam” Amornsirikul
4th Year, Marketing (minoring in Psychology)
Mr. Wattanai “Jam”Amornsirikul’s answers to this series of interviews can be one of the most unconventional. He claims he has no dream job or anything. For him, only one thing is important: “My only goal in life is to be the happiest person.”
Wattanai explained that “I found out that one thing that could make me happy is sharing. I am always happy to give what I have to people, n ot only physical things but happiness and positive thoughts as well.”
He found the Volunteer Club to be a very effective channel. Joining in his first year in MUIC, he eventually became its President two years later. “Every time I finish a club activity, my happiness and mental health are at their peak. I always look forward to the next activities. The club is full of positivity which brings me happiness.”
The Covid-19 epidemic, however, lessened the opportunities for him to reconnect with his friends on a face-to-face basis in the past two years. “I could not meet my friends in person because I am worried that I might bring the virus to my family. We meet sometimes on Zoom, but it is different. I somehow do not feel as fulfilled as I used to.”
Still, he and his friends from MUIC still try their best to find ways to communicate with each other despite the lockdowns. And with the widespread vaccinations and the subsequent reopening of the college, Wattanai is optimistic that he and his friends from MUIC will meet again and find happiness in the face of any challenges.
“My friends are my biggest supporters. These friendships bring me happiness. Sometimes I only need to meet them to recharge my positive energy and get ready for tough things in everyday life.”
For Ms. Wanutcha “Soon” Lorpaiboon, the path to one’s dream can veer slightly. She enrolled in the Chemistry program in MUIC thinking she would be working in an industrial laboratory when she graduates—mixing chemicals or coming up with new formulas. She did end up working in a laboratory—but in academia “and my research involves setting up simulations on the computer as opposed to physically mixing chemicals.”
She was an achiever during her stay in MUIC, but she had to really work hard to reach her dream. “Getting involved in research as a student at MUIC had the biggest impact on my career choice after graduation. Many ajarns gave me the opportunity to contribute to their research ideas, be an author in their publications, and present our findings at national and international conferences. Participating in extra-curricular activities such as business case competitions, debate, volunteering, and the Science Society Club connected me to people and developed my public speaking and management skills.”
Success breeds success, as they say. However, it was not as easy as anyone would expect. “I had said ‘yes’ to multiple research projects and pushed myself to take on a heavy study load. When deadlines began to overlap, time management became an issue. For one of the research projects, we had to submit a progress report to the funding agency. The deadline happened to be right before finals week when assignments were also due. This situation was the consequence of my actions and I felt down.”
It was in such moments of struggle that MUIC’s support network came to her rescue. “My ajarns and friends were very understanding and supportive. I especially appreciated that they did not compromise the quality of the work simply because we were rushed. I committed myself to these projects and classes, so I am glad they encouraged me to be responsible and see them through. It would have been much more difficult to get involved in anything apart from my studies had it not been for my ajarns, friends, and family.”
Indeed, these experiences helped Wanutcha form the best version of herself, ultimately preparing her for new challenges she would face in graduate school.
Mr. Natakorn Ulit entered MUIC at the time when he was exploring every facet of the arts. He was very much into acting and scriptwriting as he was with drawing, in general, and animation, in particular. In the end, he sustained his passion for comic writing which was, in fact, nurtured even back when he was just a young boy.
During his formative years, the one thing that plagued him was his lack of self-confidence. He said he always felt that what he was doing was not good enough.
Good thing that he found a caring community in MUIC. His ajarns in the Fine and Applied Art Division gave him exposure to a variety of art forms. He attended art exhibitions, polished his skills in drawing in workshops and on the side even tried his hand at music by joining the Choir Club.
“My ajarns supported me in my search for my identity. They never compared me with others. They saw my artwork as a reflection of who I really am which encouraged me to feel much more confident,” he said.
He also found support among his friends. “Friends have an important role in my life. In MUIC, we are not just friends but family. Stories of this big and loving family became a valuable part of my work,” he said.
It is within the caring confines of MUIC that Natakorn found the refuge he needed to develop his artistic skills and philosophy in life and eventually create the best version of himself.
While in college, Ms. Supisara “Supis” Premkamommas felt like a square peg in a round hole. All her life she wanted to become an artist. But since MUIC back then had no fine arts program, she settled for the closest thing to her interest—Marketing.
“I was not very talented, academically speaking. I spent 4.5 years to finish my bachelor’s degree—my friends finished theirs in four years,” she said.
Her safe place had always been art and design. “I love drawing, painting, making costume jewelry, collecting magazines and packaging, etc. Enjoying my hobbies were ways to escape from the academic world at that time. However, I liked marketing and social studies. I also joined the Art Club and Photo Club, enabling me to nurture my creativity.”
Supisara said her friends helped her pull through during those days. “The support and guidance of my friends were the most important to me at the time. They accepted me for what I am. Some of my friends introduced me to the world of art, photography, film and music. Many of them bought the costume jewelry I was making and even helped me sell them to their families. The sales helped supplement my tuition. MUIC gave me the best friends I’ve ever had in my life.”
Other influences in her life were her ajarns who introduced her to the world of art and design. “They made me feel that my hobbies and skills were really good. They helped build my self-esteem.”
Supisara eventually joined the advertising industry where she later became the group account director of an advertising agency. But the call of the art muses was really strong. Fifteen years after she graduated from MUIC, Supisara decided to quit her full-time job in advertising and became a full-fledged artist. She now has her own art studio called Supis Studio.
“Lower income, different social status, a new world but definitely a happier and more peaceful world. I finally found my place under the sun,” she said.
1. “The Best Version of Yourself”
Based on true events that happened in the lives of several successful MUIC alumni, this video tells the story of a young MUIC student who helps his father save their bookshop business from bankruptcy. He was successful through the assistance of his teachers, classmates and friends at MUIC. Mr. Alexander Ty Manoiu, a Media and Communication student who is featured in the cover story in this issue, plays the lead role as the dutiful son.
2. “Global Society”
This video emphasizes the world-class international education and diverse environment offered by MUIC to its students, giving them the support they need to reach their dreams.
Coming soon in MUIC’s YouTube channel!
This video offers a light-hearted take on the majors offered by MUIC. Students can take their pick from among science, arts and business programs that appeal to their preferences and interests.
Coming soon in MUIC’s YouTube channel!