Amer­i­can Cham­ber Of Com­merce In Thai­land Foun­da­tion

Be­low is an ac­count by one of the re­cip­i­ents of the AMCHAM Thai­land Foun­da­tion’s Stu­dent Schol­ar­ship about how re­ceiv­ing the schol­ar­ship im­pacted her life’s di­rec­tion and ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties. The AMCHAM Thai­land Foun­da­tion has been pro­vid­ing schol­ar­ships

Thai-American Business (T-AB) Magazine - - Contents - Writ­ten by: Saroh Po­htae

My name is Saroh Po­htae and I re­ceived the Amer­i­can Cham­ber of Com­merce in Thai­land ( AMCHAM Thai­land) schol­ar­ship in 2012 while ma­jor­ing in English at the Fac­ulty of Humanities and So­cial Sciences at Thaksin Univer­sity in Songkhla. This was the most valu­able gift I have ever re­ceived. In ad­di­tion to pro­vid­ing me with funds to help sur­vive while at univer­sity, it gave me guide­lines on how to ac­com­plish my goals for the fu­ture. The schol­ar­ship was mean­ing­ful to my life, hopes, and dreams.

The AMCHAM schol­ar­ship was not easy to get. Stu­dents had to have a high grade point av­er­age ( GPA) and come from a poor fam­ily, pos­si­bly in a ru­ral area. Stu­dents also had to be re­spected by their teach­ers as out­stand­ing per­form­ers in or­der to ob­tain rec­om­men­da­tion let­ters.

I am from Narathi­wat Prov­ince, one of the three south­ern prov­inces which have seen a great deal of in­sur­gent vi­o­lence in the past decade. My fam­ily is large with four younger broth­ers and sis­ters. Since my par­ents di­vorced, I had been liv­ing with my grand­par­ents in a small agri­cul­tural vil­lage. Af­ter com­plet­ing sev­eral years of sec­ondary school, I did not have the fi­nances to con­tinue my ed­u­ca­tion, which was so dis­ap­point­ing. I tried my best to re­turn to school but I was un­able to do so as my sib­lings were too small, and I needed to sup­port my fam­ily. I had a dream to be the first per­son in my fam­ily to grad­u­ate with a bach­e­lor’s de­gree and find a good job to help my mother and grand­par­ents. I wanted to es­cape that hard sit­u­a­tion and change our lives for the bet­ter, to be­come a suc­cess­ful per­son and come back to help my com­mu­nity. But at that point, it was all day­dream­ing since there was no op­por­tu­nity to move for­ward. But then af­ter two years of study­ing in a re­li­gious school, the Thai govern­ment of­fered free tu­ition and a stu­dent loan, so I had the chance to at­tend a pres­ti­gious high school in my prov­ince and then go to Thaksin Univer­sity.

Al­though my fi­nances were mea­ger, my univer­sity time was awe­some and noth­ing could bring me down. I spent all my time study­ing, so I had a GPA of 3.60 which gave me one se­mes­ter of free tu­ition. I also worked part- time as a trans­la­tor and in­ter­viewer for an Amer­i­can an­thro­pol­o­gist who was study­ing the Nora her­itage in Phatthalung Prov­ince. I worked hard to save money for my se­nior year, which was re­puted to be the hard­est as it re­quired an in­tern­ship. But that in­tern­ship came with costs as I had to rent a room, and pay for trans­porta­tion and liv­ing ex­penses while in­tern­ing for four months at a five- star ho­tel in Krabi Prov­ince. Search­ing the In­ter­net, I dis­cov­ered the AMCHAM Thai­land schol­ar­ship and ap­plied, writ­ing in my es­say about my fi­nan­cial needs and life goals. Be­ing awarded the schol­ar­ship put me “over the moon.” Be­cause of this schol­ar­ship, I could com­plete my bach­e­lor’s de­gree without drop­ping any cour­ses.

CA­REER CAMP

The AMCHAM schol­ar­ship also in­cluded a Ca­reer Camp, which was the best ex­pe­ri­ence for prepar­ing me for the work­ing world. I learned many things that I would never have learned in the class­room, and I met other schol­ar­ship re­cip­i­ents from uni­ver­si­ties across the coun­try. We were wel­comed with a great din­ner party at the Dusit Thani Ho­tel in Bangkok. I never ex­pected that I would have a chance to visit a stun­ning fives­tar ho­tel and have the best food I have ever had. On top of

that, we met some of the AMCHAM schol­ar­ship re­cip­i­ents from the pre­vi­ous year, who were al­ready suc­cess­ful in their new jobs. They shared their ex­pe­ri­ences and gave us good rec­om­men­da­tions. We also vis­ited sev­eral busi­nesses who were AMCHAM mem­bers– a ho­tel, bank and law firm – which were po­ten­tial em­ploy­ers in the fu­ture. We were given a spe­cial treat­ment and taken to the top floor of the bank for a wel­come speech by the CEO.

Af­ter­wards, we were taught how to write an ef­fec­tive re­sume, dress for an in­ter­view, and make a good im­pres­sion with a po­ten­tial em­ployer, and then we had an op­por­tu­nity to prac­tice our new skills by sit­ting down for a job in­ter­view with real per­son­nel man­agers from many com­pa­nies. Some of the stu­dents ac­tu­ally got jobs as a re­sult. It was an in­cred­i­ble ex­pe­ri­ence. I learned that my knowl­edge was a tool while AMCHAM gave me in­struc­tion on how to use that tool ef­fec­tively.

It has been four years since I re­ceived the schol­ar­ship. I grad­u­ated with first class hon­ors with a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in 2012, so my dream came true. My fam­ily was very happy, es­pe­cially my grand­fa­ther who passed away two years af­ter my grad­u­a­tion. I was of­fered a per­ma­nent staff po­si­tion at the five- star ho­tel in Krabi where I did my in­tern­ship. Thanks to this po­si­tion, I could be­come a key fi­nan­cial sup­porter of my fam­ily, in­clud­ing pay­ing for the ed­u­ca­tion of my younger sib­lings. I also gave ad­vice to the vil­lage neigh­bors and chil­dren on how they could fur­ther their ed­u­ca­tions and have bet­ter lives.

I would like to take this op­por­tu­nity to sin­cerely thank all the donors and AMCHAM staff in­volved with the schol­ar­ship pro­gram for the ter­rific help and op­por­tu­ni­ties they gave me. I wish that the AMCHAM Schol­ar­ship pro­gram would con­tinue to help other stu­dents like my­self and give them hope for the fu­ture.

Saroh Po­htae is a re­cip­i­ent of the 2012 AMCHAM Thai­land Foun­da­tion Stu­dent Schol­ar­ship. She is cur­rently work­ing at Bang­pakok 9 In­ter­na­tional Hospi­tal.

The au­thor ( stand­ing) at the 2012 AMCHAM Fedex Ca­reer Camp

The au­thor ( sec­ond from left, bot­tom row) en­joy­ing a night of bowl­ing with fel­low schol­ar­ship re­cepi­ents dur­ing the 2012 Ca­reer Camp

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