The Covid-19 pandemic may have paused the world, but it cannot alter the passion of newcomers joining AIT. This was exhibited by the high number of the new students joining the Hybrid Orientation Ceremony for the Fall Semester 2020 on August 3, with 168 new students attending in-person at the campus and more than 200 new students from countries in Africa, Europe, Asia and North America joining online. As always, we welcomed new students with great diversity. This year, in these extraordinary circumstances, this diversity lies not only within their countries or cultures of origin but also in students’ life backgrounds, work experiences, education and, most intriguing – their “passion” which has led them to AIT.
Piyanan Pipatsitee, Thailand, Doctoral student, RS-GIS
“I am a research assistant and my goal is to become a researcher” This is the career passion that has driven Ms. Piyanan Pipatsitee to join AIT as a new doctoral student in Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems (RS-GIS) at the School of Engineering and Technology (SET). In another capacity, she is a research assistant at the National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BioTech) at Thailand’s National Science and Technology Development Agency. She has decided to take a study leave to further her career path. Ms. Piyanan said she decided to study in RS-GIS at AIT because the program can provide her with the kind of knowledge that she needs for her career. Her work at BioTech concerns ‘Precision Agriculture’, so she would like to learn about remote sensing and how technology such as satellite imagery can enhance her work. “AIT’s academic capacity is recognized worldwide, so I am very confident that I will gain a lot here. At the same time, I can improve my English skills while I am studying for my PhD because AIT is an international institute and students come from all over the world, so I can learn English and absorb the different cultures. I am sure that all these opportunities will benefit me in the future,” Ms. Piyanan added.
Ingyin Myintswe, Master’s in Environmental Engineering and Management and Zwe Yin Phyu, Master’s in Plastics Abatement, Myanmar
Two Myanmar students with great motivation to study at AIT in-person expressed how COVID-19 could not stop their passion, even though their country’s borders are still largely closed and they had to complete many procedures to arrive in Thailand. Ingyin Myintswe, a Master’s student in Environmental Engineering and Management and Zwe Yin Phyu, a Master’s student in Marine Plastics Abatement (MPA), School of Environment, Resources and Development (SERD), came to AIT together for the first time at the Orientation after they completed 14-days of quarantine. Zwe Yin Phyu revealed all the challenges they had to go through just to get to AIT. “We went through a lot, but it was worth it because we are now here pursuing quality education in-person. It is our dream to continue our education at AIT. My father’s friend is an AIT alumnus. He is a professor at a university in the USA. He also recommended me to study here,” Ingyin Myintswe added. “It was a bubbly feeling when we got a video called from the president on the last day of quarantine in Bangkok. The president said hello and talked informally to us. We felt so warm, and it was one of our heart-warming moments,” the two Myanmar students said with a big smile.
Raunak Shrestha, Nepal, Master’s in Water Engineering and Management
“I recently graduated in May 2020 from New York University Abu Dhabi and I am very excited to join the Asian Institute of Technology for my graduate studies in Water Engineering and Management. I feel that the highly contextual research being done at AIT will support my future goals to apply technical knowledge to uplift communities in my home country Nepal. The campus administration and community has been welcoming and supportive throughout my journey to transition to the campus. It is a great experience to join the globally diverse community of AIT. I am looking forward to spending the next chapter of my academic career in Thailand,” Mr. Shreshta said.
Ted Silan, Philippines, Master’s in Sustainable Energy Transition
“I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from Singapore, and I had been working as an intern at an airline company in Thailand. I am interested in environmental issues and energy, so I searched for Master’s degree programs in these subjects on Google, and AIT came up as the first search hit,” Ted Silan said. He quickly applied to AIT’s Sustainable Energy Transition program and was accepted for admission, and is supporting his studies through self-support means. After living a number of years in Thailand, Ted feels at home in AIT’s host country. He plans to use his AIT Master’s degree to pursue a career in the energy sector company in Thailand.
Patipat Wirotcheewan, Thailand, Master’s in Structural Engineering
Patipat Wirotcheewan is a fresh Bachelor’s graduate who is very proud to have been granted a prestigious Royal Thai Government Scholarship (RTG). “AIT is the only institution that I wanted to attend after I finished my undergraduate studies,” Mr. Patipat said. “My academic idols are my previous advisor, who is an AIT alumnus and Prof. Pennung Warnitchai, a professor in Structural Engineering at AIT, whose accomplishments inspired me to further my education. I have a lot of respect for their knowledge, work and research. I would like to follow in their footsteps. My goal is to become a professional in Structural Engineering. This has been my passion since I was in my third year at university.” Mr. Patipat further revealed that for him, English was the main obstacle. “Everyone knows that AIT is international, and an English score is a requirement, but I decided that I would not allow this to come between me and my passion. I spent almost a year working on my English. I went to a language tutoring school and practiced taking the IELTS tests on my own. I dedicated my weekdays and weekends for English and it worked! I was able to join AIT as a Bridging Program student where I was able to improve my English further and prepare myself for my first semester in my Master’s program.”
Summer (Seoyoung) Jang, South Korea, MBA
At the Orientation ceremony, more than 200 new students joined online. One of those was Summer (Seoyoung) Jang, a Master’s student in MBA, School of Management (SOM). She is still in her home country, South Korea, waiting for the result of her visa application. It may take a month for the entire process. Now, she is studying online, working on the visa documents and preparing herself for when she is able to arrive in Thailand. “I’d say studying at the campus would be the ideal way, but I can also see some benefits of studying online at home. I can save a lot of time for commuting and have an extra ten minutes to pour a cup of coffee before class starts!” Summer said.
"I chose AIT because it is located in the center of Thailand, but at the same time AIT provides a multiculturally diverse environment in which I feel comfortable. I expect my two years at AIT to help broaden my perspective and thoughts through knowledge gain, idea sharing and communication. I hope I can be the one who inspires others as well." Summer added.