Embracing a new culture

I was born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand, but left home when I was fifteen to study at college in Wellington, New Zealand. Like most international students, I experienced a culture shock when I arrived. Everything was different from home, from the food to the people. Weirdly enough, my biggest culture shock was on my first day at school where I was surprised that students had to change rooms for different classes. In Thailand, it’s different as we stay in our form rooms for the whole day.

After two months, I began enjoying making new friends and learning new traditions. I started to get used to the culture and began to do things that I’d never done before. Even though I was raised in Thailand, I felt as though I grew up and matured in New Zealand where I began to think about what I wanted in life. I didn’t have my family with me in New Zealand which somehow made me more independent and made me focus on myself. I also have New Zealand to thank for my skill in English as it certainly got me where I am right now.

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While I began to think about where I wanted to go for universities, I owe my mother for suggesting I go to the UK for university, as I was considering going to the US instead. It was at the university in the UK where I found my friends for life and also my partner.

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For my fellow internationals, you may sometimes feel as though you’re stuck in between two cultures because you have adapted yourself to fit into both environments. You will, however, in time get over this sensation as you naturally adapt back to your home surrroundings. One of the things that I’ve learned from moving between different countries is down to you to choose what you adopt from one culture as it makes you grow as a person. You pick up things that work for you and omit anything that doesn’t suit you. Most importantly, you should never forget where you come from as it is the foundation of who you are as a person.

 

Getting my career started

Going back in time, I would never have thought that I would be working in the broadcast industry. In 2014, I graduated from the University of Surrey with a degree in BA Media Studies.

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Like mot recent graduates, I tried to look for a job straight away. It wasn’t easy especially as I was looking for a job in a foreign country, with issues of visa and and a lack of familiarity of the environment. Luckily, I had also applied for a job as a current affairs journalist at a Thai broadcast channel called Now26, which I eventually got.

In my interview, my future boss asked me if I would be interested in working on screen as well as writing. Admittedly at that point, I had little to no interests in being a television presenter as it wasn’t a career that I grew up wanting to be in.

When I was young, I always wanted to be a writer and never saw myself as a talker, let alone on screen. At the age of 21, I was the youngest member of the news presenters, so I didn’t have a lot of experience going into the job. Before hosting a show for the first time, I had to wait for three months before I was given the opportunity.

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A tip for anyone wanting to get into tv presenting, be patient and go out and get stories, your opportunities will come in time. Don’t feel like your boss is ignoring your potential, but you do have to prove yourself.

Billie Holiday – The lady who sings the blues

I can’t remember exactly when I first heard Billie’s music, but her art has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I remember my father playing ‘God Bless the Child’ on his old Vinyl records on Sunday afternoons when I was younger.

To me, music is one of the best things in life. It is something that is appreciated by many, yet everyone has their own taste and interpretation.

Although Billie wasn’t your conventional role model due to her heroin addiction and even imprisonment for narcotics, her music touches many, including myself, and it is something to be celebrated as a wonderful thing the world has offered us.

Aung San Su Kyi – The peacekeeper

There is no greater title in the world for this remarkable woman who spent 15-years under house arrest in her Rangoon house to fight for Burmese citizens’ freedom and human rights. Aung San has devoted most of her life to Burma’s freedom and sacrificed the chance to be with her husband and children in the UK. Aung San’s loyalty to Burma and fierce love for her compatriots is immensely inspirational, especially as she gave up her own happiness in exchange for a better world.

Natalie Portman – The modern day woman

Portman has been one of my biggest inspirations since I first watched her performance in the film ‘Leon: The Professional’. There is something magical about Mathilda, the character she portrays, perhaps a perfect combination of innocence and boldness. Portman was only eleven when she was casted as Mathilda.

Since then, she has become one of the most accomplished actresses within the industry. While asked whether she would give up university to pursue her acting career in an interview with the New York Post in 1999, Portman replied “I’m going to college. I don’t care if it ruins my career. I’d rather be smart than a movie star”.

Her dedication to education while pursuing a career in acting is truly inspirational as many perceive a career as superior to education. As someone who believes in education , I find Portman’s drive to learn a sigh of relief in what is a job driven world.