When we face big changes, it can sometimes feel like being swept under an uncontrollable tidal wave. One XJTLU student shows us that if we can’t stop the waves, at least we can learn how to surf.
Peesapat Chareukprasopchoke, a Year Four student in BSc Information Management and Information Systems, shares his story from Bangkok, Thailand about how he overcame the challenges of distance learning and secured an internship that boosted his confidence.
Peesapat Chareukprasopchoke in Ko Samui, Thailand
For Chareukprasopchoke, coming to China wasn’t a difficult decision. “I wanted to study in Asia. Thailand and China are like brother countries, and we have a lot in common: the food, the cultures, and the way of life. China is ahead in business and technology, so I wanted to learn more about it.”
When comparing schools, he was particularly impressed with XJTLU’s international focus. “I was interested in the idea that the Chinese curriculum is interconnected with the University of Liverpool’s curriculum.”
Chareukprasopchoke came to China in 2019, and Suzhou did not disappoint him. “Life is Suzhou was really great. My Thai friends and I used to explore the city and go visit all the top attractions. It really made me fall in love with Suzhou.”
Above all, the community is what he enjoyed most. “I can barely speak Chinese, but there’s always someone willing to lend a hand. I also made a lot of international friends, Chinese friends, and Thai friends I didn't know before.”
From onsite to online
Chareukprasopchoke was in Thailand when the University announced online learning in early 2020.
At first, he enjoyed distance learning and the flexibility it provided. “It felt very convenient because I could learn or do assignments anywhere. I could eat. I could play games. I could do anything I wanted to do.”
However, after months of staying home, the novelty started to fade. “Sitting in front of my computer, attending classes, and doing assignments day in and day out… It eventually took a toll on me. I wasn’t motivated or interested in anything at all. I lost the sense of what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. I felt empty all the time.
“Some people think online learning is easy. ‘What could be more comfortable than sitting at home while getting a degree?’ They don’t realise that a university is more than a certificate; it’s about connection and community, and we lost these opportunities because of things out of our control.”
Peesapat Chareukprasopchoke in a sunflower field in Bangkok
Strategies that actually work
Despite the challenges, Chareukprasopchoke found ways to cope and adapt. “I know they sound like cliches, but they actually work for me.” Here are his tips:
“First, focus on one thing at a time. I’d put all my energy into one task, get it done, and move on. Multitasking may seem efficient at first, but you will get overwhelmed in the end.
“Second, set boundaries and go at your own pace. With online learning, there’s no separation between your studies, work, and life. Therefore, being able to separate them yourself is very important. Take time for yourself without feeling guilty about it.
“Third, make time to talk to someone. Talking to someone you can trust – even about trivial matters – can help reframe your thoughts and feelings.
“Finally, think about the future. ‘What do I want to do after I graduate? Where do I want to go? Who do I want to be in the future?’ These questions help me see positive possibilities, and remind me that things will change.
Valuable work experience
And things did change for the better.
In the first semester of Year Four, Chareukprasopchoke got an internship at Pomelo Fashion, a leading fashion brand in Southeast Asia.
He says the experience was invaluable because he worked with real data, worked on a real project, and worked like a real professional.
“As an operation performance analyst, I looked at every aspect of the company’s operations, including manufacturing, supply chain, and products. Then, the other analysts and I turned these operations into data, and analysed what could be possible in the future, or what can be done to ensure better sales in this season, or better sales of a particular product.”
Peesapat Chareukprasopchoke (far left) with his colleagues
He says the most satisfaction came from stepping in without knowing anything about the industry, yet successfully solving the tasks and completing the projects.
“My supervisor was really good, and he taught me many things. Towards the end of my internship, we would go through the inventory and check everything in our storage. He entrusted me with this project, and I was responsible for filtering and cleaning the data, implementing databases, and creating data visualisation – everything I was taught in school.
“It was a big confidence boost for me knowing that I’m capable of leading a project,” he says.
Chareukprasopchoke is graduating this summer, and can’t wait apply his knowledge to a real job in data analysis and ride the wave to wherever the future takes him.
By Xinmin Han
Edited by Patricia Pieterse
Photos courtesy of Peesapat Chareukprasopchoke