Chonlada Damrongkitkanwong (Jane), from Thailand, found her experience of studying in New Zealand so valuable that she wanted her little sister to share the same experience.
Thamowan Temsawat (Bam), 14, had been offered a scholarship at a school in London, but Jane convinced their parents to instead send Bam to live with her host family and attend her school, Southland Girls’ High School in Invercargill.
I recommended New Zealand to Bam because it is safe and because I knew she would do well here.
The relaxed pace of life in Invercargill gave Jane time to develop new interests, including snowboarding and baking. Host mother Carolyn Davies says she came to regard Jane as her “Thai daughter”.
After three years in Invercargill, Jane studied at Victoria University in Wellington before completing a Master of International Business in Boston, Shanghai and London.
At 24, Jane was accepted into a management trainee programme at Unilever in Bangkok. She was younger than many other applicants, and attributes the English language skills and maturity she gained in New Zealand for helping her to win a place on the prestigious programme.
Two years on, Jane left Unilever to launch her own import/export business in Phuket.
Studying in New Zealand taught me to think differently - to think outside the box. You get to explore your own ideas and be creative with your thinking.