Thiraphat Meesumrarn, from Thailand, is a PhD student majoring in computer science and engineering at the University of North Texas.
Why did you decide to study in the USA?
I am in the computer and technology field. When I think about the country leading in computer and technology, the only one country in my mind is USA.
Why did you choose the University of North Texas?
The University of North Texas (UNT) has more than 1,000 Thai alumni, and most of them are successful in Thailand. They inspire me to study here.
When I did the research for UNT, I found that UNT matched with my criteria: located in small town, quiet and safe, a warm climate similar to Thailand, cheap tuition and fees, and outstanding professors.
What do you like best?
I like the teaching techniques most professors use. It integrates with three sections: the basic concept for the individual subject, examples from research papers, and how to adapt the techniques to industries. Most importantly, professors have time to assist students whether the students make appointments or not.
What do you miss most?
I miss my real life in Thailand and Thai food.
What was your biggest surprise?
University of North Texas is a student centered university, and the student is the most important thing for the school system. UNT has many facilities and activities to support students: shuttle bus, games, 24-hour lab and a lot more.
... your biggest disappointment?
I heard a lot about tornados in the North Texas region, but they have never touched down in Denton.
How have you handled: ... language differences?
Practice, practice, and practice by speaking with diverse people, watching american TV programs, reading only English materials, and taking notes in English.
UNT offers $1,000 scholarship for two academic years to new Ph.D. students, and it meets the requirement to pay the low in-state tuition rate. This helps me save a lot of money, in addition to having a sponsor from my university in Thailand to pay all my expenses.
... adjusting to a different educational system?
Not like in Thailand, studying in the USA school system forces students to participate more in class, so I have to prepare myself in advance before class starts each week.
What are your activities?
Watching UNT football, concerts from the college of music, and the distinguished lecture series are my favorite activities to attend. UNT football gives me the chance to learn more about the USA college life. Concerts have outstanding performance and they reduce my stress from classes. Lastly, the lecture series brings experienced speakers, which opens a world of knowledge for me.
How easy or difficult was making friends?
If I start to talk to someone, I can make a friend easily.
How relevant is your U.S. education to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
I want to be a leader in the computational epidemiology research field in my country. I want to use my experience to help people in Thailand. My study area and my advisor help me a lot to get closer to that point.
What is your advice to other students who are considering a U.S. education?
Besides the fact that you will get a good education in the U.S. and a high chance to get a good job, you can make connections with people from all over the world because no country can be alone. Studying in a developed country will give you the way to improve your community.