Morning Sun

  • Some say the best college recruiters are alumni.

    For Kirati Khuvasanond, that was true.

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  • Some say the best college recruiters are alumni.
    For Kirati Khuvasanond, that was true.
    “I have a business partner that graduated from Pittsburg State in the music school,” Khuvasanond said. “He told me this is the place to be in our field. Our business was in pianos and selling pianos.”
    Kirati is one of four students at Pittsburg State from her home country of Thailand. More than 40 international countries are represented at Pittsburg State.
    Kirati said one of the biggest differences for her was moving from Bangkok, the capital city and the 22nd largest city in the world by population, to Pittsburg.
    “Bangkok, like most capital cities, is very rushed and people are not really friendly,” she said. “Here, when you pass by, people will say ‘Hi, how are you?’ One time, I didn’t have a car, so I sat in front of Ron’s [Supermarket] waiting for a ride. An old lady ame up and said, ‘Do you need a ride?’ I think that’s the nice thing about being here.”
    Another big difference for Kirati is the level of freedom between Thailand and America. Moreover, the freedom to speak one’s mind on a matter of issues.
    “In America, people tend to be open on your opinion,” Khuvasanond said. “If you don’t agree, it’s not because someone’s right or wrong, it’s just different. In Thailand, if you’re different, it’s sometimes like that.”
    However, there are fundamental discrepancies in who one can disagree with.
    “In America, they don’t care much if you’re younger or older,” she said. “In Thailand, there is a culture of respect for your elders. I don’t think it’s a bad thing in America. I think deep inside, they have the respect for their elders, which I consider a difference.”
    While many international students have spoken critically of the American education system, Khuvasanond, who is a graduate student studying educational leadership, said education may be stronger in the United States.
    “Educaton is more wide in America,” Kirati said. “They use several strategies here compared to Thailand, where they just have passive learning. Here, there is more studying close with the students.
    “No one wore a uniform at the university here. In Thailand, you just sit and hear the lecture. It’s a huge difference. Being here, the international students have to know how to manage and take care of everything.”
    Khuvasanond spent six weeks in America at age 12 learning English with a host family. She alo spent time in Canada and England on exchange programs.
    “The host family in America was in Portland, Ore.,” she said. “I went to a local school and it was nice. I didn’t have much English, and they helped me. It impressed me how much I learned from that family. The first place I went to impressed me.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Many other students note how different American food is from their home country’s cuisine. Kirati is no exception.
    “You eat a lot of cheese here,” she said. “What surprised me is that you can have cheese and crackers for lunch. In my country, we prefer hot foods. In Thailand, we do not eat much cheese like you do here.”
    As mentioned, Kirati is working on a graduate degree in educational leadership. She is set to graduate in May of 2009. She said most of the time, she works in the morning, then has class time in the evening. At night, she tries to finish homework and assignments. She may pursue a doctoral program after graduating.
    “I’m planning on going back to my home country to teach and help improve the education system there,” Khuvasanond said.
    Kirati also appreciates the International Student Association. She recently gave a presentation on her country to the group and has been fairly active in it.
    “It’s helped a lot when I feel like I’m homesick. There are people who have the same experience, who are lonely, depressed and want to talk to someone who has this experience,” she said. “I’m not the only one who feels like this.”
    Andrew Nash can be reached at andrew.nash@morningsun.net or by calling 231-2600 ext. 132.
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