Heather Knight

Studying Thai & South East Asian Studies at Leeds has equipped me with a valuable skillset that has definitely helped me develop my career. The course not only focused on Thai language and culture, but covered areas of history, politics and international development.  I was also able to choose elective modules (now known as Discovery Themes) in areas that were of particular interest, and for me that included Japanese language.  The degree included a compulsory year studying abroad at Chiang Mai University, and this equipped me with the ability and confidence to adapt culturally and practically to life in another country. After graduating I successfully applied to work in Japan with the JET Programme. My degree in Thai actually prepared me for this move.  

One of the greatest things about studying Thai at Leeds was the support and opportunities that were presented to me.  After graduating and spending 2 years working in Japan I was offered scholarships from the Thai Royal Embassy and Consulate to return to studying for a Masters by Research in Thai Studies at Leeds. The Thai language I had learned during my undergraduate degree enabled me to spend 6 months in Thailand conducting interviews in Thai with government officials and NGO members.  I had the practical skills to collect all the research necessary to successfully write an original thesis based on primary data.

I now work in Higher Education as an International Student Adviser.  I advise on immigration and welfare and help students settle into university and London life.  I love using my Thai language skills and have been given the opportunity to attend education fairs in Bangkok to meet prospective students.  Having been an international student myself in Thailand I can relate to the needs of overseas students that come to the UK to study – it reminds me what an exciting and valuable experience studying overseas is!