Petra Desatova

My name is Petra Desatova, I’m from Slovakia and I graduated with a BA in International Relations & Thai and South East Asian Studies at University of Leeds in 2011.

I started learning Thai from scratch without any previous knowledge of the language or the country since I had never been to Thailand before I started my studies at University of Leeds. Therefore, the year abroad (2nd year) at Chiang Mai University, Thailand, was for me an unforgettable and invaluable experience. In Thailand, I made enormous language progress and I had a first-hand experience with the culture and all the things I had read about before. That year was undoubtedly an important turning point in my studies.

After coming back from Thailand, I had many opportunities to enhance my language skills and gain some work experience in the field I was interested in. Thai studies at University of Leeds are in close cooperation with the Royal Thai Embassy in London, which generously supports students on this course. There are plenty of opportunities for students to do internships in their field of interest and these are even expanding on yearly basis. Therefore, in summer 2011 I did a month long internship at the Office of Educational Affairs, the Royal Thai Embassy, in London together with three other students of Thai studies from University of Leeds. It was truly invaluable experience!

During the four weeks of my internship I have been given various tasks which made my working experience at the Office of Educational Affairs very interesting and invaluable. Starting from filling the students’ records, I gradually became accustomed with the work of the office and the impressive number of scholarship students, who are under the care of this office. I had chance to work on two separate students’ cases related to reimbursement of paid fees, which was a very interesting task and I really enjoyed it. I also had the chance to assist with the registration of new students, creating their files and organising their records as well as entering their data into an electronic database. I was delighted to actively join a welcome meeting of 20 Thai students coming to study for their A-levels and was very grateful for being asked to tell them some encouraging words in Thai. However, the most valuable experience I have gained from my internship was related to my role as a seminar presenter at the seminar held for the scholarship students and the representatives of the Ministry of Public Health from Thailand. This was an invaluable language experience and I really enjoyed myself doing it.

My internship at the Office of Educational Affairs, Royal Thai Embassy, in London was a very precious experience that gave me chance to work on various projects, therefore contributed to my personal as well as professional development. I would like to express my gratitude to the Office of Educational Affair, the Royal Thai Embassy, and the Thai studies at University of Leeds for being given this fantastic opportunity.