Daphne Hingert was born in Thailand and grew up in Myanmar, Burma, with a Thai mother and an British-Burmese father. She speaks an impressive number of languages: two native languages, English, Lao, basic Hindi, Urdu and German – and now also a little Swedish.
“My parents really fought hard to give me opportunities in life – they ensured that I learnt languages and went to good schools. Other people I grew up with didn’t have such favourable conditions.”
After studying biomedical science at Mahidol University in Thailand she wanted to continue studying abroad and started looking at universities all over the world.
“A friend recommended Chalmers, so that’s why I applied. When I was also awarded the Sievert Larsson scholarship, that settled it – I was going to move to Sweden! I’d never been in Scandinavia before, but was very pleasantly surprised by both Sweden and Chalmers,” says Daphne Hingert.
Her nomination for the Global Swede award also came as a surprise. A particularly pleasant – and unusual – one as it is not for academic performance.
“When Peter Hellqvist from Chalmers called and told me that I was nominated, and I asked why, he replied, ‘because you are you, and because you promote Chalmers and Sweden.’ It felt fantastic!”
“We’re used to hard work in studies or competitions being the things that are rewarded. I was part of the debating team at my former university, and when we won it was great – but this is something completely different. Such an honour!”
The Global Swede award consists of an international student from each university in Sweden – 22 in total – being rewarded for his or her ambassadorship. The award was presented by State Secretary Oscar Stenström in Stockholm on 18 May. “I took the opportunity to take a selfie with him,” admits Daphne Hingert.
A lift for Chalmers in Thailand
As part of her work as an active student ambassador for Chalmers, Daphne Hingert has been on a recruitment trip to talk about the university at major student fairs in Thailand. Following that trip the number of international students from Thailand who have applied for various Master’s programmes at Chalmers doubled compared to the previous year.
“For example I explained that the facilities at Chalmers are of an extremely high standard. But perhaps the most important points I highlighted were the freedom, friendliness and openness I have encountered here. You are encouraged to test your own paths in your research, and your supervisors and colleagues are actually interested in hearing your ideas and opinions. It has meant such an enormous amount to me.”
Remaining in Gothenburg
At present Daphne Hingert is finishing her Master’s studies in Biotechnology in a project where she is working on human stem cells from bone marrow. In the lab at Sahlgrenska University Hospital she is studying and experimenting on cultures as a stage in research that will hopefully in the future be able to contribute to better medical care for patients with lumbar back pain. She is hoping to remain in Gothenburg this autumn and has applied for a doctoral studentship that is part of a collaboration between the University of Gothenburg and Sahlgrenska University Hospital.
“I might switch universities after the summer, but if Chalmers needs me, I’ll still be in the area,” says Daphne Hingert.
Facts: Global Swede
Global Swede highlights international students at Swedish universities and university colleges who have excelled in areas related to innovation and entrepreneurship. The aim is to encourage and involve students as ambassadors for Sweden, as future resources for the Swedish business sector and in marketing Sweden as an attractive destination for higher education.
This is the sixth year that the award has been presented. During a ceremony at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs on 18 May State Secretary Oscar Stenström and Swedish Institute Director-General Annika Rembe awarded the diploma to 22 students from 17 countries who are currently studying at 22 higher education institutions in Sweden.