Published: Fri 03 Aug 2012. Modified: Mon 06 Aug 2012

She thanks Mr Sievert Larsson for all

Sirinpat Kuttikul was awarded with The Sievert Larsson Scholarship in 2010. Now she's concluding her studies at Chalmers and heading back to Thailand - with a fresh master in architecture in her cv.

We meet over a cup of coffee to look back on her two years in Sweden.
- I am very thankful for the scholarship. I felt great and very happy when I got the decision back home in Chiang Mai, she says.

Is there anything you want to say to Mr Sievert Larsson, the donor?
- He is a very kind person, in the way that he gives the money to Thai students so that they can continue their studies. It is very nice and kind of him to set the target and only support Thai students.

Sievert Larsson is a well-reputed man in Thailand, with his own charity foundation. Sirinpat didn't know much about his former work, but recalls a donation from him to her hometown:
- He donated money to an organisation called The New Life in Chiang Mai, and I have a friend who lives in the arera. I always drive my car by when I visit my friend, so I see their office!

Has the scholarship made any difference for your career?
- Yes, I think it will have good effect for my future career for sure. It is something that guarantees that I am a good student, which is why I got the scholarship. There are not so many scholarships that comes from individuals such as Mr Sievert Larsson. It is good.

Sirinpat is convinced that she wouldn't have been able to come to Chalmers without the scholarship:
- Yes, for sure. I send applications everywhere, but I knew I hadn't enough money to carry on the living costs in Europe. But I think that to come forward you have to stop worrying about the money. If I worry too much I wouldn't have had a chance or dare enough to send any applications at all. So I send my applications and waited to see how it was going.

When she stopped worrying the good news started to come - with acceptances from UK, from Australia and from Chalmers in Sweden. And The Sievert Larsson Scholarship.
- My friend told me about Chalmers and send me the web link just one month before the application deadline. I talked to another friend of mine - she is the person who taught me and guided me to learn my own kind of thinking. I really respect her. I asked her for advice whether I should apply for the scholarship or not and she asked me: Why are you scared? You can't know what will happen if you never apply.

Sirinpat's friend told her that if she got accepted by Chalmers and for the scholarship, her life would definitely be changed forever:
- Then I understood - let's just do it! I said, Sirinpat recalls.

I can still remember your personal letter in your scholarship application. The committee were very moved by the way you described your family. How's your situation today?
- My dad still visits the doctor two times every month to check that everything's going well. He got a kidney transplant when I was young and is suffering from infections. But in general he's quite okay now.

Her family has always supported her in her efforts to fulfill her dreams.
- We're not a very rich family in terms of money, but we're rich in terms of warmth and love and has always been taking care of each other. The next step for me is to get a job. I might find a job in Thailand or in some neighbouring country, like Singapore, Hong Kong or even in the south of China. I want to come closer to my family again.
- I want to work as an architect but I also want to challenge myself more, and get a job in a big company. I have worked as an architect before I came to Chalmers, but it was in a small firm with alike eleven employees.  I think it is a good way to start with small companies, because you learn a lot. Now I am ready to push my skills further.

In May 2012 Sirinpat presented her master thesis at Chalmers. It was one of the warmest spring days so far. Sirinpat did a very good presentation and impressed everyone. But inside her she was a bit nervous.
- I didn't feel excited, but a little bit nervous and worried before the presentation started. I did'nt know how many people would come to watch and listen.

She had a clear social agenda with her thesis which was about how people live and interact with each other in an eco-building.
- It's about the quality of people living in an apartment. I wanted to show how people without that much money can live in a common apartment with a good quality of living. I wanted to merge these two ideas of being together. My main focus was to give a flexible space, and for example be able to choose if you want to turn on your air condition or open the windows and let the wind flow in. At the same time you can have a social life, say hi to neighbours and let your kids play with their kids. My thesis presents a suggestion about how it is going to be to live in the community in the future.

Have the two past years at Chalmers fulfilled your expecations?
- Time really flies fast! When I came here I didn't expect that much, my position was to come to study here and be really open and follow the system. I knew that the pedagogy here was much different from the one in Thailand. I have learned a lot - from the way Chalmers teach and push the students.
Sirinpat is also very satisfied with the accommodation she has been provided:
- I think that the quality of the student accommodation here is very, very good compared to my home country. There are many categories for the students, if you want to have private kitchen and shower or share them with others.I live in Ostkupan and have to say that I am quite lucky and happy with it.

Could you tell me some of your best memories from your time in Sweden?
- I don't know, there are so many good memories. One thing I can say is that Swedish people always have "fika", which is a good thing. I have really been influenced to have "fika" myself, I wasn't used to it before I came here and I wasn't addicted to coffee, Sirinpat smiles.
But you do have "fika" in Chiang Mai?
- Yes, but it is difference. Here it is moments where you're just hanging out with friends and does small talking or heartly topics. In Thailand you "fika" but you're working at the same time. It is a place for tutoring, we talk with friends but not that much, and you have your lap top open.
Did you learn any Swedish?
- Not that much. I can speak summary but not fluent in any way. Some words, like "ursäkta mig", "tack så mycket", "jättebra"...

Do you have any other thoughts about being an international student at Chalmers?
- I know now that Chalmers is rather well-known in areas of sustainable and architectural design. Actually Chalmers is The One - there's a lot of expertise and technology in here. I feel like I am very lucky to study and graduate from Chalmers.

Have you been able to network with other Thai students here?
- Yes, I have been going out a lot with friends that got the same scholarship. We are also chatting on Facebook and e-mailing texts to each other.


How is Gothenburg to live in?

- I think the temperature differs too much - from very very deep cold to extremely hot. Last week I told my friends that it felt like 27 degrees, the same as in Bangkok! The next day it was reaching 30 degrees in the afternoon and I thought: Oh my God! Last year I remember it was like eleven degrees at the same time...

Have you had the time to explore Gothenburg?
- Not that much. I have been to the archipelago, I went to Marstrand for example. I have also been in Floda in a conservation case study about the beauty in that area. I was in Alingsås. One of my favourite places in Gothenburg is a small coffee shop near Kungsportsplatsen, called Da Matteo. It is very nice both during the winter and the summer.

This August Sirinpat will say goodbye to Sweden and head back home to Thailand. She will most certainly bring with her memories from Chalmers and Gothenburg which will stay in her heart for the rest of her life.

Text and photo: Michael Nystås

Except Ms Sirinpat Kuttikul her opponent, Mr James Payne, and examiner, Mr Morten Lund, are also present in the pictures.


Further information

In 2007 the entrepreneur Sievert Larsson converted Ancoria Insurance, his Cyprus-based insurance company, into a charity, The Sievert Larsson Scholarship Foundation. The foundation gives needy young people the opportunity to study at university or college. The donation to Chalmers provides young people from financially vulnerable families in Thailand with an opportunity to study for a Swedish Master's degree.

Read more about The Sievert Larsson Scholarship >>>
www.chalmers.se/en/about-chalmers/friendsofchalmers/Pages/Sievert-Larsson-Scholarship.aspx

Read more about other scholarships available for international students >>>
www.chalmers.se/en/education/fees-finance/Pages/scholarships.aspx

Published: Fri 03 Aug 2012. Modified: Mon 06 Aug 2012