Hi! I’m Tun Aye (a.k.a. Tony), an English major in Chiang Mai Rajabhat University.
People often say that learning a new language is like visiting a new universe. This is very true in my case. I know four languages/ dialects - Karen (dialect in Myanmar), Burmese, Thai and English. Learning each language marked a new chapter in my life: I’ve ventured from Myanmar to Thailand, and from a refugee camp to university. I am very proud of how far I’ve come, and am thankful for all the opportunities and assistance granted to me. With a degree in English, I hope to support my family and to drive positive change in society.
When I was 10 years old, I migrated from the Karen State of Myanmar, my birthplace, to a refugee camp in Thailand. As a Karenni, I faced significant obstacles when communicating with other people in the camp, as they mostly spoke Thai and Burmese. I felt very isolated and lost for several months. That was when I first appreciated the importance of language competence.
Fortunately, with diligence and determination, I was able to master both Thai and Burmese. However, in high school, I encountered difficulties with another language – English! I was very interested in the subject, as I believed that having good English skills was important for one to obtain a meaningful and respectable job. Knowing that I had a poor foundation in the language, I practised reading, listening and speaking English industriously. I became more and more intrigued by the language, as well as more appreciative of its importance. Therefore, when I had the opportunity to go to university, I chose English without a moment of hesitation.
I am constantly aware that I am in a privileged position to receive university education. Therefore, I feel obliged to make myself a knowledgeable person and to give back to the community in the future. I believe that the struggles I have endured in the past have enhanced my capabilities – by giving me unique insight and a resilient character. I sincerely hope that you may see potential in me or merit in my story. I would be eternally grateful for your kind support.
- Age: 25
- Ethnicity: Karen
- Place of birth: Karen State, Myanmar
University and programme:
- Chiang Mai Rajabhat University
- English for International Communication
- 3rd year in the programme
Goals and dreams:
- To become a knowledgeable and capable person so that I could contribute to society in the future.
Interesting facts about Tony:
Q: Who is your idol?
A: Dr. Cynthia Muang, founder of Mae Tao Clinic which provides medical treatment to refugees.
Q: What is the kindest thing someone has ever done for you?
A: Encouraging me when I lacked confidence and hope.
Q: If you could give a piece of advice to your younger self, what would that be?
A: To give myself a second chance when I failed and to think of new ways to solve problems.
1. If you could meet a historical figure, who would it be?