Nantarat Fumfan, a citizen of the Kingdom of Thailand, is already studying on a second degree programme at St Petersburg University. In 2015, she received a bachelor's degree in Advertising and Public Relations. Two years later, after returning to Bangkok, she entered the programme “Company Economics”.

We asked Nantarat what professional career she has chosen, why she has come to St Petersburg again, and what challenges she faces here.

Tell us about how you entered the bachelor’s programme of the University.

After finishing school, I entered a Thailand University in the Faculty of Philology and began to study Russian. My teacher suggested applying for a scholarship to study in Russia. I submitted the necessary documents to the embassy and in August I learned that I had won a grant. I was enrolled at St Petersburg University on the programme "Advertising and Public Relations." This programme was recommended to me, and I myself realised that it was right for me.

What did you find difficult during the first stage of higher education?

Of course, the first year was very difficult. I hardly understood what they were talking about at lectures. Also, relations with Russian friends did not develop, because we felt embarrassed with each other and could not communicate in the same language. Moreover, in the beginning I lived far away from the university, and it took me four hours a day to get here. But it was all of this that taught me to be strong, to overcome difficulties and to live on my own.

During my second year, I made friends and we spent our free time together. They taught me Russian and introduced me to Russian culture. Thanks to this, it became easier for me to study. I succeeded in listening to lectures and making notes, performing tasks, and preparing reports. I passed all the exams and defended well my qualification research “Adaptation of a foreign brand's communication policy to a local market”. During my studies, I became convinced that St Petersburg University provides high-level education. It is very difficult to pass an exam or a pass/fail test at the University.

Having finished the bachelor’s programme, I received a St Petersburg University degree. Now I feel at home: here is my home from home and my second family.

What was your career like after receiving a bachelor's degree?

After graduating from the University, I returned to Bangkok and began to build my career ladder. For a year, I worked as a visa officer at the consular section of the New Zealand Embassy in Bangkok. I cannot say that the work was very well paid, but still I gained the required practical experience. Moreover, to my own surprise, I discovered that not only English, but also Russian is in demand in this position. Suddenly it became clear that it is Russian that is native for many applicants.

While working at the visa application centre, I continued to go to job interviews. Finally, I got a job as head of the customer service department at SHOWDC, a large retail company. My area of responsibility had become much wider. From the first day of work in the new office, I was engaged in planning corporate activities, coordinating work with foreign directors, managers and employees, and working closely with the marketing, sales, and financial departments.

Why did you decide to go into further academic study, why did you come back to St Petersburg University?

The fact that I had been lucky to get a job at SHOWDC gave me a sounder vision of the future. The position of the department head is very responsible and requires a lot. So, I wanted to get a degree in economics. It would help me to find my place as a manager. I am convinced that in order to understand the functioning of corporate structures, it is necessary to have an in-depth professional economic education. Only in this way I will be able to successfully interact with various social and economic groups related to the development of the corporation, and carry out effective management activities according to the current economic and social situation.

What are you doing now?

Now I am a final-year student of the master’s programme of St Petersburg University in Economics. I’m specialised in Company Economics and Economics of Innovative Activities. To be honest, learning is not easy. I have faced a lot of difficulties. Among the most complex disciplines I can name are macro and microeconomics, econometrics, risk management, and analysis of financing. But I think that everything is going well for me, partly thanks to the help of my fellow students and university lectures. My family from Thailand always encourages and supports me.

What are your plans for the future?

After getting a master’s degree, I’m planning to return to Thailand and continue to develop my career there. I want to be with my parents and family and to take care of them.

Tell us about your favourite places in the city. What do you like about St Petersburg?

I’m in love with St Petersburg with all my heart. When I went back to Thailand, I often recalled the Northern Capital and the happy time I had spent with my friends here. I like a lot of places in this city: Nevsky Prospect, the palaces, the Hermitage, Peterhof and a lot of other places. Also, I like Vyborg very much. Moreover, I would like to visit other Russian cities and regions such as Murmansk, Altai, and the Crimea.

Russia is a big country. There are so many different and interesting places, cultures and nations here! Perhaps this is the reason why not only residents of Russia dream of travelling around the country, but also many foreigners.