Wolfpack Alumni Connect in Thailand
With more than 240,000 NC State alumni around the world, you can find a member of the Wolfpack just about anywhere you go. That’s what happened to Samuel Shain, a senior in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, earlier this year in June.
Shain flew to Bangkok, Thailand, for an international conference hosted by Yunus Centre, the Bangledeshi think tank he interned with this summer. He stayed at Good Day Hostel, and struck up a conversation with the owner about places they had traveled and lived. It wasn’t long before Shain found out that he and Kanya (Jane) Ngamsuriyaroj had an NC State connection.
Ngamsuriyaroj previously attended NC State for a year through the International Student Exchange Program and took liberal arts classes. A professor at her Thai university had recommended NC State as a place where an international student could become fully immersed in cross-cultural experiences and find academic success.
The connection between the two didn’t stop there. From August 2002-May 2003, Ngamsuriyaroj lived in Alexander Hall’s Global Village; Shain, too, lived in the Village during his sophomore year (2016). The most important aspect of their NC State experience, however, was what they learned while participating in various Global Village activities.
“Living in Global Village was a defining moment in my undergraduate career,” said Shain. “With students from all over the world, there was always an opportunity to learn a new language, understand a new culture, or appreciate an unfamiliar cuisine. Through workshops, festivals and other gatherings in Alexander Hall, I discovered a profound admiration for other worldviews.”
Global Village is open to all NC State students who maintain an interest in living and interacting with people from different backgrounds, experiences, countries and viewpoints. The Village encourages students to engage in activities that will enrich their understanding of an increasingly global society, and strengthen their cultural competency.
“I was the only Thai student in my dorm, so it was the perfect opportunity for me to improve my English,” said Ngamsuriyaroj. “More importantly, I learned about respecting different cultures and perspectives. Being, living, and learning with people from different countries and cultures benefits you both personally and professionally. You gain valuable life experiences, and cultivate new perspectives and ideas.”
Ngamsuriyaroj’s time in Global Village gave her a rich academic experience, and helped her in her professional life. She integrated the lessons she learned there to start Good Day Hostel, a destination where she hopes to provide a fun, safe, and comfortable space for travelers to stay in while visiting Thailand. Also, like Global Village, Good Day Hostel hosts people from all over the world — all with different needs and expectations — but all of whom share a mutual desire to be treated kindly.
Shain could tell the difference NC State made when staying at Good Day Hostel and speaking with Ngamsuriyaroj. He noticed not only her ability to connect with others seeking an international experience, but also noted the similar feel to Global Village in her passion for cultural exchange.
“Globalization is a ubiquitous presence in our lives. Understanding and respecting other cultures is an essential skill we are tasked with developing and refining on a continuous basis,” said Shain. “To maximize the benefits of engagement in the global marketplace, devoting curiosity and time toward acquainting ourselves with the elaborate nature of our multicultural society is key. That’s something Jane and I experienced at Global Village and she has accomplished with Good Day Hostel.”
Get to Know: Kanya (Jane) Ngamsuriyaroj
What is your favorite NC State memory?
Alexander Hall was my home where I had some of the best times of my life. Also, going to Fountain Dining Hall, where I was able to gain 20 pounds in two semesters!
What is something you’ve learned from the friends you made at NC State?
Friendship needs to be cherished and nurtured. I feel so blessed to still be able to travel the world with some of my friends from Alexander Hall.
What do you want others with an NC State connection to know about Good Day Hostel?
Everything feels like home here and we are very welcoming. We are always happy to meet new friends and experience different cultures. Good Day Hostel is like Alexander Hall on vacation.