Nonmanut Pongsakdi, Education and Learning

Nonmanut Pongsakdi about her time in Finland as an international student and researcher

I am Nonmanut Pongsakdi from Thailand. I am an alumna from the Master’s Degree Programme in Education at the University of Turku, and currently a postdoctoral researcher at the department of Teacher Education.

I studied the Master’s degree programme at the faculty of Education, University of Turku in 2008. At that time, the programme was called “Learning, Learning Environments and Educational Systems (LLEES)”, and later after 10 years, the name was changed to be Education and Learning, “EdLearn”, in 2018. After graduation, my first intention was to go back to Thailand to be a school teacher somewhere far away from Bangkok. However, during the master’s degree programme, I started to develop my passions to do research and data analyses, and I was also encouraged to continue studying in a doctoral programme. I came back to Finland and tried to seek for an opportunity. With supports from my former advisors, I became a doctoral candidate in 2011, and later graduated in 2017.


Learning experiences that provide a solid foundation for career paths in education.

During the master’s degree programme, for me, it was a transition period. As you may know, in Thailand we have rather huge differences in terms of curriculum, students’ autonomy, and expectation from both teacher and students. As a student who came from a country with different background, I needed to adjust a lot. Many of us tended to enjoy very much autonomy and support received, but at the same time, we had to regulate ourselves to complete the studies in expected time. It was a desirable learning experience. We had fun moments to learn from each other and to explore Finland and its culture. For me, the programme provided a solid foundation needed to pursue several career paths in Education.

Later, I was fortunate to have an opportunity to continue studying in a doctoral programme, and to be a part of one of the research groups. Here…we have been well-trained and learned almost everything needed for a career in academia. I have met and learned from different friends/colleagues and teachers/supervisors who had different expertise and talents. In addition, I was fortunate to have a chance to work with different groups of people beyond research work. It was quite heavy period, but the most valuable learning experience of my life.

Why choose the University of Turku in Finland?

Finland has been very famous in providing high quality Education and education system. Back in 2008, there were only two programmes in the field of education available for international students. I chose the University of Turku because I was interested in their curriculum. This programme has been now developed more than 10 years and I have heard many successful stories from different people who graduated from the same programme.

It was a desirable learning experience. We had fun moments to learn from each other and to explore Finland and its culture. For me, the programme provided a solid foundation needed to pursue several career paths in Education.

What will the future bring?

After graduation until now, I still work at the university as a postdoctoral researcher. However, in 2020, it will be my last year in Turku. Next year autumn, I will go back and start working for a leading university in Thailand. This was very hard decision, but I should step out from a comfort zone. Beyond a research work, I am very much interested in rural development and working collaboratively with the locals where research can be applied in practice. My studies and working experience with different groups of people in Finland were extremely valuable and appreciated.

I sincerely thank to my supervisors and colleagues for these many good years. I will miss everything at the university and look forward to working with you again from another corner of the world.