Completing the Advanced Level Foundation with Kings from Bangkok
Napatr Wipulakorn (Aimie), from Thailand, is currently completing the Advanced Level Foundation programme with us at Brighton, but studying online from her home in Bangkok.
Here she tells us about her experience so far, and her plans for future study.
Hi Aimie, what subjects are you studying on the Advanced Level Foundation?
The mandatory subjects — CSS and Data — and I chose to take Mathematics, Chemistry and
Biology. (as elective modules).
Which is your favourite subject and why do you like it?
Chemistry. To be honest with you, I actually disliked Chemistry my whole life. My favourite science was actually Physics, with Biology second. But now things have changed, and somehow I’ve come to like Chemistry a lot more, which is a surprise.
Why do you think that is?
It’s purely because of my teacher, because of how fun he has made it.
"Even though right now we are mixed, with some of us studying face to face and some of us studying online, he (my teacher) is very engaging."
He always checks up on us, makes sure we are listening, paying attention and catching on. He will put us on the spot and asks us questions and I think it’s great that he’s making sure that we’re still here!
This is actually the same with every class that I have. If we have questions we just shout out – it’s not rude, it’s just everybody’s way of making sure that if we have something to say, we get to say it.
"Previously I’ve been to two schools that have tried online teaching and I think Kings is the best at doing it. I’m sure it’s because the teachers are not just lecturing, they’re asking questions, keeping students engaged, and whether or not you’re online or face to face, it doesn’t matter at all."
When you started In January, all of you were online, but since the beginning of March, students in the UK have been in the classroom, while students overseas have continued online. Has it been different?
It’s been a little different. Students in class can answer right away, but that’s it, there’s no difference to the teaching. I mean for me I’m obviously online, and all my friends are there, so they get to hang out and do fun activities that the school hosts. But I don’t feel left out, I’ve got cool stuff going on in Bangkok, walking to and from my fridge sometime ;) It doesn’t really affect how you learn as you are still alert.
Talking about friends, how has that worked? You joined a new school, didn’t know anyone, and you’re doing it remotely — what was that like?
One of the students was really nice and reached out to me and said if I needed anything to let her know, because I came in quite late and she came in a week or two before me, so she understood the challenges, it was really nice. I got really lucky that she reached out. This really helped me settle in.
After she texted me she added me to a group with all the other girls in the class and it was really nice to get to know everyone. We all take different classes, even though we are a small group of people, but we have the same Maths, CSS and Data classes which is nice, because sometimes we join the class early and we can just chat.
How about the practicalities of studying online – I’m mostly thinking about the time difference!
I try to go to bed by midnight unless I have a class. My Tuesdays are extra-long. My last class is Chemistry and this has been timetabled after school. But it works. Luckily daylight saving saves me and everything is an hour earlier. Usually I get off class at 10.30pm which is good. I’m saying that like it’s really lucky!
After school you can’t sleep straight away. I try to unwind, do some homework for 45 minutes, then go to bed, maybe a Netflix episode then go to bed.
It sounds like your whole day has shifted! How have you managed your time and kept motivated?
"On the first day I was really nervous. I’ve done online learning before and it’s never worked out and I’ve moved school because of it. In my first class I didn’t know what to expect. After the first week I started to get into the flow of things — there’s a schedule, homework has a schedule as well. "
So, I try to get everything done on the day so that I can have free time. I do have a free period every day and it’s really nice to have a break between lessons and let my brain regenerate for the next one. I’ve developed my own system over time and I’ve just got in to the flow of it really.
What about university progression? What are you aiming for?
I’m still aiming for Environmental Science in Australia (University of Queensland) as of right now. Nothing is certain but in terms of the future and what I want to do it looks like the best option for me.
"Right now I have a few projects coming along here in Thailand, I run an Instagram account raising awareness about the environment, and I run events from time to time. 2 weeks ago I actually hosted a mangrove forest planting — with Covid precautions of course."
I had a small group of people and we planted 800 mangrove trees in Bang Pu, Samut Prakarn, a conservation site comprising mangrove and mudflat habitats, approved by Her Majesty Queen Sirikit of Thailand back in 2004.
This is the reason I want to learn about Environmental Science. I’m trying to start my own company because there is no company in the world that I want to work for and that’s the whole reason why Environmental Science is the option for me. If I understand the environment scientifically then I can plan my projects accordingly. We don’t have much time left to change things. So yeah, that’s the whole purpose.
How are you feeling about progressing to Australia?
I am excited because I haven’t been in a long, long time and I’ve never been to Brisbane. I’ve always gone to Sydney and the Gold Coast. I remember even though I was pretty young, it was a memorable trip.
Nature was everywhere and just thinking about it now it really excites me because that’s the type of world I want to be in. When compared to Bangkok it’s quite a change!
Would you recommend the Kings Advanced Level Foundation to other students?
Yeah, I would.
"The Kings Foundation saved me. I was looking for a route to get my high school done and progress on to what I really want to do, and it didn’t feel like there was one because my case is a tad special (changed schools and environment due to the pandemic). I’m really time conscious and I just want to go and save the world!"
I’ve proven to myself that I can save the world but it’s nice to have the educational background too.