Chananchida (left) and Panitsiree (right)

Passing on the torch

New smiley “ambassador” strengthens ties between a Thai family and CUHK

In 2019, CUHK reported the story of Thai student Chananchida Choochua (aka Chanan), who was studying CUHK’s Integrated Business Administration (IBBA) Programme. Time flies. Chanan has been working in Hong Kong since graduation and also inspired her younger sister, Panitsiree (aka Marine), to follow in her footsteps.

Chanan revealed in that 2019 interview that her interests in business originated from her experience accompanying her mother to a stock investment workshop. However, Marine has a different story.

The year-one IBBA student says: “From a young age, I have been passionate about business. I did part-time jobs such as helping out at my aunt’s convenience store and assisting my uncle at his construction materials store with inventory-related matters. To hone my business skills, I also sold fashionable clothes and toys online during semester breaks.”

From Grade 9, Marine started coming to CUHK to visit Chanan from time to time. She was fascinated by “the beautiful campus, the appealing business programme curriculum and the vibes of a professional but friendly environment”. Not needing to consider alternatives, Marine went straight for CUHK’s IBBA Programme.

Chanan’s family attend her graduation ceremony (photo courtesy of interviewees)

Just like her sister, Marine is a perfectionist. She studies hard and has been awarded first a CUHK Admission Scholarship, then a Business School Admission Scholarship, and later a Belt and Road Scholarship.

Sister, closest friend and alumna

On the benefits of having a sister as an alumna, Marine says: “My sister and I are very close. She is not only my sister, but also my best friend and consultant as well. She provides numerous suggestions and supports me a lot.

“For example, Chanan explained that improving business skills is not all about studying in the classroom. Joining activities outside the classroom is also a good real-life sandbox. She encouraged me to gain practical experience like joining clubs, doing internships and socialising with others to widen my connections. Moreover, if I do not understand the lessons or something, I should not be afraid to ask because either the professors or friends may provide a better explanation.”

Armed with these useful tips, Marine has adapted well to university life. “I am so lucky that my beloved sister stays in Hong Kong. I did not feel as homesick as Chanan did before.”

Adds Chanan: “I am glad that Marine is here too. Though she stays in the hostel of S.H. Ho College most of the time and I live off campus, we talk to each other almost every day. I don’t feel lonely.”

Chanan is also proud of Marine’s determination to study at CUHK. “She always takes my advice.”

Their unforgettable experiences

Marine’s first year at CUHK went well, except that she suffered from stomach inflammation during the Business School orientation camp. “That was one of the most serious sicknesses I have ever had,” she says, “I am so lucky that my sister stayed beside me. My sister, my friend and my senior took me to the hospital and bought food for me. I was so thankful to them.”

As for Chanan, she says, “Before I joined CUHK, I had some kind of expectation that I would excel in studying and graduate with the highest grade. But by the end of the first semester, I was so disappointed and frustrated for not getting the GPA I expected. I then learned that the real success does not depend on the grades, but on how you balance your life. It was really a great life experience.”

Home away from home

After graduating in 2022, Chanan worked as a business consultant at a health technology startup for almost a year. She then developed an interest in logistics. “Logistics is not only the backbone of industries but also boosts the economy,” she says.

In July 2023, she joined Kerry Logistics as a management trainee. “I have the chance to rotate to different departments and have tried my hand at daily operations work such as packing shipment, warehouse and supply chain management.”

Over the past few months, Chanan has learned a lot and decided to specialise in international freight forwarding: strategic logistics planning and execution for the international movement of goods.

Chanan, who is proficient in Putonghua, has not encountered any problems in communicating with colleagues. “I have already adapted to the working style in Hong Kong. I am now trying to learn Cantonese.”

Chanan enjoys her job and is considering pursuing a master’s degree in logistics in future.

Of her future plans, Marine says, “I would like to work in Hong Kong as well to get work experience.”

Chanan invited Marine to join her company’s voluntary activity, painting the wall of transitional housing (photo courtesy of interviewees)

Chanan and Marine meet whenever they are free. “We usually have some meals and hang out together,” says Marine, “That’s why I feel like Hong Kong is my home away from home.”

By Florence Chan
Photos by Keith Hiro


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