Student Portrait

Many people would think that a life in a refugee camp would be miserable. However, my experience in a refugee camp was a precious experience for me. It shaped me to be more determined, to strive for opportunities, and meet every challenge with personal excellence.

I was born in Hpa-an, Karen State. My family moved to Mae La Refugee Camp when I was 11 years old. Later, I found out that my parents decided to move to Thailand because they heard that there were more educational opportunities for determined youth like us. Both my parents were educators, so they believed in education as an investment for a better future. Since then, I believed in education and always searched for ways to continue my education. Consequently, I obtained my GED diploma with the highest score in BEAM history by studying hard at BEAM’s GED Program and later earned my bachelor’s degree from Thammasat University.

I achieved all of this despite many challenges I faced as a refugee student, such as the lack of recognition and educational opportunities, and emotional stress.

Through those experiences, I found myself passionate about education. I always tried to help other fellow refugee and migrant students with their educational journeys. For example, I volunteered as a mathematics teacher at my former high school in Mae La Refugee Camp. I mentored a few of my former students who were going through the same educational pathway that I did. Even upon my graduation, I returned to BEAM so that I could contribute to my community on a larger scale through education.

Throughout my career in migrant education, I have witnessed a desperate need for psychological support for young students in our community. Covid-19 and the coup d’etat in Myanmar detrimentally affected students’ mental and emotional health. Students struggle with anxiety, loss of hope and lack of focus in their study while trying to provide necessities and safety for themselves. It gradually eroded their performance in class and success in their education.

 About Hsu Hsu

  • Age: 27
  • Ethnicity: Karen
  • Country: Myanmar

 School & Program

  • Assumption University
  • Master’s, Counseling Psychology
  • 2nd Year in Program

Goals & Dreams

  • Become an ethical consultant to NGOs
  • Improve psychological support for students

 Loan Details

  • Loan Amount: $7,725
  • Amount Left To Fund: $6,875
  • Contract Duration: 13 years
  • Status: In School
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What Others Are Saying About Hsu Hsu

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With the knowledge I will obtain from Basic and Advanced Skills in Counseling Psychology, Social Psychology and School Psychology, I will design Social-Emotional Learning courses tailored to our students’ needs. I will strengthen our Student Support System by providing professional counseling services to our students to help with their trauma and mental health. I hope to model the best suitable psychological support system for migrant learning centers in Thailand.

Another deficit I witnessed was the correlation between psychological support deficiency for NGO staff and their performance towards organizations’ social impact. With unreasonable workloads, NGO staff bear a lot of stress. Yet, they are not compensated enough for counseling services. A research article from Nursing Management (Springhouse) proved that the lack of well-being of nurses has a direct negative impact on the quality of patient care they can provide (Hume L. 2018). There is still the belief that NGO staff should be able to accept and bury all stresses, as they are working for the good of their community. Organizations invest more on leadership development and capacity building training instead of promoting psychological support in enhancing staff performance.

I would like to further explore these issues through Counseling in Organizational Settings, to understand the best and up-to-date psychological practices and their application in an organizational context. I will embed them in my programs as an example and work strategically to implement this into the whole organization. I aim to become an influential psychological support advocate for the NGO world and later become an ethical consultant to interested NGOs.

With the student loan from Zomia to study Counseling Psychology at Assumption University, I will not wait until my graduation to make an impact in my society. My contribution to my community will start from day one of my study. I believe that, this year, Zomia is looking for compassionate community contributors, like me, who are trying to make our community, country and world a better place.

Written by Hsu Hsu with editing assistance from Zomia’s volunteer editors.

Hsu Hsu

Hsu Hsu

“With the student loan from Zomia to study Counseling Psychology at Assumption University, I will not wait until my graduation to make an impact in my society. My contribution to my community will start from day one of my study.”

Q&A With Hsu Hsu

Survey Fun

What is your favorite memory?
My favorite memory was my whole family going to church together when I was little.
How would your friends describe you?
My friends would describe me as a pair of ears and a heart that they can open up to.
What is the one thing that isn’t taught in school but should be?
Students not knowing how to take care of their social and emotional well-being can have negative impact on their performance in classes. I want to integrate this aspect in our education systems.
What is/was your favorite subject in school?
My favorite subject in school was mathematics, not because I was good at it, but because I learned that I would be good at it if I tried to make sense of it. I was stubborn when I was young, and refused to memorize a formula unless somebody could explain to me how that formula came to exist. That was the reason why I became a math teacher after high school. When a student struggles, I know a million ways to help the student understand.
What skill or ability do you most wish you had (but lack today)?
The most practical ability or skill that I wish I had is professional communication.
Where would you most like to travel?
I would like to travel to a place that does not require any traveling documents such as passport, visa and others. Being a refugee and migrant from Myanmar myself, I have experienced a lot challenges and discrimination in mobility.
What’s your dream job?
My dream job is a job that can provide my family well which also aligns with my calling and passion at the same time.

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