Student Portrait

My name is Karen. I am the first daughter of my parents in Nyaung Shwe, Southern Shan State of Myanmar. I am 21 years old and recently finished the third year of Tourism Management Program at Mae Fah Luang University (MFU).

I have five family members . Being the eldest child of my family, I want to be a role model to my brother and be successful to support my family. I want to be an independent woman who does not easily give up in difficult situations, has courage to face new challenges and problems and works hard to achieve goals.

It has always been my dream to study abroad and learn how people work in other countries in order to improve themselves as well as their countries. I want to get experiences in new environments and I always want to establish myself in new places by learning new things. After I work in other countries, I will come back to my country with enough money, lots of experience, talents and new creative ideas to establish my own business.

However, when I passed my matriculation exam, my father forced me to attend the university of distance education in Myanmar and told me to work to get experiences. But, my mother and aunty encouraged me to study abroad for my Bachelor’s degree. I asked a permission from my father to study abroad and he eventually allowed me to go to Thailand.

 About Karen

  • Age: 24
  • Ethnicity: Intha
  • Country: Myanmar

 School & Program

  • Mae Fah Luang University
  • Bachelor’s, Tourism Management
  • Graduated

Goals & Dreams

  • To become a successful CEO

 Loan Details

  • Loan Amount: $3,675
  • Amount Left To Fund: $3,325
  • Contract Duration: 11 years
  • Status: In Repayment
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What Others Are Saying About Karen

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Before I went to Thailand, my father told me that he was worried about my further studies because if he couldn’t support me until I graduated, I would get into troubles and get depressed. But he did not want to make me upset and told me that he would try his best to support me and my whole family.

At that time, he had to find money not only for my study but also for my grand mother’s health. He withdrew some saving money for me and I was able to attend MFU. Unfortunately, the health condition of my grand mother was getting worse when I was in second year. She had suffered from diabetes and heart disease since I was in high school. Due to diabetes, she had tingling limbs and blurry vision. She had two eye operations but they didn’t get back to normal and her diabetes was also getting worse than before.

At that time, my father faced serious financial problems. He had to provide my educational expenses , support the daily expenses of the whole family and pay for the medical treatment of my grand mother. During that time, it was really difficult for me to focus on my study since I wanted to come back to Myanmar to help my family. My father told me that he was having debts since my grand mother was in the hospital. I felt very upset and didn’t want to be a burden to them.

Before the second year ended, my grand mother passed away. My father blamed himself for not being able to save her. I felt very upset about the whole situation and even thought about dropping out of the university. But, my family didn’t let me do so and my father lent some money from his relatives in order to continue to support me. So, I decided to try harder for my future and my family to support them back.

Currently, I am back in Myanmar. I have been here since the beginning of the pandemic. When I first got back home, I worked part-time in order to support myself. However, during the pandemic, we’ve faced many difficult situations. We let a tour company rent our apartment . But, since the tourism industry has been severely affected by the pandemic, they moved out of our apartment a few months later. So we don’t have any income during the pandemic. My brother is currently attending Grade 10 and we will have to support him until he pass the matriculation exam.

My father never gives up no matter how hard our life is. He always tries his best to support our family and our education. My father wants me to be an educated person who can manage to get a brighter future. My goal is to become a successful businesswoman who plays a significant role in my family, my community and my country as a whole.

When I become a businesswoman, I will create many jobs opportunities in my country by inviting foreign investments that could bring a lot of money into my community. I will keep going and studying harder for my family, my community and my family. I have determination to fulfill my future plans under any circumstances and overcome all situations by trying my best.

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



“When I become a businesswoman, I will create many jobs opportunities in my country by inviting foreign investments that could bring a lot of money into my community.”

Q&A With Karen

Survey Fun

What is your favorite memory?
Traveling with my family
How would your friends describe you?
Cute, talkative and brave
What is the one thing that isn’t taught in school but should be?
How to deal with depression and learn from failure
What is/was your favorite subject in school?
What skill or ability do you most wish you had (but lack today)?
Swimming and drawing
If you could do anything you wanted now, what would it be?
I want to go back to Thailand and get a job
Where would you most like to travel?
Bagan , Switzerland
What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?
Pork curry made by my grandfather
What’s your dream job?
A successful CEO
Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
I will give half of them to my parents and the rest to orphanages.