Making waves in Thailand

Aina Nghipuilepo believes that youth can only lead once they have a vision and take leadership in our own lives.

14 May 2019 | Education

Leandrea Louw

Miss Teen Walvis Bay 2017, Aina Nghipuilepo, now 20, is making waves in Thailand.

The former beauty queen is studying business economics, majoring in international business management, at Stamford International University in Thailand.

“Growing up, studying abroad was always a dream for me. At a young age it was a matter of ‘I want, but as the years passed I lost interest along the way,” she said.

“I was under the impression that it is not as easy as it seemed, and it required plenty of hard work and sacrifices.

“At one point I just gave up; I thought that overseas was not for me, and to top it all off, I did not have four higher-level subjects, which is the apparent prerequisite if you wish to study in another country.

“The problem is students are made to believe that there is no future if you do not have higher-level subjects.

“I do believe that it is beneficial to have them, but I also know of students that can’t do higher-level but have the desire to study further.

“My advice is there is a future place for you, just do your best,” Nghipuilepo.

She said she was convinced that she could not get into an international university or any South African university with three higher-level subjects.

At one point she decided to simply study in Namibia.

“Luckily my family spoke some sense into me and believed in me, when I stopped believing in myself. My sister Fransina Nghipuilepo, suggested that I consider Thailand and I started doing research. I ended up applying in Namibia, South Africa and Thailand, and by God’s grace, I was accepted into four universities – the University of Namibia (Unam), the Namibian University of Science and Technology (Nust), Stamford International and Free State University in South Africa.”

Her studies are currently funded by her parents, but she is on the lookout for a scholarship.

She said that moving from a country with a population of about 2.4 million people to a country of 70 million people was not something she was prepared for.

“It’s a good thing to be exposed to different personalities, cultures and beliefs at a young age. Moving here has taught me to think a lot differently than I would normally think if I were in Namibia.

“It is here where I discovered myself in a different environment. It has been a rollercoaster for the past seven months I’ve been here, but I would not trade it for anything. It has been an emotional, physical and mental process, and slowly but surely this place is becoming home,” she said.

In addition, Nghipuilepo is a co-presenter on a show called International Discussions. The show is the brainchild of Zaak Garret, who is a journalism and broadcasting student at the university.

Garret came up with the initiative to start a talk show on topics that are important to youth worldwide.

“It is a great platform where we as students and representatives of our countries can come together and discuss issues happening in our countries and in the world. A friend of mine approached me and ask if I would be interested in being part of the talk show, and knowing that I can talk a lot - sometimes too much - I didn’t hesitate and said yes.

“She decided to give my details to Garret and a few hours later he contacted me and said, ‘welcome aboard’. I featured in the first episode of the ID show and many others. Viewers can follow the ID show on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.”

Nghipuilepo mentioned that she and Garret are working on a special addition to the show, with a focus on Namibia.

“I try and incorporate Namibia in every episode, if the issue being discussed is also a problem in Namibia.”

She advised her fellow youth to dream big and never allow someone else to put limitations on their dreams.

“We are the light of this world and the future of our countries. The world is big and there is a place for us all, but we can only occupy that place once we are focused and educated.

“I believe we are the change that our countries need; we are the resources that will make our country wealthy again. One thing is important, we can only lead once we have a vision and can take leadership in our own lives,” she added.

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