Yanin Kasemsinsup in Opgevallen: “I am teaching the subject I was the worst at”

In this episode of ‘Opgevallen’: Yanin Kasemsinsup (37), teacher at academy LED. As an eighteen-year-old he moved from Thailand to the Netherlands to study at Saxion, now he teaches among his own former teachers. He has lived in the Netherlands for almost twenty years, where, according to him, the weather is bad, the food not tasty and the language difficult. Still, he likes it here: “The education here is good and the people are friendly.”

Brendan Durkan, Electrical and Electronic Engineering student, told SaxNow during the Pop-up that he would like to read more about his teachers. About Yanin Kasemsinsup in particular. Brendan: “He is very dedicated to teaching and you can tell he actually enjoys it. I really enjoyed his classes because of the way he teaches.” Kasemsinsup also remembers Brendan well: “He was one of the most hard-working students in the class.”

How did you end up at Saxion?
“I came to the Netherlands from Thailand in 2005, when I was eighteen. My parents encouraged me to see the world. I wanted to go to Europe, and chose the Netherlands because the education here is good.

I also decided to stay in the Netherlands after my studies here at Saxion. In 2010 I was lucky enough to receive the ASML 'Henk Bodt' scholarship to study the Master's degree in Electrical Engineering at Eindhoven University of Technology, and later I continued with a PhD-study here. During this period I started teaching at Saxion and since completing my PhD three years ago I am teaching here full-time.”

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Photo's: Marlene Mahn

What is it like to be back at Saxion?
“Very nostalgic. Most of the teachers I had lessons from twenty years ago are retiring just now. It's an honor to take it over from them. And what's also funny is that I am teaching the subject I was the worst at during my studies: Control Systems. Even after I got my master's, I still found this subject unclear. That's why I also did my doctoral research on this subject; when I finished it, I felt confident that I could excite others about it as well.”

Why do you think you are ‘Opgevallen’?
“I think it's because students are not afraid of me. I celebrate when students make a mistake. Then I say, 'Wow, interesting that you did it in that way. What can you learn from it?' I never underestimate students. As a teacher, if you believe that your students are great, they will be great. I see it as working together, as student and teacher you are on the same team.”

What is so fun about teaching?
“My philosophy for teaching is like Michelangelo's quote: 'The sculpture is already complete within the marble block, before I start my work. It is already there; I just have to chisel away the superfluous material.' I love seeing the passion in the students' eyes, and when they realize their own potential.”

What are the main differences from Thailand?
“The weather here is not good, and neither is the food. But the people here are friendly. According to my colleagues, I am a little soft, but when I go back to Thailand, according to my family, I am actually very direct. I think it's somewhere in between. When I hadn't been in the Netherlands that long, a company I worked for gave me the feedback that I didn't speak up enough, but in Thailand it's very rude to talk a lot and interrupt people. I have since learned that you can be open and communicative and polite at the same time.”

Speaking of communication, how are you doing with speaking Dutch?
“I'm learning it, I'm at B1 now. I regret that I have been in the Netherlands for almost twenty years and still don't speak Dutch fluently, but the languages are so different from each other. In Thai you don't have a past tense of verbs, which makes it a much easier language. It would be nice if I can master Dutch so I can chat with my colleagues at the coffee machine and better understand the culture. You can tell that you see the culture through language. My wife says that when I speak English I seem much more outspoken and confident than when I speak Thai.”

Would you ever move back to Thailand?
“I have never regretted moving to the Netherlands. Sometime ago I did think about moving back, my parents who live in Thailand are getting older and actually I would like to do more to help them. Fortunately, I still have a brother and sister who are taking care of that so I decided to stay here anyway. My wife and I have a young son who is almost two and once a year we go to Thailand so my parents can see their grandson, and we video call them every weekend.

I never regret anything anyway. You can never be sure that the grass is greener next door. The past is the past, and the only place you can make it happen is now.”

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Opgevallen

Which teacher makes a difference to you, keeps going where others stop or does exactly what others don't?

In Opgevallen, students or student associations nominate teachers they find particularly special. We then ask them about it. Why do they do things differently? What drives them? What does their private life look like?

Do you have a teacher who has caught your eye? Mail us at saxnow@saxion.nl

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Linde Verschoor

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