Editor’s Note: Kantaphat Leelakunwet, a 21-year-old student from Thailand, is a sophomore undergraduate majoring in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Michigan-Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute (UM-SJTU JI, JI hereafter). After spending his entire freshman year taking online courses in his home country, he flew to China in October 2022 and started to experience the vibrant life at the SJTU Minhang Campus in Shanghai.

 In an interview with JI Communications Office, Leelakunwet shared a personal story as below on his experience of performing on the stage of Jing Jing Hall during the spring semester of 2023.”It was a thrilling experience for me to showcase my musical talent and introduce Thai music to the audience on the SJTU campus,” he said.


On the evening of March 5, JI student union organized a grand opening ceremony event for the 2023 JI Campus Culture and Arts Festival called Prologue at the Jing Jing Hall, a renowned venue for a lot of important JI and SJTU events. As a representative of the international student community, Kantaphat Leelakunwet was given an opportunity to perform a song with his fellow countryman Chodchanit Jirapavasuti, a JI senior student.

Kantaphat Leelakunwet (Singer) performs on the stage with Chodchanit Jirapavasuti (Pianist).

The song they chose to perform was a Thai song called “40 km/hr” by Terracotta, which they believed would be unfamiliar to many local students. They saw it as a chance to share their language and culture through the universal language of music and singing.

“I used to be a drummer, who was always positioned behind everyone else on stage. This opportunity to perform as a singer and stand in front of the audience is truly unique and a completely new experience for me. I was filled with worries, shyness, and fear before volunteering. But I finally decided to sign up after I realized that such opportunities come once in a lifetime, ” said Leelakunwet.

Kantaphat’s passion for music started during his primary school years when his supportive parents encouraged him to learn an instrument. He chose the drums and eventually formed a band with older friends from high school. Together, they participated in various music contests, with one of their biggest achievements being crowned as champions in the Sprite Music contest during 12th grade, just before his band unfortunately disbanded as he had to go overseas for further studies.

Kantaphat Leelakunwet (In front) takes photo with his friends and other performers during the opening ceremony event.

Group photo of event attendees