Fellow classmates, professors, distinguished guests,parents and friends, I want to thank you all for coming here today to partakein our graduation ceremony.
My name is Ge Jingjing, a Certificate student here atthe Hopkins-Nanjing Center. It is my distinct pleasure to deliver this speechon behalf of the graduating class of 2015.
Today is an exciting day for all of us. As I walkedthrough the hallway on my way here this afternoon, the hallway which we walkedthrough thousands of times during the past year, I couldn’t help but think ofall the memories we’ve had together.
I had no idea what to expect before arriving at theHNC, but my head was full of curiosity. All I knew was that Niu Xiaohu told meI “wouldn’t regret it”. I had tried to imagine all the wonderful things thatmight happen here. But I couldn’t have imagined how wonderful you people wouldbe, or how fascinating life here would turn out.
My first time entering the Center, I was impressed bythe majestic appearance and advanced equipment and facilities. I cannot sayenough how grateful I am for everything provided by our lovely Center. ( Last month even a massive snaketried to come inside to enjoy our air-conditioned East Lobby! ) For thewhole year, the Center was home to our happiest moments as well as our mostchallenging times. Yet it was also here that we built friendships which helpedus through all of these challenges, whether linguistic, academic, or evenpersonal.
I can still clearly remember how we all first met. Iwas straightening up my room and a girl came inside and said, “Hey, wo jiao HanMay”. I thought to myself, “Han Meimei? Like the girl from the textbooks?” I couldn’t believe it!And then I saw Zhang Qian in the hallway, and I worked up the courage to askhim, “Are you an internationalstudent?” From hisanswer I could tell I was not the first person to ask him. And then, at theorientation, when I first heard co-director Kubler speaking Mandarin, I thoughtto myself “Is he Chinese?”...
And how can I forget all the activities that we hadtogether? --Every Friday night’s Happy hour where Chinese students taughtSanguosha to international students, and international students drank a lot of beer; theHalloween Party where Professor Simon transformed into a sexy lady and Wang Zixibecame “wang gong zi”;the Christmas Party in which we had a live Choir and listened to Professor Webb’sChristmas stories; and also the career day when all of a sudden I saw myclassmates as future diplomats, businessmen, and educators. I feel proud andlucky to have become friends with so many awesome people, and from you Ilearned so many more things besides English.
Of course, the center is only a place. It is the highquality teachers that make it an academic institution. Although at thebeginning, we were all struggling and too shy to speak, the teachers continuedto encourage us to work hard. My professors always pushed me to thinkcritically and never take anything at face value, even when it meant workinglate into the night. We all commiserated together to get through each semester,and in the end we survived to make it here today.
My classmates and I all came to the HNC withdifferent sets of values, beliefs, and even biases. But the HNC has given us such a great opportunityto bridge our differences. I believe the experience in the Center hasequipped us with the confidence to deal with different people and the toleranceto accept all the world’s diversity.
Time is fleeting. Wecame with different backgrounds and tomorrow we will all go on to differentdestinations. But whatever our future paths may be, we will all rememberthe time we spent in our Center. We will all miss our teachers, the staff, andespecially Thomas Mao. And with those shared memories and moments, I believe wecan weave a brighter future together.