Since I came to San Diego, I have never felt homesick. I have never felt a huge change in the environment or the atmosphere I moved to. However, coming here was never a wrong decision because I actually felt a change–and that change was in me.
I am standing here today to briefly share one of the most valuable lessons I have learned from this journey, and I know I will continue to learn from it.
Even though I spent more than a year studying English at the same place, I have learned a lesson that I had not learned before. I learned this lesson by meeting all of you – my peers – from different parts of the world. This lesson is accepting each other the way we are, because sometimes people may not have a choice in their lives. It all depends on how a person was raised and what that person was taught. Don’t be quick to judge a person because this may be the way they were raised.
Here is an example. A friend of mine loved eating pancakes with sunny side up eggs, but his friend would eat cereal with yogurt. These two persons thought of each others habit as weird and unacceptable. These people were raised on different styles, so they could not conceive of another breakfast food.
Obviously, the point of the story is not breakfast food. I ask you to think deeply about how we are all different, even in the small details, and that we all have this right to be different. Different histories and different cultures can affect a person’s personality and beliefs. I pray five times a day, and some of you believe in other practices, whether they are related to religion or not. And all of that is never a shame. The lesson I’m trying to say is: different cultures, different traditions, different beliefs, different religions, yet we are all humans.
Actually, thinking more about it, all races, all religions, and all nationalities agree on one thing: Peacefulness and Freedom.
So, whether you are continuing on at UC San Diego English Language Institute (ELI) or continuing on to a new venture in your life, remember to interact with people from different races, cultures, or religions. Try to be more flexible by assimilating with different cultures and accepting them. We all make up humankind and nothing else denies this fact.
In closing, I would sincerely like to thank my ELI teachers and my fellow students for being part of my lesson. To my friends – thank you for being more than brothers and sisters throughout this experience. I’m really looking forward to seeing all of you in high positions in the future.
Closing Ceremony Speech Spring 2016
We could use more people in the world like Raheel. Thank you, Raheel, for choosing UC San Diego ELI as your study abroad destination. Are you a wonderful student like Raheel? We’d like to meet you and welcome you to campus. Contact us!