Hello, my name is Kevin. I’m a teacher in the International Department here, and it’s an honor and pleasure to have an opportunity to speak with you all today. Just a little about myself: I’m from the United States. I grew up just outside of Chicago, although my family is originally from New York City and that’s where I was born. In university, I majored in Journalism. I was always interested in reading and writing. English and History were probably my favorite subjects. In English class we’d basically just read books, or plays. Shakespeare, Dickens… various novels. This was interesting for me because I liked to read anyway. Books can transport you to other worlds, and not just science fiction novels or Harry Potter books. I mean, they can transport you back in time, to Victorian-era London for example. Or a desert island in the Pacific like in the novel Lord of the Flies. Similarly, to me History was also just one long story full of interesting events, like wars, revolutions, and various upheavals, and interesting characters. In addition, my parents liked to travel, so from an early age I was visiting other countries in Europe for example. The United States, as a nation, has only a short history, so it’s something to visit a place like Greece and see ruins from thousands of years ago. You can imagine the people of those times and what they believed and what their lives must have been like. Anyway, that was something that always fascinated me. Of course you don’t have to actually travel to the countries in question. Books are windows to the world, as some wise person once said. You can pick up a book and it can transport you anywhere, to any time or place.
You have a unique opportunity here at the best school in all of Jiangsu province. This is your time to acquire knowledge about the world, and plan for your future. You should take advantage of it, learn all you can, and listen to your teachers. The world is out there, waiting for you to make a contribution. Not everyone has these kinds of opportunities. At schools in the West, the students spend much less time in school, so you have an advantage over them. They may be out playing with their friends, while you are still here on campus studying various subjects well into the evening. This may seem unfair to you now, and in fact it is unfair. Unfair to the students in other countries, who don’t get to spend as much time with their teachers learning valuable things. Instead they’re just wasting their time watching dumb stuff online and playing games. This is not just an advantage you have for making money in the future. I mean, if that’s something you care about, great. Nothing wrong with making money, but ideally it should be for doing something you really love. They say, if you make a living doing something you love, then you never work a day in your life. Your work is your passion, so it doesn’t feel like ‘work’ at all.
In closing, I would like to thank you for your attention. I appreciate it, and am always happy to see students. Many people say ‘hello’ to me on campus. Obviously I don’t know everyone, or even most of you, but feel free to stop by the international department. Just a shout-out to my peers… Ron, Zia, Lina and Galia. It really is an international department, with teachers from four different continents. Education and learning really brings the world together, and your teachers have a lot to offer you. Thanks again for your time, and have a good week, good semester, and a great year!