Knowledge Starts With Curiosity ——学生代表Daniel Alejandro Bonfil Penella在2020年毕业典礼上的发言
Dear Chancellor Zhan, respected faculty, and all my classmates of the Graduating Class of 2020,It’s a great honor to have this moment to speak today at this special commencement ceremony.Congratulations! We have finally done it—graduation.
After much work and stress, today, we finish an amazing journey. But, this is not the finishing place we expected.I thought we would all be together. I was ready for the picture taking and the many poses.But we must all stay safe in the places we can be.
I join you from Mexico, and I know we have classmates and friends joining from all over China and the rest of the world. Like all separations, this has made me reflect even more on my experience.I want to share with you three reflections I take from China:
First, studying here is a stereotype breaker:People often ask us international students what motivates us to come to China?I think we decided to come to China, yes, partly drawn to the challenge and excitement of immersing in the language, food and culture, but also to prove ourselves.We can do this by witnessing the other side of the world.To live it, and not to be told what it is or how to think about it. It takes courage to open yourself up to differences, but this is the first step of major growth. As Confucius said, real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance.
Second, studying here shapes you:I quickly learned a lot! First thing was that you are all amazing students with significant accomplishments already.It is a privilege to be a PKU student, but it comes with a big price.Competing with classmates in PKU is not easy! Competition started at breakfast:Show yourself at the canteen half past 7 and you had already lost fresh baozi.When it came to final exams, we didn't only compete for the best notes, but also for finding a spot in a study room to secure long hours of concentration and focus.However, we also created bonds. A night I will never forget is when my friends and I sang a Spanish song in the New Year’s Gala and finished the performance with a French rap that surprised everybody.
I became close with many of you in student organizations.I joined the photography club and wrote for the Nanyan News Agency. I had the chance to team up with classmates and won both the PKU Shenzhen and University Town football competitions.Furthermore, I took advantage of opportunities to soak up Chinese culture:I joined Kung Fu classes, studied Tai Chi and even completed Chinese Painting class; all these gave me perspectives I didn't have before.In academics, one of my favorite classes was China Studies.The professor took us through a multiple century voyage, experiencing everything from a traditional Chinese tea house and medicine center to the Huawei headquarters and the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.
Now, I have my own China story. It is a story that has grown out of listening and direct engagement. But being a witness also requires us to be honest about the difficulties we see.This takes me to the third reflection, the reality check:In my first year at PKU, I witnessed one of the most scary experiences of my life; the category 5 typhoon, Mangkhut. Today, a novel coronavirus, something we can't even see, is changing the world and the way we live in it. It is difficult to accept that these two events are consequences of the way human race has lived the past hundred years. No one can deny the progress, but if we do not live more sustainably and more responsibly, we cannot prevent even larger tragedies.
Today is time to better how we live on earth, to protect her, to have a long term vision of how we can improve our home and to take everyday steps to get there. China has shown me that big change is possible and that big visions are not impractical. I am sure that if we accept this transition, if we accept the challenge to use clean energies and fully embrace science and technology, it will lead us to a more promising world.
开心 We opened our hearts to China and the international community at PKU Shenzhen. We know that we are always welcome and that we have a home here, should we choose to take it. Thank you and congratulations again to us, the graduating class of 2020!
（Daniel Alejandro Bonfil Penella: graduate student of 2018 class from PHBS）