Speech by Ludovica Girelli at Thank you dinner and scholarship celebration on Nov.8, 2018, at Duke Kunshan University.
My name is Ludovica Girelli, I am from Rome, Italy and I am an undergraduate student here at DKU. I started studying Chinese my first year of high school. I have had many opportunities to visit China, as well as living in Shanghai for 6 months and attending a Chinese high school. These experiences made a love for China grow inside me and I knew I wanted to continue studying in this culture even after my time as a high school student here came to an end. When the time came for me to start looking for universities to attend, finding a way to come back to China was a high priority of mine. DKU seemed like the perfect choice for me, as it embodies a high level of both American education through Duke University and Chinese education through Wuhan University all while being centered here in Kunshan, China.
And let me tell you, I have not been disappointed in my decision. Since coming here, I have found friends from all over the world. This global community has people from 27 different countries. DKU has created a space for each of us to learn from one another and expand upon our knowledge of other cultures. For example, every Wednesday the cafeteria hosts table talks where we can learn and practice speaking in other languages with our fellow classmates and professors. I have recently begun a journey to learn Arabic from one of my friends. This is something that could never happen outside of DKU.
In addition I can already say that after session one was finished and session two was approaching, great thought was put into the development of these courses, and even greater thought into who teaches them. The faculty’s doors are always open when we need help. For instance, while I was taking math and “ fundamental questions of social science” during the first session, I had the opportunity to go every time I needed to the professors ‘office to discuss with them new ideas and the problem I was encountering. I found a great availability, apprehension and desire to help us. Everyone is going out of their way to make sure the students feel supported. Students, on the other hand, all have brilliant ideas and they really want to leave their footprint here at DKU. We have created many clubs for students to participate in. I, myself, have joined the debate club. I also hope to establish an Italian club in the future to introduce the Italian culture to the DKU family.
Furthermore, lots of activities have been arranged with the purpose of learning and bringing students closer together such as lectures with guest speakers and events. Last week Student Affairs hosted an incredible Halloween party.
Everyone, from students to professors and the staff are so enthusiastic for this new chapter of their life, and we hope that you all are as well. We are all pioneers of this new project that wouldn’t have been possible without you.
You are investing and supporting the future, bringing all these passions, new brilliant ideas and excitement into place. Then not only we, but also you, are all pioneers, leaders of tomorrow. As long as you all continue supporting us and making our dreams possible, DKU will continue to grow into the world-class university we all hope it will be.