Top of the Class

At a graduation ceremony this month at Arizona State University (ASU), Mahiro Watanabe took center stage. The SAF Scholar, who had earned honor roll status in the Global Launch program, was elected by his teachers to give a speech.

“He was outstanding! I’m truly not just saying that either,” said Claire McLaughlin, Lead International Educator at Global Launch for ASU. “It was so heartfelt that it gave me goosebumps.”

So, we just had to celebrate and share his remarks:

Good afternoon everyone: instructors, classmates, and friends. Today I am so honored to speak in front of you all. To begin with, the most important thing I want to say about Global Launch is the opportunity I have had to meet so many friends from all over the world. 

My goal of studying abroad was to improve my English skill and communicate with many people by using English. So, at first, I just focused on the improvement of English. Moreover, I thought the best way to improve my English skill immediately was [by] talking, talking, and talking a lot with native English speakers. So, to be honest, [at first] I didn’t regard Global Launch as a good method to build up my language ability. However, throughout having experienced the sessions in Global Launch, my perception about studying abroad has totally changed.

First, Global Launch makes me feel more... global. For example, I learned new languages, from native friends, such as Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, German, French, Indonesian, and more like that. Because of Global Launch, I can speak a little of a lot of languages. This is the advantage of it. In addition, I have experienced new culture, like Ramadan. I tried to fast twice. It was too hard for me, and some of my friends drank Starbucks coffee in front of me. However, the time to break fasting is an awesome moment. Isn’t it guys? And I admire how strong you are. It was a precious experience for me.

Second, I feel the importance of English so strongly. As you know, there are so many students from many countries. Of course they have [their] own languages. However, we can communicate with each other by using English. In other words, English is the only tool to exchange our opinions. This fact persuaded me to study harder.

Finally, people should learn what the world is through their own eyes. Before I came here, the resource I used to find out about the world was the media in my own country. So, this information is biased, and it is not trustworthy. However, after I came here and met so many friends, I found all of them to be awesome, kind and cooperative. And I noticed that it is necessary for us to [see] with our own eyes and think for ourselves.

I have had a fantastic time in Global Launch, and, throughout the Global Launch sessions, my goal is not only improving my English skill, but also making many connections with many people from different countries. In the future, I want to work globally by making use of this experience. And I'm very thankful for that. So, I will leave you all with a final thought – Treasure your experiences, keep in touch with your friends, and party hard tonight in Dorsey Place – You are all welcome!! Except teachers.


~ From Mahiro Watanabe, an SAF Student Correspondent