Knowledge Within Each of Us: ELP Commencement Speeches

Students from the English Language Program reflect on their time spent at Chatham University in these lovely graduation speeches.

“Learn about culture through learning a language”

Written by: Asuka Kanazawa, Laila Altuwaym, and Mayuko Harada 

Congratulations for being here. I’m honored to be with you today.

Now, I would like to tell you that you are lucky because you are learning the universal language. There are some benefits of learning English that will encourage you to continue to learn.

First, we can learn about culture through learning a language. Imagine that you can only speak your native language. Do you know how many people in the world speak your native language? If you are Japanese, I guess it is not too many. I rarely meet people who speak or learn Japanese. Then, now, imagine you interact with people who come from overseas. You can share your culture, and vice versa.

We can learn new and different words from different countries. You can learn a new language while talking to people by using English. For instance, I came to America in order to improve my English skills.

After I arrived, I understood why America is called a salad bowl. There are many different kinds of ethnicities. By now, I have met a lot of people from at least 12 different countries. By using English, I became friends with them, and I learned plenty of information about their countries that are not in a textbook. I could not get such rich cultural knowledge without talking to them in English.

Does anyone like traveling abroad? Has anyone encountered problems during trips? If you could speak English, you do not need to be worried or feel fearful about going to any other countries. Because  English is a common language, you can interact with people anywhere in the world. We can expand our knowledge by using English.

Secondly, you can get many employment opportunities. You would be the ideal candidates for the job. Because the world is globalized, English is required. However, not everybody in your country can speak English fluently. Now is the time that you can become a bridge between companies by using your English skills.

Now you have learned “how to learn” in this school. Congratulations, everyone. I hope you will keep learning whatever you like to achieve your own goals in the future.


“We graduate with knowledge within each of us”

Written by: Ayako Inoue, Abdulghani Naeem, and Tenzin Lhakmon

Today, we all are about to graduate from Chatham University.

Looking back, we were once first-year students, and everything was new to us. At this beautiful Chatham University, we all created our own memories and forged a strong relationship with the place and its people. We all met wonderful people who became our friends and will continue to be so. Today, we graduate with knowledge within each of us. As we step into the future, I want us to remember who we are. I want all of us to believe in the goodness that we all are capable of. After this graduation, some of us might work as interns, some of us might embark on a new journey, and some of us might get our dream job. Whatever it may be, whatever the future holds for us, I want us to have hope, to have courage to do the right thing and above all, to be a better human being. I feared my future, a future that I can’t control, and in this fear of the future I had lost the gift of the present. We all are alive, we all have the gift of life, so live it to the fullest.

William J. Clinton once said: “If you live long enough, you’ll make mistakes. But if you learn from them, you’ll be a better person. It’s how you handle adversity, not how it affects you. The main thing is never quit, never quit, never quit.” We all had our own shares of good and bad memories here. As we carry along the good memories, we should carry not the mistakes, but the lessons that we have learned from our mistakes. I am an international student, and there is no count to the mistakes I have made, times that I broke down. But, here I am, in front of you all. I dedicate my share of success to my professors, to my classmates and to my mistakes.

I would say, “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes but be ready to learn from your mistakes.”

Taking this opportunity, I would like to thank Chatham University, my professors and everyone present here for contributing in my journey of being a better human being. Thank you for giving me the gift of knowledge and the gift of companionship.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” With this beautiful quote by Mahatma Gandhi, I wish all of us good luck and bon voyage.


“Today we come together at the end of one journey and the beginning of a new journey”

Written by: Yuki Hori, Rika Dokite, and Illina Maharjan 

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, graduates, family and friends, honored guests. Thank you to those who helped me while studying at Chatham University: family, teachers and faculty, and the staff of Chatham University.

Today is an important day. We gather here to celebrate after our hard and long year.

We all have different goals and purposes to study at Chatham.

Today, I want to tell ELP students two things from my experience studying English.

The first thing is that we should learn English in different ways that we can enjoy.

Because ELP students come here to learn English, we have to do a lot of things, such as remembering new words, reading books, and writing essays. Of course, these are essential, but sometimes these things can annoy you. There are many ways to learn English. When you get tired of English, try to find another way. For example, listening to music, watching movies, going somewhere, and talking with English speakers are good ways to study with fun. It is important to study English without feeling stress to improve our knowledge.

Next, continue learning English.

If you do not use English, you will forget it right away. That is a waste of time and money. When I was in Japan, I studied English hard for the TOEFL test. Because I could get my best on the test, I did not study for the next TOEFL test. Then, naturally I got bad score. Even if I tried to study hard, it is meaningless unless I remember it.

So, learning English provides endless opportunities to improve knowledge. We should continue learning the English that we studied here so that we can use English in our future.

Now stepping into the outside world would be challenging for us, but the concept and knowledge that we have, and the set of skills from this University, will help us to find a good path for our future. I have learned one of the sayings that “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” You will face many troubles in your future. That is the time when you are progressing. This progress makes you strong.

Today we came together at the end of one journey and the beginning of a new journey.

I want to say to all the students who are still studying at Chatham University to learn and gain knowledge as much as you can.

Thank you and congratulations, and good luck in your future.


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