Greetings! Friends, family, faculty and staff. Welcome to Boston University on such a beautiful Friday night.
My name is Yujing Cai, and I am a graduate from the Master of Mathematical Finance program. I come from Nanjing, China, one of the oldest cities in the world. Right now, my family is sitting somewhere over there. They travelled, literally across half of the world to see their baby girl graduate and talk in a language they don’t understand. Therefore, I am tremendously honored to share my perspective of 6 years at the Questrom School of Business.
One of the things I always enjoyed doing while waiting for classes was looking at the different country flags in our atrium.Sometimes my friends and I even have silly competitions going on to see who knew more flags, and it often amazed me how many different cultures and nationalities are represented in our community.
In a community, so diverse, mutual understanding doesn’t come easily, so I tried hard to be adaptive from the beginning. Soon, I found myself adjusting to the bigger food portion, and railways in the middle of the road. I even tried fortunes cookies for the first time in my life! Soon, I felt so content with this progress and I gradually built a cozy nest with people of my culture, my age, and who thought and acted exactly like I did. Why bother talking to anyone else? The coursework and job-hunting were already so tiring, and meeting people outside my circle just seemed so scary and unnecessary.
在这样一个多元化的群体里，相互理解并不容易，所以我从一开始就努力地让自己适应。很快，我发现自己适应了这里更大的食量，和马路正中间的铁路。我甚至人生中第一次品尝了幸运饼干!(幸运饼干Fortune Cookie: 美式中餐馆提供的打开后有祝福纸条的饼干)很快，我满足于自己的进步，于是我逐渐建立一个充满了与我的文化背景，年龄相仿的人的舒适的窝。他们的所思所想都与我相似，我又何必再和任何其他人交流?学校的课业和找工作的过程已经让人疲惫不堪，跨出我自己的圈子去和其他人交往看起来是那么的不必要甚至可怕。
Then one day something changed. It was a normal school day, and I was in the atrium looking at the flags as always. I saw that the flag of China was surrounded nicely by the flags of Canada, Chile, Colombia, and DR Congo, and suddenly it struck me that I didn’t know anyone of those nationalities. What a waste it was for me to ignore the diversity of experience and opinions that the Questrom community had to offer! I was determined to change, but it wasn’t easy:
而这一天一切改变了。这是一个正常的上课日，我一如既往地在大厅里看着不同的国旗。我看到中国的国旗被加拿大，智利，哥伦比亚和刚果民主共和国的国旗很好看地包围着，突然间我惊觉到我并不认识任何这些国籍的人。我意识到，忽略Questrom这样多元化群体提供给我的多样的经验和观点是多大的浪费!我决心要改变，但这并不容易： I experienced the awkwardness of having to explain a joke that no one understood, the nervousness of asking questions about other cultures that seemed so obvious and silly, and the anger of defending my beliefs only to get suspicion and aloofness in return. Fortunately, these discomforts weresoon taken over by things like the amusement of teaching my classmates to pronounce my last name, Cai, using a part of their tongue that they didn’t know existed, the excitement of promoting our Math Finance culture awareness events in the Questrom Graduate Council, the satisfactionof knowing all the secret authentic restaurants around Boston and the astonishment of seeing the world and myself in a way that I could never have imaged before.