Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Jacky Wang's Summer Ceremony Speech

Difficulty: 0

I would like to ask Jacky Wang to say a few words to us. Please.

Well, well, well, let the fun part begin.

I know probably half of the audience thinks: Why this guy again?

I promise you I noticed that the barbecue is on the way, so...

I've come on this stage three times...

so my story will start with the number three.

Three years ago I came to the University of Groningen.

During the flight I was so excited about everything I was about to see.

From windmill to cheese market, being overwhelmed by bikes...

to being towered over by tall people, like you guys.

I arrived at Schiphol airport around 8 pm, and took a train to Groningen.

Everything seemed so unfamiliar. The signs, clothes, weather.

And even the gorgeous people, like you guys.

In my heart I could feel a sense of excitement...

mixed with a sense of nervousness.

I thought: My wonderful and crazy Dutch journey is about to begin.

But the gods sometimes send nuts to those who have no teeth.

By that I mean: Nothing comes out as planned.

Late that night I was on the train heading north.

Then two men took my bag and quickly ran off the train...

seconds before the train door closed.

My passport, money and many important documents were gone.

I tried to shout for help, but there was no one around me.

Standing in the train by myself, feeling alone and helpless.

All the excitement I had before vanished and went up in smoke.

And I thought: Why did I choose to come to this place?

Luckily I still had my phone with me.

I had no choice but to call the mission officer of my faculty, Charlotte...

who is also present here today.

After a two-hour ride, I arrived at the Central Station here in Groningen.

The second I got off the train, I saw a woman standing there, waving at me.

I can be easily recognized, I'm very popular here.

In her hands she had a bottle of water...

and a piece of a cheese sandwich, so Dutch.

She quickly ran to me, and gave me a big hug.

After all the exhausting ordeals I had been through that night...

that is what I really need.

Charlotte took me to the police office...

and stayed there through the entire process of the investigation.

By the time I left, it was two in the morning...

and I was ready to call it a day.

When I arrived at my accommodation, I had expected everyone to be in bed.

Not my bed, but their bed.

However, to my huge surprise, I met my housemates that night.

In fact, they were waiting for me, until two in the morning.

The hugs, greetings, and stories followed by a helping hand to unpack.

This welcome really deeply impacted me.

A flower could not help but bloom inside of my heart.

I felt at home, and I found my home here in Groningen.

My favourite place in Groningen is the Martini Tower.

Every time I look from the top of the Martini Tower...

I see the skyline of the city, and the people working in the Houtmarkt.

Atop that tower, I had a sense of pride and accomplishment.

This is the city where I live now, and this is the city that I call home.

My study life here in Groningen has not only broadened my horizon.

Knowing that the sushi in Japan tastes different.

Latin Americans love hugging, kissing and dancing.

Dutch people don't drink beer all day.

Although they do drink beer most of the time.

And most importantly, I also represent my country...

Chinese people are not always good at maths.

But in fact, I am. I have done maths.

I'm not really good, but anyway.

My study life also allowed me to grow and become a better version of myself.

Allowed me to join the Climbing Association to defeat my fear of heights.

It also allowed me to join the student politics campaign...

and also the Honours College philosophy programme.

That allowed me to touch upon the topic of Western democracy...

that I had never done before.

It also allowed me to talk and debate with full confidence.

And here I am, standing in front of you.

So, who made those changes? Groningen itself?

No, the city may not have the magic.

But it is the people, it is you guys.

My fellow students, professors, and even the alumni.

It is you, and also the citizens, by the way.

It is you that make this place feel like home.

So dear professors, students and alumni.

I have a question here, to all of you...

how you would describe Groningen, and the University of Groningen.

Inspiring, happy or international?

Or even, there are more bars than days of the year.

Or the thousands of associations you can sign up for.

Or even waiting to get into the Physics building...

while noticing the Nobel Prize winner is just behind you.

I really want to take a selfie, but I have no chance.


Indeed, many things can describe Groningen.

All the things I mentioned above are true.

But from many to one, I would say 'home'.

Groningen is my home, and I believe it is also you guys' home, your home.

That's it, almost done, so clapping.

During the opening ceremony of the academic year, three years ago...

I remember Professor Poppema asking every international student...

to try to pronounce Groningen in a very Dutch way.

Now, Mr Poppema, here is the time to test my Dutch.

I will say a sentence. I have prepared this many times.

Here we go.

Er gaat niks boven Groningen.

Poppema, goed? Cool.

There's nothing above Groningen...

because there's nothing above your home.

Thank you.

The Description of Jacky Wang's Summer Ceremony Speech