Hanne Hopp: BBA Valedictorian, Class of Spring 2023
BBA Valedictorian congratulatory remarks during the Spring 2023 commencement ceremony.
“Good morning, professors, faculty members, students, families, and friends, but most of all Graduating class of Spring 2023. We did it!
Prior to my arrival in South Korea, I took the initiative to immerse myself in the country's culture, to avoid any Korean culture shock.
However, upon my arrival at SolBridge, I did not get any Korean culture shock instead I got Uzbek shock, Vietnamese shock, Kazakh shock, Mongolian Shock, and many more.
The impact of these shocks hit me kind of hard. The narrowed-minded-old me at that time was forced to reassess and broaden my worldview.
I didn't know it at that time, but getting all these types of different shocks from different parts of the world is the best thing that could have happened to me.
Many of us embarked on this educational journey at an early stage, choosing to pursue our degrees while residing far away from our families and loved ones. Such a feat is undeniably challenging and should not be taken lightly. The decision to spread our wings and pursue our education demonstrates our bravery and maybe also our craziness.
We have seen SolBridge go through a major transition, and we graduates have been a part of that transition ourselves.
Through the establishment of clubs, taking on roles as mentors and representatives, and much more, WE, without even realizing it, have actively fostered a more positive and inclusive environment for our junior peers and incoming students.
By sharing our cultures, religions, and culinary skills, mostly in the SolGeo kitchen, we have made sure to always educate each other, open each other's eyes, and help each other grow.
Having witnessed these positive changes, we are now boarding our next journey with confidence.
Do not forget that we are a class of fighters.
Not only did we "fight" for sleeping spots on the 6th and 8th floors, we also fought to make it on time to SolGeo’s curfew, fought at sports day against other departments but most importantly, we also fought our way through the pandemic.
“Amidst the pandemic, we came to a profound realization of the importance of human connection, and this shared experience brought us even closer together. We not only relied on each other at a time when everything seemed dark, but we also found our way going through semester after semester in front of the screen, adapting to the virtual world.
Most importantly, we learned that what really matters lies in the relationships we have established and the attitude we choose to embrace. As we reflect upon our four years, it is these relationships--the individuals who have been a part of our journey and education that will occupy our thoughts and memories.”
Among these individuals are the classmates with whom we engaged in spirited debates during Professor Swanepoel's critical thinking class, the roommates we lived together with in Solgeo, and the cherished friends who have become an integral part of our lives-some of whom we may even consider as our chosen family.
Throughout our university journey, we have been immersed in countless interactions, we have challenged each other, supported each other and most of all we have learned how to respect and love each other.
If there is one thing I can confidently say, it is that I have no regrets.
Choosing to come to SolBridge and study alongside all of you has been the best decision I have made.
I would like to take a moment to express my heartfelt gratitude, especially to Professor Choi from CDC, Professor 0|강록, Professor Swanepoel, Professor Annemari, Bob, my fellow SolBridge friends and lastly my parents that are here today for their countless support even when it meant me moving to the other side of the world.
Even though 4 years are not considered long, the memories and lessons that we have learned will last us for a lifetime. We have become better people by learning side by side, sharing ideas, and by mixing our backgrounds and cultures.
Some of you might go back to your home countries, some might stay, and some might not even know yet where their journey will lead them, but one thing is certain: we will continue our journey with a bigger global heart than when we first arrived at SolBridge.
We are the class that is already making small changes toward a more inclusive world, and we are just getting started.
On behalf of the graduating class of spring 2023, I want to thank SolBridge for encouraging us to challenge ourselves: Joining competitions, workshops, clubs, and many more.
SolBridge has shown us how great we can be if we dare to take the first step, take the first initiative to reach out and dare to love.
My dear fellow graduating students!
Let's ensure that our encounters were NOT in vain.
Let's strive to make an impact with the global perspective we gained at SolBridge,
Let's make sure to go into our next journey with the confidence that we can make a positive change. Because we can.
And, lastly, let's make a promise that we all will keep in touch.
Hanne Hopp: BBA Valedictorian, Class of Spring 2023