I was nominated to speak at our End-of-the-Semester event for NYUBA, and I wrote this speech with this assignment in mind.
I want to start by saying I feel very lucky to be here with you all tonight. Especially because I came here knowing exactly one person, and really clung on to that friendship. Thanks Molly. But now I really consider everyone here a friend of mine. You know it’s something special about NYU that we hear the Abu Dhabi crowd say like, “Oh, when I was in Cairo” or “I loved Aman” or the Shanghai kids talk about the Great Wall. And I’m already so excited for us all to go back to New York City and casually throw out, “when I hiked in Patagonia,” or “ugh the beach in Mar del Plata,” and “remember that time Matthew blacked out a vineyard in Chile, cuz uh, he doesn’t.”
You all are the people I experienced this with. When we leave Argentina and go back home, wherever it is, we’re all going to stay connected with this thing we all went through together. It’s each other that we’re going to be able to talk about how much we miss empanadas or dulce de leche, talk about Paul’s beard, and laugh about how messy we got at the boliches.
I know it’s such a cliche to say that NYU doesn’t have a community, or doesn’t have the kind of community you would find at other schools. But this semester, it became so clear to me that NYU does have a very strong community. I can’t put it into words what exactly that is, but when I look at you all, it is so obvious. We come from literally around the world, not just in terms of nationality or ethnicity, but from our portal campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai as well. And we even have Bea and Sarah, who joined us from UMichigan and Bard. And yet, we are tied to each other because we all made the same very important decision.
We came to Argentina at a time where politics in the US and around the world are changing in an uncertain direction. Those of us from the US probably have experienced the many questions about Trump and have been interrogated about who they voted for. But we also entered Argentina at a really interesting moment for them as well. We’ve spent months learning about a painful history to try and understand society now. We’ve been a part of women’s marches and transportation strikes and days of remembrance. We’ve had lecturers from prominent writers and important public officials and discussions with our host parents afterwards. And I think it goes to show how much we all tried to understand and integrate ourselves into our new environment, and become more than just tourists. Because of our time here we are going home with important new perspectives on people and places different than us.
While I am excited to go home, I am going to miss so many things about our university here. I am going to miss how supportive we all were of each other–I could not have grown whatever is happening on my face if it weren’t for you all. I’m going to miss how excited we would all get about Thursday morning breakfasts. I’m going to miss the 10 peso empanadas even though they betrayed us and raised the press to 11 pesos. I’m going to miss Isa’s dedication to offering us the Breathing Room. I’m going to miss Paula’s “chicos” and talking with us in Spanish regardless of our level. I’m going to miss walking into the academic center everyday knowing there will be people waiting there who are happy to see me. But I think most of all, I’m going to miss all of you in this room that I was happy to see everyday.