The words of Marshall Goldsmith: “What got you here won’t get you there” was what I recall chanting while about to enter into one of the newest experiences of my life. Being the focal point of more than 250 people and ensuring to engage them in a speech of five minutes, felt like living a surreal moment in a foreign stage in China. The 4th AUAP (Association of Universities in Asia and the Pacific) Speech Competition held at Zhengzhou, China was my golden opportunity. Participants from six different countries joined to interconnect and partake in the competition. Two selected participants went from the University of Asia Pacific, Bangladesh which included me from the Department of English and Abu Noman Mohammad Rezwan from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. My teacher Ms. Afroza Aziz Suchana, Assistant Professor of the Department of English, UAP also joined the event as our mentor. We were also the only participants from Bangladesh in the event.

An amateur speaker myself, unlikely to stand on stage willingly, I was standing in an amphitheater filled with people from all over Asia, as I gave my speech about Abraham Maslow’s theories of life. Despite all the eyes glued with intensity I was not expecting, I had the confidence to hold the microphone and say what I wanted to. Being inexperienced in public speaking, it was a huge attempt from my side, as my nerves shook till the end of my speech. But then again I might not have been setting my goals high enough. Those five minutes taught me that there was no boundary to my ambitions and achievements, as I did not acknowledge my own potentiality till I heard those deadening claps from the crowd.

The competition gave me a scope to understand myself and the variant cultures of which I learnt through interacting with numerous contestants from all around Asia. Each of them brought specialty of their own through their culture and shared with us. The interconnectedness brought new perspectives in my life, as I peeped into their culture with a broader lens. SIAS University introduced us with the Chinese culture. The organizers took us on a short tour to Denfang Star Observatory and the Shaolin Temple. In Star Observatory we learnt how the Chinese used Astronomy and in the old relics of Shaolin Temple we discovered the history of Buddhism in China. The China trip would be incomplete without visiting the gigantic Great Wall. So we took a detour to Beijing and marked our footprints on one of the world’s greatest wonders. It is truly a wonder how strong it stands holding myriads of histories through centuries. Such was my experience in the foreign streets of China as a student who never thought she could represent her university and country in a land which was unknown to her.

2nd year 1st semester