The University of Alaska Anchorage's spring commencement celebrates hard work and dedication coming to fruition. It's also a time for reflection and appreciation of relationships built over the course of a college career.

This semester's commencement speaker is Geser Bat-Erdene, president of the Union of Students of UAA (USUAA). When he speaks to his fellow graduates, he'll be addressing those subjects and much more.

"Hopefully I'll be able to use this opportunity to share a little bit about my background, and some of the observations I made being an international student in the U.S.," said Bat-Erdene.

Bat-Erdene, 27, is a Mongolian national majoring in finance. He says he is very much looking forward to Sunday, where he will be able to speak about his time as USUAA president, and the relationships he's created.

"The biggest thing I was able to get out of this is meeting new people, establishing connections, and making lifelong friends," he said.

Bat-Erdene says he cherishes those friendships and appreciates the ability to share his culture while learning a new one. He's all about understanding the importance of bridging divides — English is Bat-Erdene's fourth language.

"My first language is Mongolian," he said. "I went to Russian school and then high school in Japan, so Russian and Japanese. And I minored in French here."

When Bat-Erdene addresses his family, friends and fellow graduates on Sunday, he'll be in his wheelhouse thanks to his work at USUAA.

"I always had a passion in serving others," Bat-Erdene said. "So student government in the university is much different compared to whatever I've experienced before, I mean high school student government and stuff like that. Because it gives you an excellent opportunity, to anyone, to exercise leadership and teamwork skills."

He'll use those skills as he makes his way to Washington, D.C., where he plans to take an internship and pursue a master's degree in public administration.

In the meantime, Bat-Erdene takes great pride in the accomplishment of taking the great stage to address UAA's graduates.

"I hope that generations of international students or following Seawolves will understand from this experience that nothing is impossible and, you know, hopefully, be inspired doing more things for others."

Geser Bat-Erdene will speak at the 2019 UAA spring commencement ceremony taking place Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Alaska Airlines Center.

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