Growing up I have always loved puzzles and solving problems that required logic, yet I did not discover a passion for mathematics until much later, when I left my country and my family began travelling from country to country frequently.

It all began for me when I joined a new school where everything was taught in a different language, namely English. Being taught in Arabic in school and living in a country where everyone spoke Arabic, I never really bothered much to learn English and when I arrived at this new school in this foreign country, I could barely speak a word of English.

This has led to me finding myself lost in most of my classes, not understanding a thing. But much to my shock, my mathematics class was different. Do not get me wrong, I still did not understand a word the teacher was speaking, yet I understood what he was trying to explain. Just by looking at the equations on the textbook and the examples the teacher wrote on the board, I could pretty much understand everything he was trying to convey. That was the day I came to the realization that mathematics transcends boarders. It is a universal language. The numbers and symbols were the same regardless of which language or country they were taught in. And for a teenager who was going through many changes, moving from one place to the other, changing schools, meeting people from all walks of life, numbers became one of the few constants in my life. And that is how I fell in love with mathematics.

Being part of AMSIConnect gave me the opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds, people who came from all across Australia to discuss mathematics. This just proves that mathematics really is a universal language.

Sarah Kawaguchi
Western Sydney University

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