Candy Lan: Journey Towards Oxford

「 when it comes to dreams, firmly towards it I walk 」

    Allow me to introduce Qiuqin Lan — the founder of Royal Oxbridge Academy (Hong Kong). We usually call her Candy Lan.

Oxford University Msc Oxon
Capital Hills Investment Holding Ltd. General Manager
Hong Kong Shue Yan University International Affairs Units Honorary Adviser
Each of these identities alone can be regarded as a symbol of the leader.

Who would have thought that her story began from a small village of Taian Stone Building Huliao town Dabu County in Guangdong.

    Growing up with brothers and sisters she lived with their grandma. Parents were busy with their entrepreneurial struggles throughout the years. She studied in one of the best high schools in town. Life back then was like plain boiled water, nothing thrilling, but the evergreen mountains, blue sky with white clouds… Everything was just wonderful.

    Until the third year of high school, she ushered in the life's first challenge. She was transferred to Shenzhen Shangbu high school.

     According to Ms Lan, since she started to learn English, her father opened his mind to embrace the thought of Internationalized education which focused on her English ability. He even hired a private English teacher.
    Father insisted that children must finish university courses first before they have the chance to further their study abroad.
    This choice granted her life-long friends she is now still working with when she decided to start her business career the second time.

    As a liberal art student, she fortunately met her experienced head teacher. That was the time when she first realized the rarity of encountering a scholarly teacher and devoted friends. The head teacher managed her unique teaching methods well. She taught in accordance of their aptitudes. Some mischievous students even discovered their own pursuits and dreams. After graduation, Candy Lan was enrolled in Shenzhen University.

    Freshman year, she was again fortunate enough to meet a teacher that sincerely assisted her of campus life and came across an unprecedented broad platform. She actively participated in activities of the student union, various types of communities and clubs such as English corner and volunteer jobs, and made endeavors to master different foreign languages. Candy Lan was planning to further her study abroad.

    In those days, you can always find Ms Lan rushing through the lawns between the library and classrooms, which has become an image of normalcy.
    Before starting her Sophomore year, the Hong Kong immigration application was approved in advance and that meant she would have to move to Hong Kong with her family. Arriving at a novel but challenging International mega metropolis, she was caught in a dilemma to decide whether to start her business career in her father's companies right away or to find a place for herself in institutions of higher education?
    The reality was crueler than she thought, due to lack of preparations, it was too late for her to continue her study in any public university in Hong Kong.The path ahead left her at sea.
    One day, while reading newspapers, her father found the student recruitment information of Shue Yan University. The recruitment was in the form of independent tests. The subjects of the test were Chinese and English which both happened to be her strengths. Therefore, she had the chance of becoming a freshman in the first and currently the only Hong Kong private university.

    The Principal back then was also the founder of this university. Principle Qirong Zhong has led the open-minded ideological trend of Hong Kong universities. For the pursuit of cultivating the best elites in Hong Kong, she paid great attentions to inheriting and carrying forward the Chinese traditional culture especially Confucianism humane spirit and kindheartedness. She also created the ace departments such as Shue Yan University’s department of social work. Shue Yan University did not succumb to the rigid education system, instead, it adhered to a four-year undergraduate cultivation scheme and even took in the pattern only the foreign universities would choose — easy to be admitted, hard to graduate.
    The educational philosophy of Shue Yan University — "no child left behind" and “Being kindhearted to the world" have left a deep impression on Ms Lan. She’s grateful for the pattern that the Principle chose out of love and the concept of freedom that gave thousands of students who had no chance to be admitted by Hong Kong's three major public universities a precious second opportunity to further their studies.
     Shue Yan stays unique and opens its arms to all talents.

     There is one small issue that’s worth mentioning.
    The year when Ms Lan was taking the recruitment test, Chinese professor Mo was responsible for the entrance examination composition. Ms Lan chose the topic "the window”. In her composition, she described a newly-arrived girl who moved to Hong Kong from mainland. Through a small window, she was facing the Nathan Road. All the high-rise buildings seemed to take up all the space. The stars and the infinite universe couldn’t be seen somehow. It provoked her thoughts about the confusion towards the future and left her a long sigh.
     After reading her outstanding article that was written by a pen (the habit of mainland students at that time), professor Mo couldn’t hide his excitement. He immediately displayed her writing as an example. Despite a mainland-traditional sloganeering ending, he said, this article had a lot of things sparkling that was worth reflecting on.
    A Small issue, though for her, is a significant encouragement.

     However, facing with a complete different education system which all the courses was taught in English, it’s conceivable that her first semester in university was extremely hard. She did not retreat.
    Teachers and friends in Shue Yan spared no effort to help her. By working hard she won herself a scholarship and even went further to challenge the "2 + 2" project of the economics department abroad in the second semester. As a Junior, with the allies of twelve, she and her classmates were on the journey towards Leicester University. As a total stranger to Britain, she fortunately met the mentor of her lifetime.

     In the second semester, professor suggested that she should set a goal of furthering her study in Oxford or Cambridge. After an on-the-spot investigation, she strongly sensed the unity and warmth of Oxford University brought by various colleges circling around the centre of Oxford which seemed to fit her personalities such as frugality. From then on, she fell in love deeply with the university that all students desire for.
    The professor encouraged her to muster her confidence and search for the right course. Eventually, she managed to apply for the one-year master degree course of Oxford University's Msc in Economics for Development (if given the chance to reschedule, she would choose to apply for a two-year master degree course and take the degree of the PhD directly. It was a pity that the plan was not considerate).
    Next, she arranged herself a compact schedule aiming at a high score. Efforts paid off in the end, she got the letter of admission from Oxford University. After confirming the admission, it was then when she decided to inform her families about this thrilling news. The joy of her families was beyond description.

    After biding her farewell to Leicester University, her first month in Oxford was not as smooth as she thought.

     At the beginning, she suddenly had a severe issue and took a surgery in a hospital of Oxford.
    Exotic locales, academic burdens, physical discomfort… The days living in Hong Kong with her families lingered in her mind. The mood of depression seemed to be quite unfit for the breath-taken scenery inside the campus. Almost giving in to the anxiety, she had the thoughts about giving up the idea of striving in Oxford.
    Considering the situation, her mother decided to fly to Oxford to accompany her daughter. However, after struggling with her mind, she made her choice of continuing her study alone since her mother was growing older and older but she couldn’t take good care of her due to heavy burdens of academic assignments.
    Eventually, she was determined to complete her journey on her own being immersed in the strong academic atmosphere. Keep running forward.

     Oxford, the oldest university in the English-speaking world, summons the elites all around the world. To be one of them, the pressure is hard to bear. Besides, there were only seventy students who came from China including Hong Kong in total.
    When everything familiar was fading away, could she hold on?

     Out of question, she simply fully put herself into the academic battlefield. She didn’t even sleep at all a few days before the final examinations. When the bell at the end of the exam rang, she walked out of the examination room with bloodshot eyes.
    It came to the day when the examination school announced the result of the exam, with joy and delight she found her name on that graduation list.

    At this point, Ms Lan has officially become an Oxford University graduate gaining a Msc in Economics for Development master degree.

     At this point, has it come to an end of her striving story?

    After graduation, the Asian financial crisis in 1997 was raging through Hong Kong. Her family firms were in urgent need of help. It was the eldest daughter obligation to put her heart into her father’s company. On the other hand, she needed to start up her own International import and export trade business and a manufacturing enterprise.
    Once she began, fifteen years went by. Time elapsed.

     Brother and sister were studying abroad. As the eldest among them all, she must bear the weight of the whole family. For fifteen years, she quietly shouldered the heavy responsibilities. Therefore, she had little working experience outside her family firms. Silently, days moved on.
    She rethought her path and the road ahead then decided to make a great change striking a balance between father’s enterprise, family, children and her dream.
    When it comes to her dream, firmly towards it she walked.

    What is her dream then?
     It’s something that was not mentioned above, something that is the essence of this article.
    Her dream was to set up a social enterprise.

    Ms Lan intended to try as hard as she could to make contributions to social welfare supported by the profit of social enterprise business in order to help those students who have the potential to go abroad to further their studies but limited by objective conditions.
    She was determined to take actions about enabling the Internationalized education to break through the bonds of objective conditions and implementing the policy of public welfare effectively. With the knowledge she learned she longs to repay the society.
    As a matter of fact, Ms Lan had already been seeking for opportunities to commit herself to community service, charity and International education hoping to help those who are in need.

    Families are very supportive. She is grateful for this unity of her family which was inherited from father's spirits of solidarity, diligence and dedication.
    Over the years, however, the once glorious education background has been totally unrelated to the 15 years of trading working experience.

    At first, she joined a non-profit organization called Family Foundation in Hong Kong which mainly promotes the government policies about the harmony of every family. Candy Lan worked as a community volunteer at the same time. Through these practice, she could finally explore the possibilities of enhancing the social welfare.

    Deeply confused about how to set up a social enterprise, she went to different universities for guidance.
    Influenced by the entrepreneurial spirit of her father and with the assistance of her mentor, she made up her mind to establish the Royal Oxbridge Academy (Hong Kong).

    Earlier this year, in order to create a chance to realize her dream, she returned to her alma maters — Oxford University and Hong Kong Shue Yan University. She managed to create a non-profit project — 【Oxford Intern】. This project provides an opportunity for those undergraduates who are interested in social practice abroad and the scholarship that would make their wishes come true. She also launched an exchange programme that calls on students to study in other universities including Peking University, Tsinghua University. She took a big step by promoting these programmes and she therefore had a great opportunity to search for multiple ways to realize public welfare in education.

    Oxford was originally cooperated with commercial corporations or financial institutions about this intern programme. However, the outcome and the effectiveness are quite disappointing compared with the work non-profit organizations have done.

    Ms Lan was later invited to be the honorary adviser of Hong Kong Shue Yan University International Affairs Department. She not only promoted the friendships between Oxford’s alumni and Shue Yan University and other universities in Hong Kong, but also made donations to Keble College’s Talbots fund every year. She even went further to set up a special scholarship in Shue Yan University using her name.
    She once received help from her Alma mater, now it’s her turn to make some differences to support their future.

    Bridging the gaps between the colleges and universities around the world is an unstoppable trend. For her, it’s simply a duty as an alumna.

    Currently, she is busy promoting a non-profit programme in Shenzhen University called 【Summer in Oxford; Summer Campus】to bridge the gap between Oxford University and Shenzhen University and build up interscholastic relations to help students gain the authentic Oxford learning experience. By doing this, she intended to motivate students to form high aspirations. The core concept of Summer in Oxford is to let students from different backgrounds have the same opportunity to experience Oxford's life and pursue dreams of their own.

    The next move of Ms Lan, is to integrate all resources and build a public service platform of British top universities providing all students with consulting service in a non-profit way. Further than that, she will devote herself into helping students fulfill their dreams of higher education.
    When the Royal Oxbridge Academy (Hong Kong) with its public welfare projects headed towards the right direction as she expected, she would use the profits to create the Royal Oxbridge Academy (Hong Kong) foundation in order to better accomplish her duty.

    It seems that her dream, just as if the Oxford once to her, is actually not out of reach. Once retired from the frontline, she would turn her life’s direction to academic field doing research about social enterprise based on the experience of creating social enterprises.
    Her next dream is to go back to Oxford and gain the PhD degree.

    Up to now, these are the stories of the founder of Royal Oxbridge Academy (Hong Kong) and the creator of 【Summer in Oxford】.
    Her dreams and her struggles.

     Do you have a dream?
     Please remember this, when it comes to dreams, just firmly walk towards it.