“It takes 10 years to grow a tree, but it takes 100 years to cultivate a man,” said William Yip, founding president of the Concordia University Hong Kong Foundation (CUHKF), on its 10th anniversary in 2009.
Those sage words reflect the perseverance of Concordia’s promising Chinese students who benefit from the foundation’s prestigious scholarships.
The CUHKF, which promotes Concordia in China, was established by Hong Kong-based alumni in 1999 to help Chinese students excel.
The organization’s entrance awards have eased the academic paths of more than 40 Chinese students since its inception. And they have inspired their recipients.
“This is not just about recognition for my efforts,” says Yuxuan Zhang, a second-year biochemistry student who earned a Dr. Lui Che Woo Entrance Scholarship worth $10,000 for 2012-13. “The scholarship gives me the power and confidence to work harder.”
This year 11 students in three faculties earned foundation awards worth $10,000, $5,000 and $3,000.
“Winning was one of the happiest moments of my life,” says Sheng Pu, a 19-year-old engineering student from southeast China and recipient of a $10,000 Dr. Lui Che Woo Entrance Scholarship. “It has reinforced the idea that hard work pays off.”
It is not all toil. Between courses, Pu unwinds by shooting hoops on Loyola Campus. He says he hopes to further impress his parents with a master’s degree.
Yonnie Chan, an 18-year-old who grew up in Vancouver, learned of her scholarship last May at her high school graduation in Hong Kong. “I plan on using the award as an opportunity to better myself,” says Chan, a first-year communication studies student.
Chan, whose dream is to work for New York city-based Vice magazine, says winning was a tremendous honour because Concordia was her first choice of study.
Concordia boasts more than 600 alumni from Hong Kong and is home to more than 1,100 visa students from Hong Kong and mainland China.
China has consistently been in first or second spot as the country of origin for the university’s international students.
Beyond scholarship, the foundation has helped the university forge ties with academic institutions in Asia. It also works with alumni chapters in Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Zhang, who came to Canada in 2010, likens the foundation to life coaches — a support system he hopes will bridge his road to a further degree in medical research. “They’re a group of people ready to help and who care about my dreams,” he says.