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A trip to China as part of her studies at Edge Hill University has reaffirmed Lavinda Richards’ childhood dreams to go into business as she graduates with a 2:1.

The 25-year-old from Leeds was initially drawn to study a degree in a creative area. Deep down, however, she knew she had a passion for business and a desire to become a business or recruitment consultant in the longer term.

“Wanting to take this forward I sought the help of the Careers Service at Edge Hill University. It was only through their brilliant advice and support that I began the BSc (Hons) Business and Management. If they hadn’t been so encouraging, making me believe in myself, I don’t think I’d be graduating today.”

During her studies she successfully applied for the study China Programme, which built her confidence even more.

“The course has been everything I hoped it would be and the fact that it offers a work placement has been particularly good. A big highlight for me has been the Study China programme I took part in, which included visits to cultural sights, trips to businesses and time with families. Through this I learned the Mandarin language and was able to fully embrace the culture.

“My dissertation was about Chinese culture integrating into British management and ways to encourage UK business so it was a dream come true for me to visit the country I had written so much about. I’m a very positive person and open to new ideas so the experience really broadened my horizons and developed my own confidence for business even further. One day I hope to live and work in China so this experience will help me achieve my ambitions I’m sure.”

Lavinda also undertook some work experience as a teaching assistant to help boost her CV and joined the University’s Employability programme to discover what employers are looking for.

It’s these skills which have landed her a job working as an executive officer in immigration.

She said: “This is a fantastic stepping stone for me to be in a job like this because it’s helping me to develop my experience even further as I work towards my goal of becoming a management consultant.

“I believe my studies have enabled me to build on my existing skills and taught me that to reach your ambitions you need to keep going, even when things may get difficult. Through my time at Edge Hill I have developed my resilience and self-motivation to strive for a better life and now look forward to working in a career area that once I had never thought possible.”

Edge Hill University has recently established its own Confucius Institute supported by the Ministry of Education in China.  It aims to promote Chinese language and culture, support local Chinese teaching, and facilitate cultural exchanges.  A unique aspect of the CI programme at Edge Hill is that trainee teachers will have the option to learn Mandarin Chinese and visit China.  For some this will lead to a teaching qualification in Chinese.  Others will benefit by first-hand experience of the new global superpower. For more information about this development, visit the website www.edgehill.ac.uk/international.