Editor's note: Another year and another class of graduating students will say goodbye to their alma mater and start a new journey. The four years spent at UIC is some of the best years of their life. How many stories and sceneries have been treasured along the way? What does college mean to them? The following is the story of Year 4 Accounting graduate Li Xushan.

At a High Table Dinner held by the Division of Business Management (DBM), Li Xushan, as a student representative, spoke about her challenges in university. Her fluent English expression earned her a warm round of applause. The guests of the evening were Vice President of Alibaba; Executive Director and CEO of Intime Retail Group, Chen Xiaodong; as well as, Vice Chairman and President of Xpeng Motors, Gu Hongdi.

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Li Xushan

However, no one thought that when she first entered UIC as this timid girl who rarely spoke in public that she will become an open-minded and strong talking lady. During her four years at UIC, this girl from Zhongshan, Guangdong, has grown and changed a lot.

Li Xushan's speech potential was discovered when she took part in the ‘we are on the Way - the Belt & Road Summer Programme' as a freshman. At that time, teachers and students visited the Czech Republic, where she had the chance to understand the opportunities and challenges that Chinese companies were facing in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative.

After the inspection, Li Xushan was selected by the teacher as one of the representatives to give a summary speech. She explained that the preparation time was very short, and the psychological pressure was great at the time, but Associate Professor of the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences, Dr Edorado Monaco, kept encouraging her and helped her to build confidence.

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Li Xushan giving a speech at the High Table Dinner

Although Li Xushan was a little nervous during the speech, she finished it smoothly. After returning to UIC, she was invited to share her experience on the trip to the Czech Republic in a lecture.

Li Xushan explained how the trip to the Czech Republic was a turning point in her university life. It broadened her horizons and made her fearless in encountering difficulties. She explained how UIC is full of opportunities and challenges, ranging from giving a presentation in class to hosting a forum and speaking as a student representative. With support, Li Xushan started to host or give speeches on different occasions such as forum, award ceremony, lecture and high table dinner.

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President of UIC Prof Tang Tao (left) with Li Xushan (right)

Although she is often active in various campus activities, Li Xushan's learning has not fallen at all. In 2016, Li Xushan passed UIC’s Guangdong Comprehensive Evaluation Entrance Test and won an Admission Scholarship for Guangdong students. Li Xushan won the First Class Award for three consecutive academic years in addition to winning a National Scholarship in 2018. However, Li Xushan believes that academic performance does not represent everything. In UIC, it is more important to expand knowledge and become an irreplaceable all-rounded talent.

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Li Xushan earned a National Scholarship in 2018

When choosing a general education course, Li Xushan chose Spanish, History and Civilization, Religion, Law, and Sociology based on her interests. These courses helped her to see the world she was in more comprehensively.

Through a Whole Person Education course, Li Xushan started to practice yoga, which quickly became an interest and then later a part of her daily life. She often practices yoga in the dormitory or at UIC’s gymnasium, which allows her to maintain a firm and peaceful mind and something that she has described as a magic weapon to relieve stress.

Li Xushan said that cultivating interest and tapping potential opportunities are her biggest gains in college. UIC offered her a broad platform that has equipped her with a “new brain”.

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Li Xushan practising yoga

In 2019, Ching-Fai Shuk Wah Scholarship awarded Li Xushan for having the talent of service-oriented leadership. As a fresh graduate, Li Xushan continues to help junior students by tutoring them for four hours every week. In addition to teaching accounting, she also shares her stories with the students. Now, Li Xushan is looking forward to starting a new journey, planning to go to the London School of Economics (LSE) in the UK to study for a Master of Science in Accounting, Organisations and Institutions. But she said UIC is the place where the dream begins and will always be the place that she loves.

Reporters: Samuel Burgess, Covee Wang