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Liu Ran Lydia

'CUHK gave me many memorable experiences and countless rewards. I really don't want to leave!' said Liu Ran Lydia who is going to pursue her PhD studies at the University of Pennsylvania this fall. She will continue her research on rural China, with a focus on education inequality and migrant labours.

Originally from Tai'an, Shandong Province, Lydia was interested in social science. She believed that Hong Kong's openness to different opinions made it an ideal place to study. And CUHK turned out to be exactly what she wanted. 'The campus is beautiful, quiet and friendly. I've met many wonderful professors to whom I'm grateful for the ways they have shaped my life and perspective. Teachers at CUHK treat students as friends. Though I've graduated, I write to my teachers and receive encouragement and sound advice. I am thankful to my supervisor, Prof. Chan Kin-man, who has influenced me a lot since my undergraduate years. He's helped me to find my research interest and guided me along the way.'

While writing her senior thesis, Lydia decided to pursue a higher degree in sociology with an emphasis on contemporary China studies. 'The University was best for me because I could continue my research with Professor Chan, and the Universities Service Centre for China Studies has valuable resources that I needed.'

The extracurricular activities were also attractive. She said, 'CUHK has all kinds of student societies: music, film, debate, drama, comics.... If you can't find one you like, you can start one because the University provides us with space and resources to do what we like. I started the Mandarin Drama Society in 2007. Now we have at least two performances every year.'

'I joined the CUHK Mandarin Debate Team in Year 1 and won the championship in the Intervarsity Putonghua Debate Competition. We went on to win a lot of prizes in debating competitions. Throughout the process, I met my closest friends, who have supported me in every aspect of my life.' Lydia's other unforgettable memories include visits to Yale University, Miami and Taiwan under exchange programmes, conducting independent field research on non-governmental organizations in China, as well as receiving the Cheng Ming Award.

Lydia concluded, 'The most important reward I got from spending seven wonderful years at CUHK was the nurture of my independent and critical thinking. Lydia would like to tell freshmen that campus life is not just about classrooms and textbooks. They should also join student societies and meet new friends. 'Be energetic and confident, and you can basically achieve whatever you want. There are plenty of opportunities at the University.'