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Counting her blessings

August 8, 2016

Counting her blessings
Name: Boya Zhang; Age: 23; Hometown: Tian Jin, China; Program: Double major Accounting & Financial Economics (BMOS/BSc), Third Year

Three years ago, Boya Zhang’s parents sold their apartment to send her to university more than 10,000 kilometres from their home in China.

“It was really hard for me to come here,” said Zhang, an only child. “My parents have a regular income and many people around them were against it because I had already received a great offer from a Chinese university that would cost much less. But my parents and I believed coming here would be a better opportunity for my future.”

Despite taking extra courses to graduate early, volunteering and working part-time, she maintained a high average, making her eligible to receive more than $8,000 in scholarships and bursaries.

Last September, the sacrifices paid off when she was offered positions at two of the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms, upon her graduation this fall.

“I was so excited when I heard that I phoned my parents at midnight in China. They couldn’t sleep after. They were so happy.”

Soon after that call, Zhang’s father suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. Then, her mother developed epilepsy from stress.

“I struggled with whether I should go back to help my family or stay here and focus on my studies. My family couldn’t really afford for me to go back to China. I was so panicked.”

After arranging to make up her exams, Zhang went home to China. While caring for her parents, she learned she was receiving the James G. Wetmore Scholarship in Economics.

“I was so relieved. It really lessened my financial burden,” Zhang said. “I’m so lucky I came to Canada and I’m grateful for the support so many people have given me. It makes me want to help others.”

This article appeared in the 2016 edition of Annual Impact
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