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Cennydd John

Founder of the UK’s first bilingual Mandarin-English early years education group, Cennydd John explains how it all started with Chinese studies at Edinburgh.

Name

Cennydd John

Degree 

Modern Chinese Studies with Japanese Electives

Year of Graduation 2006

Your time at the University  

Cennydd John

I came to Edinburgh as it was one of the only universities at the time to offer Chinese. I was and still am passionate about the country and the language and Edinburgh offered me the chance to study it, along with its history, culture and philosophies (and a bit of Japanese on the side).

I had spent many a happy summer up during the festival and had fallen in love with the City’s history, architecture, close sense of community and vicinity to beautiful countryside. There wasn’t another option really.

Your experiences since leaving the University

I am the CEO and Founder of Hatching Dragons, the UK’s first bilingual Mandarin-English early years education group. We have three nurseries that deliver fully immersion bilingual education in London, aiming to foster fluency in two of the world’s most important languages and nurture intercultural understanding in young children.

I trace a direct line from my time in Edinburgh to the idea to set up Hatching Dragons: the formative experiences of travelling to China in my second year created my desire to develop something that would encourage greater understanding between us all. And the language skills I developed at Edinburgh basically allowed me to get this far!

And now we’re on the cusp of digitalising our methodology, working with some of the best known research institutes out there on our educational model, to ensure that what we do can be replicated by any other operator who also wants to deliver bilingual programmes in their nursery schools around the world. It’s exciting, but wouldn’t have happened had I not started this journey at Edinburgh, learning Chinese all those years ago.

I trace a direct line from my time in Edinburgh to the idea to set up Hatching Dragons: the formative experiences of travelling to China in my second year created my desire to develop something that would encourage greater understanding between us all.

Cennydd JohnCEO and Founder of Hatching Dragons

Alumni wisdom

Stray off the path and do so wilfully. Following conventional wisdom isn’t always wise. No one discovered anything by following the well beaten path. Beat your own and do so in defiance of the people who call you crazy. You may be. But as far as I’m concerned, at least you would have tried, and in doing so, you’ll learn that life is about engineering the art of the possible and encouraging others to think outside of the box. 

Related links

Hatching Dragons (external link)