TWO strangers who fell in love at first sight half-way around the world but were too shy to speak have thanked a university for bringing them together.
Xiaoyang Wang and Wang Liu, both 26, grew up 600 miles apart in China, she in Beijing and he in Nanjing.
They say from the moment they first saw each other on a Beijing city street as they each prepared to leave China, they knew they would one day get married.
They were amazed a few days later to not just be on the same plane to London, but to both be enrolling at the University of Portsmouth and studying the same course.
They graduated last month alongside 38 other students from the class of 2014 at a ceremony in Shanghai, China, attended by the university’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Graham Galbraith.
Remembering the moment she first saw Wang, Xiaoyang said: ‘When I saw him, I thought, oh my God, he is the one, I’m going to marry him. He later told me he fell in love with me at first sight too, but neither of us said anything to the other. We were too shy.’
She and Wang were unaware they were booked on the same flight or that they were both being met at Heathrow airport by the same person from the university. They were also studying the same course, MA International Business and English.
Xiaoyang said: ‘When we arrived in London I had lots of luggage. I’d taken so many things and I couldn’t work out how to carry everything.
‘Then I saw him standing near the luggage carousel. I couldn’t believe it.
‘He was carrying hardly anything so I thrust some of my bags in his direction and asked him to help me. We began dating the next day and five days later admitted to each other that we were in love.’
Three years later, in August this year, when both had finished their studies, they were married.
Xiaoyang said: ‘We reckon falling in love at first sight and getting married was our destiny. The coincidences were just amazing. Neither of us ever imagined that falling in love at first sight could happen in real life so when it did, we didn’t take much time to think about getting married, we just knew our destinies were tied together.’
Xiaoyang now works for China’s State Development and Investment Corporation and Wang works for Beijing Leader and Harvest Electric Technologies.
Looking back at their time in England, Xiaoyang says: ‘We both enjoyed studying in England and really thank Portsmouth for bringing us together.’