Study Links’ History

Study Links International was established in 1998 by husband and wife team, Eric and Angela Fan.

Owing to their hard work, dedication and care, Study Links grew, evolving from a family business into the business we are today – a devoted company with a strong family ethos still at its core.

Foundations of Study Links

The true history of Study Links goes back to 1976 when Eric Fan, a young student from Hong Kong, moved to England to begin his own journey through the UK education system.

Study Links Eric first in the UK

Eric began studying at a Sixth Form College in Derbyshire where he met Angela. Both Angela and Eric completed their A-Levels before going on to graduate from university.

Study Links Young Students Angela and Eric

In 1983, the young couple moved to Hong Kong where Eric took up a Mathematics and Computer Science teaching position and Angela an English teaching position. When Angela first arrived in Hong Kong, she had only a basic knowledge of Cantonese, from cassette tapes and practising with Eric, but upon embracing the country, its people and culture, she soon became fluent.

Study Links Angela and Eric in Hong Kong

Study Links Eric with his students in Hong Kong

Study Links Angela with her students

In 1985 the couple were married and in 1986 their first child, Daniel, was born. Elise, their second child, was born in 1988. At this point, after 5 years in Hong Kong, the couple decided to move back to the UK so that their children could benefit from a British education. Eric was offered a job at a large company in Bradford, which is where the young family’s next adventure began.

Study Links Angela and Eric wedding

With Eric and Angela now in the UK, Eric’s nephew, Andy, came to stay with them in order to study in England. Eric and Angela knew the expectations that Andy’s family had, and so were able to find him a school befitting his needs, and voluntarily acted as his guardian.

Study Links Andy with baby Ailie

In 1989 the youngest member of the Fan family, Ailie, was born. The following year, Andy’s younger sister Carmen came to the UK along with two children of family friends. Again the couple were able to find appropriate schools for all children and acted as their guardians.

Study Links Ailie Fan born

Meanwhile, Angela continued teaching English to international students at a local FE College, and travelled the world on behalf of the college championing the benefits of the UK education system.

Between 1991 and 1998 an ever growing number of friends, family members, acquaintances and friends of friends came to the UK, with Angela and Eric continuing to volunteer to help find suitable schools and act as guardian.

Excelling in guardianship required a huge amount of dedication, work, emotion, and many sleepless nights. Correct guardianship involved following and supporting students on their academic journey, supporting them pastorally on their parents’ behalf and dealing with every type of emergency.

It was time consuming albeit very rewarding.

During school holidays the Fan family home was full to bursting with children to whom the couple were guardians. Although growing up with international students became second nature to the Fan family, after 10 years of juggling full-time careers and acting as voluntary guardians to an ever-growing number of students, it was looking as though it would no longer be possible. A decision had to be made: either they would need to stop acting as guardians, or they would completely dedicate themselves to professional guardianship in the UK.

Study Links Fan family with students circa 1998

Eric and Angela so truly enjoyed guardianship that they could not give it up, and seeing the success of their work, the value it added to the lives of the students, and the gratefulness of parents solidified their resolve to create what would become the UK’s leading guardianship team. In 1998, Study Links International was born.

Study Links International

The company officially began life in the Fan family’s dining room.

Three years later, in 2001, the family moved house and the company moved with them, into their new dining room.

Having previously hosted all students in their own home, the couple now made the decision to ask close friends and family members in the UK to provide secure and welcoming homestay accommodation for students. This was the first time that Angela and Eric outsourced any element of guardianship and it was a big milestone, allowing them to offer their services to more students.

In the following year, two more milestones were reached: Study Links employed their first member of staff, a part time secretary to help Angela, and they outsourced some of the student transportation to David Rushworth from local company, Rushworth Coaches.

Although the company was expanding, at this point it still only provided guardianship to students in Yorkshire.

Due to the company’s hard work and good reputation, Study Links continued to grow at an astounding rate. By 2008, the company employed five full time staff and had many more homestays on board, as well as numerous transport partners.

David Rushworth

David Rushworth

Study Links Eric, Angela and students in office dining room

Study Links had now outgrown the Fan’s family home and the business moved a short distance into a specially converted office.

First Office

Study Links first office

Current Office

Study Links current office

Within four years, the Study Links team had already outgrown their office. This time, as Study Links moved into another purpose built office, they had 10 employees and a network of part time staff throughout the country. The new office was – and still is – just a 5 minute walk from both the Fan family home and the original Study Links office.

Our company has gone from strength to strength, and leveraging our growing prestige and reputation as knowledgeable and experienced in our field, we hosted an ‘Education in the UK’ event at the British Embassy in Beijing in 2013.We invited special guest speakers from within the industry, and the event was attended by elite schools, businesses, parents and students from throughout China. Its purpose was to promote the UK’s education system, and covered such topics as: myths and truths about studying in the UK; how to choose the right school and university; visa applications, and the necessity of having a guardian.

The event was very well received, resulting in positive press and television coverage.

The Study Links you know and love

Today, our team is made up of 11 full-time staff and 20 colleagues around the UK. 

We speak Cantonese, Mandarin, French, German and Spanish.  We care for students from all over the world, studying throughout the UK.

We are immensely proud of our strong network of Study Links homestays, and of our numerous partners.

Although we continue grow and develop as an organisation, looking after more students and offering them more educational services, we always remain true to the family values which Angela and Eric established at the very heart of Study Links from the beginning.

Every student in our care still benefits from these – accomplished attentive, positive, principled and fresh – just as Andy first did when it was just Angela and Eric volunteering as guardians in their own home.

For every individual student under our care, Study Links understands that their experience in the UK is just one chapter in their book. Our role is to help make this chapter a success, and to instil them with the confidence, skills and tools to write the next.

The Study Links story is not over yet…

We look forward to writing the next adventure with you.

Interested in being a homestay? Request a call.