4 min read

Here at the Alumni Association, we enjoy reading your exciting journeys. But, we are also quite smitten at heart and love hearing your romantic stories too.

Over the years we have spoken to multiple graduates who met during their time at University. Each February, with Valentine’s Day approaching, we will share our University of Portsmouth love stories.

This year, we wanted to celebrate one of our alumni power couples, David Griffiths and Yanessa Wong Griffiths who married last November. They have excelled professionally and their relationship has gone from strength to strength.

Yanessa studied BA (Hons) Architecture and David studied BSc (Hons) Economics and met during the second year of their studies. We spoke with them to hear about their journey since donning their graduation gowns in 2013.

They met at Gunwharf Quays and first impressions were good all round. “I remember first meeting him and thinking he was strong, polite and a true gentleman.” David was enamoured by Yanessa too. “I thought she was very beautiful, and when we spoke I knew I had fallen for her. I needed to get to know her.”

David and Yanessa shared the rest of their University experience and after three years of hard work were ready to graduate. This was not only the start of their professional career but a monumental day in their relationship too.

“Our graduations were held on two separate days but they were beautiful, we were there for one another. My family flew in from Hong Kong and David’s travelled from Wales. It was more than just graduation, it was the first time that both our families met and joined us on one of the most important days of our lives.” Yanessa tells us.

After graduation, the couple had some decisions to make. Yanessa had lived away from her home and family during University, she wanted to return to Hong Kong. She turned down a job interview in London having received a confirmed offer of employment from Benoy, Hong Kong working as an Architectural Assistant.

David, on the other hand, initially wanted to work in London. The couple tried long-distance for two months, then he booked a one-way ticket to Hong Kong to see if there were any job opportunities. The move was made permanent, after securing a role as an Underwriting Executive for shipping risks in a mutual fund under a British firm based in Hong Kong.

The couple stayed in Hong Kong for four and a half years where Yanessa continued her studies with a Masters in Architecture. David later received a job opportunity within the same company in Singapore so the couple relocated, continuing their career success.

Yanessa now works as a Senior Architectural Designer for Aedas. “I’m currently working on airport projects - Millions of people utilise these buildings on the daily, and they really do stand the test of time. Working on large, expansive projects that become monumental landmarks in countries and cities is definitely one of the main perks of my job.”

David works as a Senior Underwriter, and his favourite part of the job is the people and travelling within the shipping industry.

“Business trips involve meeting and working with different nationalities and cultures towards a common goal. The work itself, at its core, is helping businesses and that’s been rewarding so far.”

They have now been living in Singapore for three years and recently tied the knot. David and Yanessa intend to travel more and then settle down somewhere. They feel blessed to have lived in Hong Kong and then Singapore, but will always hold fond memories of University and the city of Portsmouth; they’re thankful that their University of choice led them to one another.

“We’re grateful that our time in University brought us together, and that we met someone so alike in family values and professional growth. In the workplace, we are both very focused people and have learnt to just relax and enjoy time together after our working day. Now that we’re married, we have plans to travel more and eventually settle down somewhere. As for now, we are still young and really excited to see what the future holds for us! Thanks, UoP!”