Originally from Shanghai, China, Yanjun spent her childhood in a farmland two hours away from the major city center, from where she witnessed the gradual reduction of farmland and the dramatic migration in her hometown. After completing her BA in public finance, she spent several years working on government construction projects in rural communities near Shanghai, which helped her understand the unique needs of the rural residents in those areas.

Those experience, along with her trips to Nepal, India, Japan, the United States, and Canada convinced her that there are a lot more she can learn from the developed countries to cultivate better rural communities in the developing ones, and all of these led her to M.Sc. in Rural Planning & Development at the University of Guelph.