Summer is coming to an end

Summer is slowly coming to its end here in Guangzhou, even though the temperatures outside doesn’t really confirm that. One day it’s raining cats and dogs, the next day I’m melting under the harsh sun light. In this post I want to share what I’ve been doing this Summer and my plans for the rest of 2013.

Work

I finished my last semester in June and started working from home. I spent my working time in front of my computer just to spend my free time at the same spot too! I didn’t really write my thesis that much, but I visited Hong Kong, watched TV series, helped a few customers to buy products and planned for my future.

Working from home wasn’t as easy as I had thought. You might remember, that I live together with my Chinese boyfriend’s parents, so I’m almost never alone at home. I have to drop everything when it comes time for lunch or dinner. For the parents it’s also a bit hard to understand why I spend my whole time in front of this piece of electronics, day after day.

I also find it hard to concentrate at home (that’s why I’m writing this from Starbuck’s). I suddenly find my self longing for an office! Or renovating the old house to our liking so I could have more time alone at home.

Books

Besides work I’ve been reading more books when I noticed how easy and cheap it’s to read Kindle books on my iPad mini. I read two books about the place between China and South Korea, books about making something amazing out of your life and started reading in Chinese too, after a long pause. I recommend $100 Startup and The 4-Hour Workweek, even though parts of the latter didn’t really fit my situation.

Blog

I’ve also been planning what to do with my blog, how to grow it and make it more useful for all of us. I’m trying to post more now and answer questions from you, as I get emails and messages from readers every week. I hope later this blog would pay for it self, web hosting isn’t free you know, or even more. I would love to see this hobby of mine bringing some income that would allow me to use more time with all of you.

Thesis

The Big Project for this year is of course my thesis which is about study motivation among Finnish exchange students in China. I want to find out why us Finns study Chinese. There seems to be absolutely no research about Finnish people studying Chinese at the moment, at least I haven’t been able to find any. So I though answering the “why” would be a good start.

I have big hopes for my thesis as well. I’ve gotten good grades from writing courses at university, writing has always been my strong subject. I’m quite sure teachers have quite high hopes for me as well, I’m kind of a good student. Getting anything than the best grade would be a disappointment for me personally, but it’s not easy to get. There a lot of work to be done, huge huge amount of work, this isn’t something I can finish the last night (like my essay homework).

Final Semester

As I have paid a full tuition fee for my last semester, I also want to make the most of it. I’m planning on enrolling some selective courses that I find interesting in order to keep on learning. I also like the uni environment and don’t want to lose it so quickly.

Future

At the end of the Summer I met a Teacher M who is such an amazing character. She has the power in her to encourage others and make you believe you can do anything. She asked me why I haven’t been tutoring students in Chinese, I said I’m afraid I’m not good enough, and so I realized that fear had been keeping me from trying new things. I’m far from perfect, wouldn’t call my self fluent yet, but I sure can teach beginners a thing or two about this fascinating language!

Along of my new realisations about my self, I’ve been thinking of applying for scholarships in hope to start master’s degree next year. My first option would be to continue with Teaching Chinese as a Second Language (TCSL), but I might apply for other majors as well just in case.

Right now I want to pursue jobs and projects like teaching, tutoring, translating and interpreting. I hope to try some of these before end of the year. I want to do the “impossible” and combine my passions and my work. I will only know if it works, if I try!

  • Don

    Hi, Sara. I visit your blog by accident. I’m amazed at it. My name is Don. I am a native in Guangzhou. It’s so interesting to hear a foreigner talking about your hometown from a different perspective.

    [Reply]

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Hi Don! So nice to have a real local finding your way to my blog. I would love to hear what are your favourite places in Guangzhou and what you do on your freetime. :)

    [Reply]

  • Don

    My favourite places includes: Xiguan, Dongshan, Ershadao, Zhujiang new town etc. I read your blogs. I seems that you’ve been to more places than me. I feel a little ashamed… When talking about freetime, I usually go to Karaoke, cinema and play basketball and board games with my friends.
    BTW, did you ever hear about Toastmasters club? It’s an International English Speech Organization. You can check it out on the net. I am a member of SYSU GZ club. We hold a meeting once a week on Sunday. Would you like to join us when you feel free?
    my email: mccoy018@gmail.com

    [Reply]

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    I’ve actually heard about them at weibo if I remember correctly. I don’t usually go to SYSU at weekends, but I’ll see if I have time to visit your meetings some time :)

    [Reply]