My Life

The shadow over my dream

During these few days I have been trying to register to the Sun Yat-Sen University. Trying meaning there are lots of other student doing the same thing and it’s just not possible to do it in one day. I will hopefully have everything ready today afternoon.

Already in high school I dreamed about studying in China. First I thought going to Beijing and considered Beijing Language and Culture University. Then a year ago I finally decided to stay in Guangzhou and do my degree in Sun Yat-Sen University. That dream is coming true right now, but there’s still a shadow over it.

As a Finn the Finnish government gives me student money so I can pay for my tuition and living. But I have used most of it already and they will only continue paying me that money until May 2013. Today I heard that I will start my degree on the second year which mean I’m going to graduate in July 2014.

The problem is that for the third and last year my government isn’t helping me financially. There is only one solution to the problem and that is to work really hard for the following years and be really careful with spending money. Because I’m a student I can’t work officially here in China. My English also might not be good enough to teach it to Chinese students. I do some business in here, but it’s just in the beginning and earning enough money for tuition and living is not too easy.

In some cultures money is considered as a some kind of taboo. Finnish people for example don’t like talking about money, but in China money isn’t private information. I’m probably somewhere in the between and wanted to share this with you, because it’s unfortunately shadowing my excitement to start my degree.


  • Alexandra

    Don’t let this shadow your excitement! Three years is a long way away, and if you are really dedicated to finish your studies, and hold the positive attitude to do so, I believe the money will come your way. Whether in the form of scholarship, loan, savings, or family support! In Canada, we take on huge debt and save our own money to support our education. I really think its possible to make something work! China is the land of opportunity, best of luck Sara :)

    Sara Reply:

    Thank you Alexandra! I’ve kind of gotten out of the shock and going to the phase where I believe it will work out. I have some new small, but interesting job opportunities that came my way, so it’s looks little bit brighter right now.

  • vyara

    What are you kidding! Your english, your heritage and your skill is more than enough to get you tons of private students at the very least. Just post an add in the papers, I know friends from Hong Kong that got so many calls back, there are so many chinese that want a white english speaking teacher, doesnt matter about anything else, apparantly sometimes they dont even want a proper lesson, instead they want to conversate with you!!! Jia you!!! You can do it! Make little leaflets, give to your boyfriend, spread the word! You can do it!!!! and not very hard at all! (or so I hear anyway, when I’m looking for work I may just write the same type of post haha).

    Sara Reply:

    Thanks Vyara! You really think so? I don’t feel very satisfied with my English, especially with grammar. I’ve always got ok grades from English at school, but nothing excellent. I think I could try your suggestion and see what happens.

  • ordinary malaysian

    I thought China needs a lot of English language teachers. Like Vyara said, you should try advertising yourself or go check out the local papers for English language teachers. Cheerio, Sara, you will make it. Keep a positive attitude and you will find a way out to realise your dream of completing your education in China. Keep us posted.

    Sara Reply:

    I guess I could do tutoring, but not teaching. I think I’m not the best example for Chinese kids who want to be fluent in English. I also don’t have teaching experience. Thank you too Ordinary Malaysian, thank you for being so supportive!

  • Jack

    Yeh, I think there are a lot of money in the PRIVATE TUTORING sector. You can teach school kids English from wealthy family most likely. Just be careful with your own safety.

    Sara Reply:

    Thank you too Jack for your suggestion! I think I could do private tutoring, that would be most suitable for me.

  • Luo

    Don’t forget when you are enrolled, you can also get help from the university. In China, college cannot let you drop out just because you have finance problem. So if you cannot pay the final year tuition fee, just told your university officer. Although it is rare for foreigners, I think they will allow you loan from the university. Just like what they do for some Chinese students. A good side of the college loan is that it has no interest, you just need to pay it back after you get a job with proper income.

    Sara Reply:

    A teacher at Guangzhou University once told me that a loan from Chinese university must be paid back before you get the official graduation certificate. Is that so?

  • Hugh Grigg

    I had some similar difficulties on arrival here – I hadn’t expected I’d have to pay 6 months rent up front! Still, it’s not as serious for me as I’m only here for one year.
    I really think your English is perfectly good enough to tutor. This blog is excellently written, so you’d definitely have a lot of skills to pass on to students.