My Life

Where Are My Friends?

I hate being an exchange student. Friends come and go way too soon. Most of the people I hang out with only stay here for few months and after that I maybe never hear from them again. I have had amazing time but it have been different for me and them. They are experiencing this exiting time in China, which is like a once in a lifetime opportunity. But for me this is just the beginning of my life in China. I have time to see and go, make and lose friends.

There are people that I have known the whole time I have been here, which is almost a year. But soon they will be gone too, the last ones after the summer. And isn’t a year just a short time in a lifetime? I have a friend I’ve known for 15 years, but because of the thousands of kilometers, we rarely talk or write nowadays. Luckily we still can meet about once a year in Finland.

But where are the friends that will stay? Next Autumn I will start in Sun Yat Sen University, if everything goes according to plan, and should stay there  3 years. Will I make a lot of new friends there? Can I enjoy their company the whole time I’m studying there? What about after that?

I know I should write more. Write emails, letters and text messages to the people I call my friends. So we could know what is happening to each others lives and would keep in touch. But why it sometimes seems to hard? I feel like I am missing a lot when I hear that my old high school friends had a nice time together, but I couldn’t participate. I miss high school when I lived in a kind of boarding school together with my friends. I could always go to knock on someone’s door and ask her to spend time with me.

Don’t understand me wrong. I love my friends. The people I have known since primary school, the lovely girls I met in high school and the newer ones I found from work or from university campus. And those who have been here in Guangzhou and those who are still here. But, everyone is going. And I can’t blame anyone, because I did the same thing when I came to China.

Friends. I miss you.


  • Emi

    I miss you loads! <3 I keep thinking that I should write to you way more often, I'll need to make a bigger effort with that.
    I'm definitely coming to see you there at some point, you can count on that!

    Sara Reply:

    Emi, Thank you for commenting dear friend. And just can’t wait to have your here :) We are going to have so much fun then. But first lets meet at Tampere this spring.

  • peter

    hehe, i come here from open source hua yu. there are only a few stations from the place i lived to Sun Yat Sen University(中山大学), lose and make friends, this is life~

    Sara Reply:

    Peter, Thanks for commenting. Unfortunately it really is life to lose and make friends. I just hope that we can all make more friends than we lose, and never lose the best ones.

  • M

    I met amazing and friendly people from European countries when I was an exchange student for four months. We promised to keep in touch and one day travel to each other’s countries. Staying in touch has limited on social networking and talking in MSN. Feel little bit sorry for that. Hopefully someday we’ll keep our promises of having a get together.

    I’ve lost my childhood best friends when they started smoking and drinking in junior high and I was not that wild even though I went to few discos. Nowadays some have children and they are married. We have long distances. But when I’ve lost old best friends, I’ve somehow found even closer friends later. I’ve stopped worrying about loosing friends. Some friends are just meant to be casual FB game buddies.

    I’m sure your friends really miss you and won’t forget you. But I hope you enjoy the company of your new foreign friends. True friends will have something to say to you even though you haven’t met them in years. I believe you can start friendship with your old friends even after a little break.

  • M

    I envy your determination and courage of living in China alone and deciding to stay there to study for three more years. It’s admirable that someone has set certain goals to herself and wants to stick with the plan she’s made. I always worry I’m too old or shy to do something I really want. Really wish you good luck with your studies and hope you’ll have a happy life in China. :)

    Sara Reply:

    Thanks for all your comments M! It seems to be really easily like you said. People promise to keep in touch, but rarely it truly happens. I do agree that some friends are meant to come and go, and the true friends will stay even have a lot of distance and/or don’t communicate for a long time. I dreamed to come to China for such a long time, but first I didn’t think it would be possible, then I thought I can maybe visit for a week or so, only later I understood that if I want something I just have to do it! I used to be too shy, but the biggest goal was too big of a dream for me :)

  • Sam

    Well, Friends come and go all the time. EVen staying in the same city doesnt mean being easy to stay in touch. And people change, since we all experience different things in life. It is not easy being an exchange student or international students, since you leave all your friends to go to new place. When you make some new friends, then it is time for you to go somewhere…

    Sara Reply:

    Sam, That is very true. First to leave the home country and friends will stay. Then when you decide to settle down, all of your friends are going. Thanks for sharing your opinion on this.

  • Melody

    Now that you have been in China for a long period of time, what was it like to make Chinese friends both girls and boys? Did you offend them often by your own cultural habits? How did you solve the misunderstandings? I have heard that many Chinese boyfriends/husbands do not allow you to spend time with, talk to, make friends with, or initiate converstaions with other males if you have a Chinese boyfriend/husband. Maybe you could create a post about this?