Living in China

Staying in China while others leave

Most foreigners leave China at some point. Maybe their job contract comes to an end or they move back home for their kids education. Often China is just a temporary home for expats, a place that will only be in memories. I also often get asked how long I’ll stay in China.

My situation is slightly different as I’m married to a local and we have a family here, a baby and two cats. We need to consider what’s best for all of us and right now it’s to stay in Guangzhou.

During the years I’ve said goodbye to many friends. The downside of being a foreign student in China is to see classmates come and go almost every semester. I’ve lost many friends after graduating from university and after finishing my masters. Most exchange students pursue careers in their own countries.

Luckily now through Guanghou Women’s International Club (GWIC) I’ve met many new friends.  I’ve had the pleasure to meet amazing women from all over the world with unique life stories. But at the same time I know, that it’s always a possibility they leave, or we end up leaving. It’s a bittersweet deal you make when living abroad. 


  • Zhao FU

    It’s a common issue for people abroad to consider how long to stay, where is the next destination, how to live with friends leaving one after one. It’s not easy to keep long term friends in such situations, and face lots of difficulties in the adaptation. While marring a local and live there can be a special case and that would also help settle down and find the sense of home there. For the people who are ready to stay long, it would be better to make the local friends, or the expats who would also stay long.


    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    I agree and luckily I have some expat friends who are staying for long term and are also mixed families like us :) Living in Finland you have probably dealt with the same situation many times as well.


    Zhao FU Reply:

    yes, exactly. Making friends is a problem. For students, I am easy to get close to foreign students, but they are here for short time, especially exchange students, they are passenger for Finland just within very short term. My life is now with Finns, but getting close to Finns is difficult, and it takes long time to make a friend, also difficult.


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