Four Corners of the Earth
In the past few weeks, I have made many friendships that I think have the potential to last a lifetime. I have been in a fortunate position. My class has students who are both eager to learn and form close bonds with the students around them. When I first came to China, I was nervous, I’m sure that we all were, and I was happy to be welcomed by such a loving classroom environment. Its support has helped me flourish in my new foreign home.
We’re a real melting pot of the world. We have students from America, Thailand, the Philippines, Turkey, Russia, Malaysia, Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and South Korea. Our one classroom has more culture than what I’ve been exposed to over 20 years of my life. I have been lucky enough to form relationships with all of them.
What is your life like?
Meeting people from around the world has allowed me to get a closer perspective of what life can be like in different countries. When developing friendships, you start to hear people’s personal stories. These stories helped me develop those insights. Many of them were memorable, and they helped me understand the privilege that I have coming from a country like the United States.
The most memorable story that I heard was of my friend Hakem. I am not sure how to describe this man, but he was somewhat of an urban legend on our campus. Everyone knew who he was, but no one knew where he was from or where he would spend his time during the day. It turns out he didn’t even go to our university. He wasn’t a student; he was a local high school student who enjoyed hanging out on campus because that was one of the few places that had foreigners. Go figure.
I eventually took the time to learn about Hakem, and I was pleasantly surprised about what I learned. He was originally from Syria, but when the war in Syria happened, his family immigrated to Hungary. He enjoyed living there, but he wanted to experience other parts of the world. When he was in middle school, he decided that he wanted to go to high school in China, so he did everything in his power to make it happen. He eventually enrolled in an English high school in Beijing. At the time that I met him, he was waiting to hear his college acceptance results. He had always wanted to go to the United States, he was even accepted into college in the US, but university there would be too expensive for him. Instead, he elected to attend university in Qatar.
I was amazed by this, he was so young, yet he has already done so much in life! He currently serves as my motivation to do better in life, and I plan on rooting for him through Facebook and Instagram as he begins his college journey. He is a great kid, and all I want to do is see him succeed. We even have plans to meet up if he ever comes to Georgia.
Time is fleeting
I have only been with my new friends for a few weeks, but it feels like a lifetime. They have been my motivators during this trip, helping me to try new things and meet the goals that I set for myself. I will miss them when it’s time to leave, and I will always remember them. I feel that friendship blossoms when you are in a foreign country because everyone is being challenged. Friends will be there for you to lean on them, and everyone can help each other grow. My new friends have left lifelong impressions on me, and I hope that I did the same to them.