Being separated from families and friends in times like Christmas is not easy.
But for Samoan students studying in China, being able to spend time with other Samoan students makes the burden a lot lighter.
This is according to Raymond Schuster who is working on his Master’s Degree in Huagong Chemical University in Beijing, China.
“It’s hard especially in China where they don’t celebrate the birth of the Messiah Jesus Christ,” he said.
“So having the holidays away from home, most especially Christmas is always the hardest time.
“However when you meet other Samoans and plan a Holiday get together, it makes it a lot easier. So the other Samoan students that we got together attend different Universities and live in other parts Beijing.
“We have been doing this every year as part of coming together as a family to celebrate Christmas under one roof.”
Mr. Schuster has been away for more than five years.
He said he felt blessed being able to celebrate Christmas with other Samoan students.
“For us right now, it’s nearing our finals,” he said. “This is our last get together where we encourage our new comers to be strong and to focus on why they left home in the first place.
“It’s never easy but for us who have been living in China for a long time, we tend to play the older brother figure to the new Samoan students here for the first time.”
Lastly, they want to wish Samoa a very Merry Christmas.
“On behalf of the Samoan students attending School in Beijing, I want to wish all our families a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
“Please continue to pray for us as we have finals up ahead.”