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Love is new for 'golden age' kids

Viewed 3957 times 2013-1-6 18:06 |System category:News| golden

MOST people don`t need a game show to find love. While college celebrities Ma Yimi and Xie Jia bounce between potential boyfriends on Jiangsu TV`s You are the One, many university students have already found their match.
Campus life provides young Chinese a window to explore their own independence. Many start dating for the first time, looking for love and learning life lessons.

"In high school, teachers and parents want students to bury their heads in textbooks to prepare for exams," said Sun Yunxiao, the deputy director of the China Youth and Children Research Center. "They believe only higher education brings a bright future."

But once in those college classrooms, students are eager to explore the idea of companionship.

Fan Xueju met her boyfriend, Liu Shuoyong, in class. The two 21-year-old juniors at Beijing Foreign Studies University share the same major, the same classes, and the same interests. After spending two years together, they are now inseparable.

"We have grown a deep attachment to each other," said Fan, who decided she wanted to marry Liu almost immediately after they started dating. "We are two perfectly-matching pieces of a puzzle."

Unlike student relationships in many Western countries, Chinese relationships tend to be long-term and serious. Over one-third of all college students are in a relationship, according to an October 2009 survey of students at 12 universities published by Jiefang Daily. And 40 percent of the respondents were positive they would start a family with their current partner.

But while couples are quick to talk marriage, they tend to be hush-hush when it comes to the intimate intangibles of dating. When asked about dating multiple people at once or being sexually active, students answer with shock or ambivalence.

According to the Jiefang Daily survey, 47 percent of students had an ambiguous attitude toward premarital sex. The remaining half was split between supporting and opposing the idea.

"In university, you just pay attention to your feelings - whether you love your girlfriend or not," said Zhang Yi, a 23-year-old senior statistics major at Tianjin University of Finance and Economics who hopes to marry his current girlfriend. "After graduation, you have to consider other factors - her job, income, family and educational background. It makes things complicated."

That`s when the window of opportunity slams shut for most college romances: graduation.

"If students want to maintain a relationship after graduation, they must make sure that they share the same philosophy and values, and that they have the same aims in life," said Xu Anqi, a marriage expert at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

These relationships only occasionally end in "I do". In a 2008 survey of 7,000 young employees by the job-hunting website Zhaopin.com, 17 percent of couples married directly after graduation. Among them, 48.4 percent said it was the right choice.

So these campus romances might not last forever, but students do take away valuable life lessons.

"Nearly every college student grew up as an only child, and it`s easy for them to be selfish and wayward," Sun said. "Students learn how to take care of others and become tolerant in a relationship."

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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