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Melody Marti

First Steps Into Art & Culture

By Marriott Tianjin China Program – Fall 2019

From meeting the Chinese students and teachers, to taking pictures with random strangers because I look different; studying abroad in China has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The Golden Panthers have really made it easy to feel welcomed and at home. All the classes assign group projects on the first day, and I truly believe it is to get us all talking and friendly. After all, I’m sure the nerves and excitement to meet each other is mutual.

Once everyone was settled in, it was time to go exploring, traveling, and of course, getting lost. Tianjin is a very beautiful city, full of different architectural styles with inspirations from Europe, Seattle, and New York. The Tianjin Eye is a great way to see the entire city at almost a bird’s eye view. Another great spot in Tianjin is Ancient Culture City, full of special architectural styles, classic cultural features, various folk crafts shops, and delicious local snacks.

The Tianjin Eye
Entrance to Ancient Culture Street
Inside Ancient Culture Street
My scroll, purchased at Ancient Culture Street

Our next stop was Beijing and the incredible Forbidden City, as well as the Temple of Heaven. Beijing has a wide range of architectural styles, but standing out the most is a combination of traditional imperial style and modern corporate style. One of my favorite things I did was visit Shichachai Park, a place where locals gather for recreational activities like renting boats on the lake or visiting bars/restaurants with live music. I only spent two days in this incredible city, and I wasn’t able to do everything it has to offer; but rest assured, I will go back.

The last stop was Dalian, one of the biggest seaports located in the south of China. It’s a beautiful city full of its own character, with ocean-themed architecture and sometimes called the “Russian City” for its dome architecture. I got to stay in a castle, yes that’s right a castle, with a view that overlooks the city and the sea. A one night adventure was enough to soak up the city and leave me wanting more.

This was the beginning of more adventures to come – full of art, music, and great people. I am so glad I get to call this country home for the next 3 months.

Getting ready for China

By Marriott Tianjin China Program – Fall 2019

Nǐ hǎo,

Hey, my name is Melody, and this is my first study abroad trip. I’m very excited to be half -way around the world and to experience this new culture.

I really enjoy getting out of my comfort zone and doing new and adventurous things. My initial thought was getting to China and how being on a 15-hour plane ride was going to be very difficult. I set myself up so I had many things to keep me busy on the plane including movies, shows, video games, books, and coloring. Even with all these things I still had a lot of anxiety about the flight.

I am someone that needs to be moving around and in fresh air. But my excitement for this new adventure is what pushed me to moved forward. I am very excited to meet new people, experience this new culture, and eat things that I have no idea what they are. I am a little worried about the language barrier and using the “squatty potty,” but hey, it’s part of it all!

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