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Marisa Remy

Quickly coming to an end

By Marriott Tianjin China Program

In the beginning of this semester, I thought to myself, what did I just get myself into. I felt as if December was going to take forever to get here. Now that my trip is quickly coming to an end, I feel as if I didn’t have enough time here and that If I could, I would stay another semester.

I feel that this is now my second home and I am not finished with discovering China. After coming back from Thailand we didn’t really travel much except for going to Beijing, which is usually a weekend ritual for us. During the month of October, we were introduced to Elizabeth Wesner, she is our new Assistant Dean for the Tianjin China program. She introduced us to tea time on Sunday afternoons, which I found very interesting. Mr. Zhang is the instructor that serves us tea and educates us about the Chinese culture that we probably would have never known about if we didn’t have tea time. Mr. Zhang will be taking us to the Forbidden City next weekend so we can get the full experience of the Forbidden City from his perspective.

This past week Bella, Jenny,and I traveled to Hong Kong, and I absolutely loved it. A way that I can describe Hong Kong is a mixture of New York, Miami, San Francisco, and China all on one little island.  I absolutely loved it. On one end of the city you could be downtown surrounded by skyscrapers and on the other, you could be relaxing on the beach next to beautiful mountains. Overall, Hong Kong was amazing, we did so much in so little time and I think that it would definitely be one of the cities I would want to move to if I had the opportunity. We have a little over two weeks left here and it’s starting to hit me that this is the end of our trip. I am very excited to go home and see my family and friends, but I am also sad to leave my new friends that I’ve made here in China and study abroad group that I can now call family .



Half way there!

By Marriott Tianjin China Program

Ni Hao ,

I can’t believe how fast time has gone by; we are already in mid-October. So far, this month has been pretty eventful. Starting October 1st, China celebrated their National Holiday which is also called Golden Week, and boy did we make our week golden.We went to Thailand!!, which was truly amazing.,We managed to travel to five cities in ten days.  Although it was exhausting, it was completely worth it.  Out of the five cities/Islands that we traveled to, the two that were my absolute  favorite were Chiang Mai  and Koh Phi Phi.  Both cities were different but beautiful in their on way.

From Bangkok to Chiang Mai, we traveled for 14 hours on a train that was at times uncomfortable but well worth it because of the views.  The train had no air conditioning, except for outside air and fans. During our night travel insects, were coming in and it was difficult to sleep because of the loud train and uncomfortable seats. However, in the morning, the discomfort from our night travel was all forgotten.  The mountain views and greenery were so beautiful, it seemed like I was watching the Discovery Channel, but in real life.

Once we got  to the city, we rented scooters and explored. Although Chiang Mai is away from all the beaches, the high rocky green mountains being cuddled by the clouds was such a beautiful view.  The next day, we got the wonderful opportunity to attend the Chiang Mai Elephant Jungle Sanctuary.  Elephants are severely mistreated in Thailand and this sanctuary, and many others, allow them to live a free life.  During our time in the sanctuary, we were able to feed them, bathe them, and make them a homemade medicine.  Seeing the elephants just roam freely as they please was so pleasing.

My next favorite Island was Koh Phi Phi; it had the best of both worlds — turquoise blue oceans and beautiful mountains.  During our visit to Koh Phi Phi ,we participated in the Maya Bay Sleep Aboard boat tour, which was an experience I’ll never forget.  Maya bay is an island that you can only get to by boat that has Hidden Gem, which is the beautiful sky blue bay.  The movie “The Beach” with  Leonardo Dicaprio was filmed at that location.  During our excursion, we were able to snorkel, kayak, and most importantly, relax.  At night, we got to swim with bioluminescent plankton which was quite scary since we were in the middle of the ocean not knowing what was around us.  As you moved around the water the plankton shined like glitter particles; it was fascinating.  Maya Bay Sleep Aboard is an excursion that I highly recommend to anybody if in Koh Phi Phi.

Overall, my trip to Thailand was totally amazing, and when I get back to the U.S., I will definitely be filling up my piggy bank for my next trip to Thailand.  Now that we are back in China, I am looking forward to where will be traveling next in China.

Until next time…



When in China!

By Marriott Tianjin China Program

Hey Everyone,

So far, this experience has been amazing but at the same time very different.  Let’s start from the beginning shall we?

When we first arrived in Beijing, it was unbelievable to see how much pollution was in the air. Once we started driving towards Tianjin, I noticed that I couldn’t see the top of the high rises because of  all the smog, which was pretty fascinating, but at the same time frightening.

Arriving to the dorms was kind of a culture shock. One of the staff members of our dormitory started speaking to us in Mandarin as if we knew what she was saying. As a group we kind of all stood there with blank stares on our faces wishing we taught ourselves a little bit of Mandarin before we came. Lesson learned that’s all I  have to say! l ol.

One of the hardest things I can say about living in China is the language barrier. It is very hard to communicate with the locals outside of the University which can get a bit frustrating at times. The language is so different from English or  any other language. The alphabet is completely different which makes it even harder. On the bright side of things, I must say that the Chinese students on campus are the most helpful. They are willing to help you in any kind of way whenever it’s needed.

One night, a week into being in Tianjin, we wanted to try something different other than Chinese food, so we went completely all-American and ordered none other than McDonalds. One of the Chinese students helped us order on his McDonald app and it was delivered right to the school which was pretty awesome. It makes me so happy to see how nice the Chinese students are, and how they are so excited to become our friends. Without the Chinese students I don’t know what we would do. I can’t say it enough they are SOOOOO NICE.

These past four weeks have  been pretty eventful. We’ve traveled to Shanghai for a weekend and traveled to Beijing the next. Both cities are pretty amazing and very different from Tianjin. In Shanghai we attended Disney Land which was spectacular. I think I may have to visit Shanghai again just to go back to Disney. It was such a great experience. We also attended the Jade Buddha Temple which was so beautiful and spiritually uplifting.  As for Beijing, it was fascinating to see how many foreigners lived there.  This may sound funny, but it was kind of comforting.

As for the food, I’ve eaten some really good Chinese food and some that I wasn’t too confident about, but that’s what this experience is all about — stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying new things. So far I am enjoying every part of this study abroad trip and I can’t wait to see what’s more to come.

PS: We will be going to Thailand in about 3 weeks for Golden Week and “excited” is not the word

20 more days =)

Tea tasting

Tea tasting




This was a must

This was a must

Jade Buddha Temple

Jade Buddha Temple

Pre Departure jitters

By Marriott Tianjin China Program

In about 4 days,I will be embarking on a journey of a lifetime. I will be  studying abroad in China for almost 4 months with Florida International University continuing my studies in Hospitality Management and Tourism. I am definitely scared and excited at the same time. Culture shock will certainly be real, but I am super excited for the experience and the food, of course.  If you know me, you know I am excited for the food. I will miss my loved ones so much, but December will be here before I know it.


Here’s to China!!!!!!??

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