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Taina Rodriguez


By Marriott Tianjin China Program – Fall 2018

“Bittersweet” is the best way to describe my feeling towards China. This journey will always have a special place in my heart with all of my memories that I created. I wanted to thank FIU for offering this opportunity to your students. As a transfer student, I will never forget my first semester as an FIU student. The past couple of weeks have been pretty rough because this will be my first Thanksgiving without my family. I am very grateful for the students to put together a nice Thanksgiving dinner for us. I was so much fun — we were listening to music and we played games together.

Living in China for the past four months have been life-changing. I am super grateful for this journey, and I will never forget the people that I have met here. I can’t believe that I did everything that I wanted to do including taking a last minute trip to Thailand. If you are a student and you have the opportunity to study abroad, please take advantage of it. It will give you a better perspective of the world and let you open your mind for new things. I fell in love with China and I hope one day I can return to visit again. 


By Marriott Tianjin China Program – Fall 2018

 November is already here and we are all getting ready to do our final assignments , project presentation and final reviews before the semester is over. Since fall is approaching the weather has completely shifted for this Miami girl.  Winter is coming and seeing fall for the first time is really beautiful. All the leaves are changing colors and sometimes staying in is more on the safe side since the pollution level can look pretty dramatic .

Spending Halloween here in Tianjin was very different and fun since not that many Chinese people celebrate it. We went to this Mexican style restaurant called La Bamba to at least experience something spooky, and they had Halloween decorations everywhere.  Some people were dressed up and had a little bit of blood makeup, but nothing over the top. We were also were invited to the university Halloween get together where we carved pumpkins, played games with each other, and enjoyed our time with the students.

Golden Week

By Marriott Tianjin China Program – Fall 2018

Hello Everybody,

I can’t believe that October is already here, and we only have a couple of weeks left in China. Not only did we have a week off during Golden Week, but I was able to experience time in Beijing and Shanghai during my relaxing vacation.

Beijing was an amazing experience like no other, and it’s very diverse compared to Tianjin. We took a two-hour speed train ride from Tianjin to get there, and it was really cool experience. I was able to visit the Summer Palace, which is the imperial garden for the Qing Dynasty.  The scenery was so beautiful and breath taking.

I visited the Great Wall of China in the Mutianyu location — it was really the highlight of my trip. Climbing all those stairs was a nightmare but well worth it to see the magnificent view that the Great Wall has to offer. I also had a chance to visit Tienanmen Square which is the city square in the center of Beijing and it’s next to the Forbidden City. It has wonderful architecture that was used for the Ming and Qing Dynasty.

Finally, I had a chance to visit Shanghai, which is located in the east side of China. I had a chance to see the Bund.  It has the most futuristic building that is the most recognized in Shanghai and is located in a waterfront area. I also went to Disneyland Shanghai Resort; it was so enjoyable since I am a true Disney fan. It made me feel right at home. They were singing all of my favorite Disney songs – in Chinese, of course – and they have a bunch of cool things to see that Disney in Orlando does not have to offer. Golden Week was such a great experience and I am still excited to see what my journey in China has to offer me.     


My Arrival / Start of Classes

By Marriott Tianjin China Program – Fall 2018

It’s only been a couple of weeks, and I am enjoying every minute that Tianjin, China has to offer me. The transition was very difficult for me since this is my first time away from home. We had some troubles trying to get money transfer from our American cards; but with the help with the Chinese students we accomplished all of our tasks, and we feel more comfortable on campus. The students over here are the sweetest people that I have ever met in my life. They are really shy at first, but once you approach them they will answer any questions that you have and help you with any task that you need with no hesitation.

The classes over here are very informative; they always have a way to compare and contrast the Hospitality Industry from the United States standpoint in comparison of what China has to offer. There are a lot of group projects involved and also class presentations to show the students what opportunities they have for their future.  

The food over here is so different and interesting to taste.  I have tried Hotpot which was very delicious and quite an experience; and also Malatang which is delicious soup that you hand-pick your ingredients and they create it for you. Both items are served on-campus, and there is nothing like them in Miami. The photos that I have posted is my time in the Tianjin Library, which took us two hours to get there by train; the second photo is the Tianjin Eye; and the third one is my time on campus on a mini bike, which the Chinese use as transportation.  



By Marriott Tianjin China Program – Fall 2018

The moment is finally here! In a couple of hours, I will be on a plane to China for the first time ever. My name is Taina Rodriguez and this will be my first semester as an FIU student. This trip is really special for me, since this will be the first time I have ever traveled on my own, far away from my daughter. I can’t wait to explore China and see what their culture has to offer, and I am very curious how I am going to adapt to a new environment.

I have worked in the Hospitality Industry for five years. and it’s very important to be open to different diversities and have a great understanding about their culture. Interacting with people is the number one key in Hospitality and being a study abroad student will show that you are willing to travel around the world, that you want to learn new languages, and you will have a great understanding and appreciations of different types of people and their history. 

Packing for this trip was a nightmare! I am the queen of over-packing. I tried my best to minimize the clothing and products inside my luggage, but I just want to bring everything so I can be comfortable with all my favorite products. I really deserve a pat on the back since both my bags are not overweight. I also posted a picture of the money that I easily exchanged in Aventura Mall with no problem. The last photo is me at my surprise going away brunch that my friends put together.

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