Skip to main content

Start of Classes and the Holiday

By Marriott Tianjin China Program – Spring 2020

These past couple weeks have been very eventful and busy! We learned where our classes are, formed groups with the Chinese students for future projects, and I have found quite a few favorite dishes already. I definitely recommend the tomato and egg soup, and the egg noodles if you’re a vegetarian like myself! Also, we got our Chinese SIM cards and bank accounts set up, so we are now prepared for the semester 🙂

I usually take a picture of the menu and point to the one I’d like. I will remember how to say it soon!

The professors are all kind and go out of their way to make you feel involved, and many of the students are very shy (haha). If you can, I recommend studying some Chinese before coming here so that you can connect with people on a deeper level. Apps are certainly useful, but when you speak to someone in their common tongue (even if you aren’t that great at it yet) it means a lot more to them. Furthermore, there are a lot of mistranslations with the apps, so sometimes you may get wacky messages.

The translation is a little off, but it gets the job done.

As I am writing this, three friends and I have set off on a trip with stops in Hangzhou and Shanghai for the holiday. I was very nervous at first since we had not traveled without our wonderful and patient mentors yet, but everything has gone smoothly so far, and I’m glad we took the opportunity to travel! *More updates will come on this during my next blog*

Nearly a month in

By Marriott Tianjin China Program

It has been nearly a month since we first arrived here in China. I feel as if this month has been so long but I know these 4 months will fly by and I will be asking myself where did time go?

I have done so much in these past weeks. I’ve gotten a bank account, made dumplings for the first time, and best of all, I finally saw snow for the very first time!!!!!!!!!!!!! You have no idea how many years I prayed that there would be snow in Miami for Christmas, I just wanted to see it for one second. I got something even better, I saw the first snow of the year in Tianjin. I wanted to stay outside all night just to see the little snowflakes fall, it was so beautiful.

Shortly after that classes started and I started to fall into a routine. Although I have been to China before there are still some things that shock me still. For example the “squatty potty,” I still can not seem to use these with ease. Luckily there are “regular” toilets as well. What really shocked me though was the facial recognition systems China has in place.

In order to get toilet paper at one restroom, we had to show our face into the camera and it generates a piece of paper for us (which would not have been enough for me). That was not the only surprising thing I observed either. On my way here I noticed there was actually a lot of foreigners on the flight. Compared to last time when I only saw maybe 0-1 foreigner on my flight. It seems a lot more people are going to China now more than ever before. One observation that did remain the same was the fashion. This time I made sure my airport fashion was not lacking as opposed to last time I felt deeply ashamed of my attire as I took notice of everyone else with their put together looks.

Considering my topic is fashion for this semester I have been taking note of the fashion trends that I am seeing. For the most part, I notice that long tutu dresses are in and jackets with sayings or words also appear to be worn quite regularly.

First Week in Tianjin

By Marriott Tianjin China Program – Spring 2020

After a long fourteen hour flight, I finally arrived in Beijing, China. When I arrived, the sun had already gone down, I was completely jetlagged, and in a daze so it hadn’t quite hit that I was on the other side of the world for the first time. As the week carried on and classes started, I began to get a feel for how my time in Tianjin would be. Everyone has been so welcoming, and willing to help as well as curious about us foreigners.

Over the last two weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to try many different dishes, both on campus and in Tianjin itself. I’ve found that most canteens have several spicy options, which is perfect for me, and a couple vegetarian options for those who prefer it. I quickly learned that the Chinese culture entails eating in a family style setting, meaning all side dishes are placed in the middle of the table and as you crave an item you reach out with your chopsticks to place just a bit on your plate. This is completely different to the American way of eating as we typically serve ourselves all that we wish to eat in one sitting. I had the chance to take part in this way of eating at the TUC-FIU welcoming dinner, at a Hotpot restaurant, and a Korean Barbecue restaurant. Overall, I really enjoyed it as it felt really intimate amongst a group of new friends.

Korean BBQ

A Whole New World

By Marriott Tianjin China Program
Sunrise

Nǐ hǎo/ Hello

It has been exactly two weeks since I have been in China, and so far I am having a wonderful time! I still can’t believe I’m on the other side of the world!

I’ve been to Downtown Tianjin, via subway and walked countless of kilometers. If you aren’t normally physically healthy, you will be in China. There is a lot of walking done here, so wearing comfortable, reliable shoes is important. I found that stretching in the morning really helps relieve soreness from the day before. Also eating the right foods helps with your body feeling good too! Light, portioned meals is something I see a lot of! But don’t worry, you will still be full. 

We are currently celebrating the Chinese New Year, where myself and a few others have decided to make the most of it by going to Hangzhou, Shanghai, and Beijing. Traveling to these different cities has helped with not only my physical health, due to all the walking, but my mental health as well. 

One tip to mentally stay healthy is not let little things people say or do affect you. Some days people will do/say something that you may not like or agree with, but you have the choice on if you want that to affect you. Being a black female in China with braids, has gotten me a ton of questions and stares that I try to answer as politely as possible. I don’t let it affect me because it’s a different culture, so I have to mentally keep reminding myself that the native people don’t see someone like me quite that often. It is however, still weird when people blatantly stare and take pictures. It’s a part of the journey, and I take it all in stride. Having a positive outlook can really help your overall day! 

Another tip I have, is to read/write daily, before getting your day started, and at the end of the day. Whether that be reading the Bible, reading or writing a motivational quote, or even journaling. I find that it really helps set and end your day on a positive note. I personally read my Bible in the morning and journal my day at night, so that the next day, I can look back and see how I felt about my day, and see how I can make my current day better. 

Overall, these past two weeks have been eye-opening on my personal growth journey, and I’m excited to be here! I can’t wait to see what the rest of my time here will hold. Until next time! 

Skip to toolbar