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A Shining New Year

By Marriott Tianjin China Program

It is officially 2020 and in less than 2 days I will be starting the year off in another country, China!

I remember in 2016 I told my friends I wanted to go to China. I even went up to a Chinese student while I was at the University of Miami and said “I love China” in my cringy mandarin. Surprisingly, he did not run away and actually seemed happy and asked where in China I wanted to go. I said Beijing and in 2018 Beijing is the first place I landed. It feels so weird seeing things I once thought about come to reality. I always wanted to go on a plane and ended up going on not only one but 6 all in a span of a month to go halfway across the world to China. This time I will be making that journey again, thankfully not as many flights, and for much longer than before.

As the days quickly go by I start to feel a roller-coaster of emotions. I know I will have to readjust and get used to the fact that I will be oceans away from my home, my comfort zone. Despite having been to China before, I realized I still hold some misconceptions about China which I hope to get rid of after spending a whole semester there. I just have to let people’s opinions about China stay their opinions and not my own.

When I first told one of my friends I wanted to go to China in 2016 her mom told me “Why go there, it is dirty and full of pollution.” At times I also ask myself this question, but not because I hold the same thoughts but because I would have never thought I would be going there. Now I am blessed to have the opportunity to go again and hopefully this semester I find out what my purpose for going is.

Happy New Year and see you all in Tianjin!!! Also, I found some good videos about Tianjin and food, (What it’s like to be a vegan in China),

New Year, New adventure

By Marriott Tianjin China Program – Spring 2020


Nǐ hǎo/Hello,

My name is Jaylah Goldson, and I am a junior at FIU. This is going to be my second semester at BBC / Tianjin China since I transferred from Broward College. I am very excited to study abroad, as I never traveled this long and far by myself. This is a great opportunity to learn more about Chinese culture and advance myself in my major in hospitality management.

This past year, I have dedicated a lot of time to my mental and physical health. Taking the steps to participate in this study abroad program was all in part of my continuous personal growth journey. This semester abroad will allow me the opportunity to challenge myself and think in a completely different way.

In preparation for this trip, I have dedicated time when I wake up, to do yoga or write down how I am feeling and what I want to get done for the day/week. I found that writing out my thoughts and planning my time efficiently, really helps settle any nerves I may have and helps me focus more. For yoga, I find a quick 10-minute video on the different poses and stretch out my body before I sit down to write anything. Personally, doing yoga clears my mind and helps relieve and extra stress I was feeling the night before.

Keeping with the theme of better health, I have researched A LOT on how the Chinese eat and drink. Room temperature water, teas, a lot of fruits and vegetables and overall eating light, proportioned, healthy meals. I have been incorporating more fruits and vegetables into my diet to help get accustomed to that way of eating. I’m still a sucker for sweets though!

I am very excited about this new experience. I have researched a lot, and I know I am mentally and physically prepared for China. While I will miss my family and friends, they are all excited about this new journey, just as I hope you are. Come along and follow me on this trip of staying mentally and physically healthy. Are you ready? New Year, New Adventure. Taking off in 4…3..2..1…

The Start of a New Decade.

By Marriott Tianjin China Program – Spring 2020

I never thought that I would be going to Tianjin so quick and early for my second semester at FIU. Having just recently transferred from Miami Dade College, FIU welcomed me with open arms this last Fall 2019. Now, I have the opportunity to study abroad, and might I say, I am very excited and nervous at the same time! Hello! My name is Angely Garcia, I am currently a junior and I am a general Hospitality Management major here at the FIU Biscayne Bay Campus. 

Coming from a family of Cubans, we are notorious for having our families together, making it hard to leave the nest, but surprisingly my parents were very excited for me to have this new experience and explore a new side of the world that nobody in my family has been to. But, I will not be alone in this adventure. My partner in crime, also known as my twin sister Nicole is also a student and a hospitality major here at FIU! Together, we will be exploring, experiencing, and sharing a room together! (Because we’ve been together for the last 20 years!) Although I will be missing my parents and older sisters here in Miami, I am grateful that I have my twin with me.

When I tell you that I have done a lot of research, I’ve done A LOT. Initially, I was planning to take just one checked bag, a carry on, and my personal backpack. But after doing a “mock” packing session, I concluded that I did not have enough space for the stuff I wanted to bring. So instead, I am taking 2 checked bags and my personal backpack. One may never know what can happen, so it is always good to be prepared!

Now with the New Year about to end and my flight right after that, I am very excited to embark on this new journey in a brand new year!

Bittersweet Farewell

By Marriott Tianjin China Program – Fall 2019

Yes, another semester has gone by in a blink of an eye. I arrived to a warm and welcoming campus, filled with life, curiosity and willingness to learn all through out the campus. Students from all across China started to arrive eager to start their new semester – it was truly a sight to see. And now nearing the end of the semester with final projects and examinations, I realize what a wonderful school year I’ve had in China. It was a long year with new experiences, friendships, and knowledge for which I’m eternally grateful.

Of course, each semester has its difficulties, mine was finals. Finals came back to back all week with very little time to breathe to be honest, but I got through it all hanging by a hair. The funny thing is that Chinese students all around campus are also in the same boat, studying in rooms, reciting notes in the hallways, and it’s just a little chaotic in plain words. You can feel the anxiety in the air (okay, maybe that’s just me). Most definitely stress levels are on an all time high; students are determined to end the semester with their best performance. It fuels you and gives a sense of purpose to continue studying to meet self standards.

Along the way one day I woke to light snow outside, which caught me by surprise. In Spring 2019, I experienced one snow day as well but this time it was more than just one occurrence. It felt like Christmas spirit in China! Yes, I know, it doesn’t snow in Miami but it just felt right (picture is too big to enter on the site) .

The day arrived that my finals were over and I was on a train back to Beijing to grab my flight back for winter break. I was excited to return back to my family, but also felt like I was leaving behind a part of me in China. It’s normal now going back and forth (and I’m still not a fan of 14h flights), but it still feels bittersweet. Once again, I enjoyed my time here and await to come back after spending the holidays with my family.

Until next time!

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