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Final Weeks! (Departing)

By Marriott Tianjin China Program – Spring 2019

Yes, final weeks here in China and of course I get a little sentimental. But on the bright side our study abroad group traveled as part of the FIU China program package to a segment of the great wall in Tianjin. About two and half hours on bus and we arrived to what seemed to be a short distance wall to walk/hike, but in reality a real leg day workout. Nevertheless, we started our journey up to the last part of the wall. Sun beaming, field trip kids screaming, and our tour guide falling behind we grew closer and closer with every step. After about an hour of hiking we all felt hungry, alright, I felt hungry. We continued to hike for another hour until we reached the top, took group selfies, took a selfie with a random stranger (his idea, not mine), and made our way down right on time for lunch. We all ate together in a restaurant nearby, enjoying several Chinese cuisines — it was a great bonding experience. After that we headed back, I finally got to watch The Notebook on the three hour ride back.

We made it to the top! ( Pictures above )

Ohh…Celebration was in the air, smiles, skipping, and most of all pictures & caps being thrown up in the air. Graduation had arrived, and our FIU students didn’t hold back — they earned it. I only got to see the small celebration, like outdoor pictures being taken wearing their cap and gowns. Accompanied with indoor pictures and small food portions being served and not the actual stage walk (my flight leaves a couple days before -_-  ), but it was amazing to see their faces in a foreign country. It gave me an appreciation for the program there in China and how hospitality is rapidly growing even overseas. Overall, I loved the time spent here and wouldn’t trade it for anything. The professors are knowledgeable, the school representatives welcoming, and the students are amazing to work with. I for one will be coming back soon!

First weeks in China!

By Marriott Tianjin China Program – Spring 2019

Finally, after numerous hours of flight ( four movies, one bathroom break and several random power naps) I arrived in China. We were warmly welcomed by the GPT (Golden Panthers Tianjin), who traveled with us to the campus. And while traveling from Beijing to Tianjin, I realized I’m in for a true journey in a country where the language (everything is Mandarin, some English on signs as courtesy like McDonald’s and KFC), practices (smoking is very common), and traffic laws (think of street lights and turning signals as ONLY suggestive, not used ) are completely different.

Within the few days after we arrived, the GPT students helped us buy groceries, set up bank accounts, and download apps needed to be able to pay for everything.

The start of classes was basically the same as Miami in preparation. Now, of course, after several introductions in class or around the campus, the first school week ended. To start the weekend, Shiv (another FIU study abroad student from Canada student that is here for his second semester) introduced us to a Mexican restaurant called “La Bamba” for dinner where we had a great time. Eating quesadillas, enchiladas, tacos, etc. while listening to Shakira songs and other latin music gave most of us a piece from back home. Then we left for a unique experience to sing our hearts out to Queen, Bruno Mars, Wrecking Ball, Despacito, etc. in a KTV (karaoke) room for a few hours. I have videos but my phone can’t send for size purposes (I’ll try to post them later on if possible). Definitely a very special weekend with the “squad.” I’m so happy to be sharing this journey with them all.

Last week, I wondered off and grabbed a DiDi (like an Uber) to try McDonald’s fried chicken. Yes, you read correctly, fried chicken. After some guidance by an employee at the self-order digital machine, I ordered my McChicken with two fried chicken pieces as a side, a Sprite, and a McFlurry. Let me tell you, I’ve never been a McDonald’s kind of guy but that was 9 out of 10 (not a 10 because no soda refills in China). After lunch, I just walked towards a nearby community park. I watched a game of Chinese chess (they didn’t notice me watching, ninja), and adults, elderly and children playing in outdoor activities from flying a kite to badminton. I can’t help but feel a connection to them in such a peaceful and cold day (60 Fahrenheit). It helped me open my eyes to how big our world is around us. In a random community park in China, I realized how slow and harmonious a place can be in a set moment. That experience will help me appreciate and understand the international differences I will encounter in our industry.

That’s it for now, tune in for my upcoming challenges and unique experiences on my next post!

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