In Their Own Words from China: How Study Abroad Changes Students‘ Lives

Studying abroad 7,000 miles across the globe, some students find themselves; others fall in love with more than a different country. Since Fall 2008, nearly 100 hospitality management students have taken advantage of the opportunity to study in China for one or more semesters at the Marriott Tianjin China Program, FIU’s largest overseas program. While the academic experience is a big part of their venture, for many of them the experiences outside the classroom have made the most palpable impact. Many left their comfort zones for the first time. Others were surprised, impressed by the people, the culture, the cities, but most agree it was a life-changing experience. Here, four of them talk about experiences outside the classroom, in a new series we call In Their Own Words from China. Gigiana Fraind Gigiana Fraind, B.S. '13, who studied in China in 2012, discovered her inner strength for the first time. "This was probably the first time I have ever been put to the test — the test of life! On this particular day, four of the other students from FIU and I took a bullet train to Beijing, which is about three hours from Tianjin. Our Chinese friends had written the names of hotels and the connecting trains in Mandarin on a sheet of paper to help us find our way. Aside from the language barriers, the train station was pretty friendly, and we managed to get the train tickets in our hands. No such luck with taxis. Once off the train, we couldn’t get a taxi if our lives depended on it. We had to walk to our hotel, after many stops asking random strangers for directions. "This experience taught me a lot! I [...]

Hospitality Professor Recognized as Overseas Master in Shanghai

Summer 2015 was a busy one for FIU hospitality professor Dr. Jinlin Zhao. Recently, he was recognized as the Overseas Master by the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission. This award represents an effort of to enhance higher education in Shanghai by inviting experts from all over the globe to teach their area of expertise to students. For the first time ever, the Commission selected a hospitality and tourism professor to receive this prestigious award. Earlier this year, Dr. Zhao taught at the Shanghai Institute of Tourism/Shanghai Normal University, and has been invited to return during FIU's winter break in December. During his most recent visit, Dr. Zhao engaged with administrators and faculty in cultural, academic, and research exchanges. He also delivered lectures highlighting current trends in hospitality and tourism to undergraduate and graduate students. Overseas Masters selected by the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission come from a wide variety of disciplines and contribute to universities in Shanghai in many capacities. The program has been in place for several years and Dr. Zhao is honored to be recognized as one of the best and brightest in the field. "Recognition as the Overseas Master is a great honor for me," Dr. Zhao said. "I will definitely continue my effort in building a bridge between U.S. and China's higher education programs, as well as to contribute to the global hospitality and tourism education." In addition to his role as professor, Dr. Zhao also serves as director of graduate programs and director of development in Asia and the Pacific at the Chaplin School.

Dean Hampton Talks Millenials Aboard the Carnival Victory

Dean Hampton recently sat on a panel that was comprised of representatives from the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, Florida Atlantic University, and the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association Regional. Nearly 80 business professionals enjoyed a panel discussion aboard the Carnival Victory that was planned by the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce’s Tourism and Hospitality Council. Guests were treated to a powerful and insightful discussion about millennials that was led by Chamber Board Member and Executive Vice President of Mango’s Tropical Cafe, Ceci Velasco. The panel was comprised of Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau Chief Marketing Officer Rolando Aedo, Florida Atlantic University Instructor/Special Projects Coordinator Stella Quintero, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association Regional Director Lynne Hernandez, and Dean of the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida International University, Dr. Mike Hampton. In addition, the Carnival Corporation received a special award from the Chamber for their sustainable efforts, which was given by the Chamber’s Sustainable Council Chair Brian Scheinblum and received by the Cruise Lines’ Sustainability Director Elaine Heldewier.