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Chitchat - Elizabeth Wesner

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Hey Elizabeth, please introduce yourself.

 
Greetings! My name is Elizabeth Wesner (姹熺憸濠), and I am the Assistant Dean for a branch of Florida International University's (FIU) Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management located at Tianjin University of Commerce (TUC) in Beichen district.  
 
What brings you to the lovely city of Tianjin?
 
As an FIU representative, I work in Tianjin with TUC to operate the Marriott Tianjin China Program, a dual-degree program where students can earn an American B.S. in Hospitality Management from FIU and a Chinese B.S. in Management from TUC. 
 
You work in both education and, to some extent, in hospitality. What do you think of both of these sectors in Tianjin/ China?
 
In this global economy, both education and hospitality are becoming increasingly internationalized in their focus. As a first-tier city in China, Tianjin is a rapidly changing place with unlimited global growth and potential in both of these sectors. FIU strives to take advantage of that by training students who will become leaders that take their place in cities like Tianjin to design and develop customer experiences in future. 
 
What are some of your favourite things to do in your spare time?
 
Spare time is a rare thing for me these days. When I have it, I like to explore different restaurants and parts of Tianjin to see not only how hospitality businesses and practices compare to the U.S., but also how they’ve changed within Tianjin over time.  There is a big effort to develop and modernize throughout the city and it’s startling how fast things have changed in the past few years.
 
Which are your favourite places to eat/ visit/ spend your leisure time in Tianjin?
 
One of my favourite places to go is Binjiang Dao, because it is simultaneously historic and modern. There is such a clash and variety of cultures, industries and people present that both I and many of our FIU students go there not just for leisure, but to study the different businesses, how they work and how they compare with one another. 
 
What is the best piece of advice you could give to newcomers who arrive in the city?
 
Don’t be afraid to throw yourself into the city headfirst and make mistakes. Mistakes are the best way to learn and the people in Tianjin are very friendly and understanding.  
 
What is your best memory of your time in Tianjin and why?
 
I had been working hard with a student to help her study for TOEFL because she really wanted to study abroad. When she checked her scores, I was next to her as she leapt out of the chair and started jumping and sprinting about the room shouting, “I passed! I passed! I can join the program!” Her joy and smile made that one of my most fulfilling memories.
 
Is there anything you miss about your home country?
 
I miss my family. I first came to China over 10 years ago and have missed portions of my younger brother and sister’s life as they grew up without me.
 
What is your life motto?
 
If it’s within my power, help others in need.  This is why I went into education.  

Do you have anything else to add?
 
Always try any food you see sold at a street vendor. Always. Some of my best life discoveries have only cost me 5RMB. 

Thanks so much for chit chatting with us, Elizabeth! We wish you all the best.
 
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