Termination of the student tourism program in China is a disappointment

I find it ironic that FIU seems to be in the process of suspending a tourism program as an international school that prides itself on its study abroad programs. | Via FIU iFlickr

Kailey Krantz | Staff Writer

I thought I couldn’t be more disappointed in FIU than I am now, but the termination of one of our school’s biggest international tourism programs hits close to home. 

It was announced by an FIU official that the university is working to terminate student programs in China, which include the Marriott Tianjin China Program underneath the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism

As it turns out, WLRN revealed that after not receiving a response from FIU about the state of the program, FIU deleted the program’s website – that seems like an answer enough.

It’s one thing to shut down a program, it’s another to do it without a formal explanation to anyone. The university should be transparent with any of its academic decisions that affect its students and staff. 

The Florida Board of Governors revised its financial regulations for their Self-Supporting and Market Tuition Programs, which would have inevitably been influenced by the “countries of concern” law passed by the state legislature. 

Notably, the $100 million Marriott Tianjin China Program was built and funded by the Chinese government. 

This program previously offered the chance to students on campus in the Chinese port city of Tianjin to complete dual degrees in Hospitality Management with the Tianjin University of Commerce. 

I find it ironic that FIU seems to be in the process of suspending a tourism program as an international school that prides itself on its study abroad programs. 

Part of the appeal of the hospitality and tourism industry is students get the chance to work at hotels, lodging, cruise lines, theme parks, restaurants, entertainment venues, and any other establishment that enhances the international traveling experience. 

Students, whether they’re a hospitality major or not, who wanted to jump at the opportunity to travel abroad and get real-world experience working in this environment no longer can.

A core aspect of hospitality and tourism is establishing connections with people from foreign countries, as some of the providers host the excursions, entertainment, and dining offerings that come with the hotels students will be working for.

Being a fully online student, I’m envious of students who can travel to new places and meet new people. I’m devastated that students are unable to do it through this program.

Stripping it away erases the unique chance for students to learn on the job and be equipped with the skills necessary to succeed in the hospitality and tourism industry.

Students attending an international university should be able to take advantage of the international programs the school offers without worrying about the program being shut down.

This increasingly isolationist attitude towards students learning about topics from foreign countries is exactly what international students were afraid of when the hiring freeze was first announced. 

I thought the university would defend its international students, staff, and diverse programs, but these actions prove otherwise. 

I hope the program doesn’t shut down. It would break the hearts of the many students who were looking forward to experiencing this program and the alumni who had fond memories of this program. 


The opinions presented on this page do not represent the views of the PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

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