Phase 0: Getting Started: Topic Exploration and Selection

Updated 4 months 2 weeks ago

This will be the start of my Microcampus journey, and I am eager to start this experience by selecting topics that I will be exploring for the next few months, including the 28 days I will be spending in Xizhou. After having many project topics thrown towards me, I knew that I had to narrow down a large amount of these ideas to reach my final three choices. I started thinking: what would I be most interested in, and will it affect me not only as a student but as a person as I learn? After receiving Mr. T's feedbacks, I knew that I wanted to enhance my knowledge of the everyday lifestyle and culture of the people living inside Xizhou. That narrowed down my choices into Bai minority music, local business or industry study, and local recreation/hobbies.

Final Decision: Bai Minority Music

My first choice is "Bai Minority Music". Music has impacted my life in a myriad of manners and has inspired me to explore through the world of arts. This topic caught my attention, as I wondered how Bai minority music could be different than our music through the difference in culture. And since there were many movies and other entertainment set in Dali, it has influenced the expectations of music for tourists coming to visit.  Such questions rang bells inside my head: Is the "authentic" and "traditional" music that tourists hear original? Has it been influenced, and if so, by what?  What was some music that has been passed down, and they are different from the music that most travelers hear these days? Interacting with local musicians and having an opportunity to learn their music will deeply enhance my learning process. 

One of my other choices was the topic of local business or industry study. From the beginning, I knew that I was curious about how a small town in Xizhou was like economically. And since I wanted to interact with everyday citizens, I decided that I wanted to explore more on local small businesses. I wondered about the kinds of products they sell, and how do they collect their incomes. Another one of my choices was local recreations/hobbies. I was very curious about this topic, and I wanted to learn about what people do in their free times. Usually, in our society, people watch their phones and go shopping to spend their leisure time, but I wanted to know what the people in Xizhou can do, and how these concepts of hobbies change from age to age. After consideration, I decided to discard these topics because my main goal is to experience more of the authentic cultures of Xizhou, and music is a great topic to take action in. Enhancing my knowledge about a subject that I love will be the best choice for this inquiry project. 

Looking through many earlier Microcampus alumni's reflections, I have stumbled upon Ethan T and Taylor H's website. Since we had similar topics, I decided to click in and check out some of the suggestions that I can perhaps take notice and learn from. Through reading their reflections, I realized that I should take much of their pieces of advice into consideration. Alex and Taylor have mentioned that in order to make this trip and inquiry project successful, it is best to do a good amount of research before arriving in Xizhou since you will have more time to explore about your topic by taking more action. Another advice is to enjoy and focus on the music and the authentic culture, instead of paying all your attention to basic information. 

In Phase 0, I have decided on a topic to focus and learn more about in this Microcampus experience, and in Phase 1, I will start researching and investigating on my topic. 



Greetings! I'm Emily, and I was part of the Wildfire group of Microcampus. No doubt, I was not only able to travel with my fellow classmates and teachers but also able to have the chance to challenge myself to step outside of my comfort zone and my Shanghai "bubble". It has been an indescribable experience, and I hope all future Microcampus students are able to cherish the wonderful moments in Xizhou.