Day 28: Why I Came to Microcampus

8 months ago, I was offered the opportunity to join this amazing opportunity we call Microcampus. If you ask a Microcampus alumni what the program is, they will tell you it is the best experience of their life. But, a direct definition is where 2 chaperones and up to 16 eight-grade students go to a small village called Xizhou located in the Southwest province of China. I can officially say that this is the best experience I have ever had. 

You might be curious as to why I joined this program. And it is because I wanted to witness real China. I live in Shanghai. But, the place where I live in Shanghai is not China at all. It is like America placed in China. Also, I wanted to explore places and see their culture and become a citizen of Xizhou. I have always loved traveling and experiencing new things, this trip sounded perfect for me. Now, flash forwards to May 26th 2016 (when I am currently writing this journal). Today is our last day here, and so far, it has been an emotional one. However, it is only emotional because of they journey that has led up to today.

Day one of Microcampus, we walked off the bus and got the first glance of my new home. Now you may think that love at first sight is an exaggeration, but it is not. Xizhou has always been love at first sight. Everyday, when I wake up to the blue sky, birds, and the occasional morning shower, I fall in love all over again. I have enjoyed every minute of this experience. Sure we screw up sometimes and forget an instruction two, but the important thing is that we can not let those little mistakes ruin a beautiful process. 

Microcampus has taught me the usual things like collaboration and experiencing new things, but it has also taught me more such as finding myself, creating connections and relationships with locals, and to experience life in the moment and enjoy every second of it. I have created bonds with not only my fellow peers on the trip, but locals as well. Ms. Zhang, my main guide of support, has offered me the chance to cook, eat amazing food, and most importantly always be there for me. Ms. Zhao is always full of smiles and is open to talk to anyone. Through talking and observing her, I have learned that with hard work, dedication, and happiness anything is possible. I have also gotten a sense of what it means to be a local and see the life of others here in Xizhou. Although this has been the best experience of my life, at some point you need to say goodbye. 

Lastly, I would like to take this time to thank everyone. Mr. T and Ms. Mai, thank you for starting this process and watching and supporting us through this amazing process. Sofie, thank you for always making me and the Phenomena group smile. You awkward noises and crazy hands will never leave my mind. Now Ms. Zhao. Ms. Zhao, you have been so amazing throughout this process that I can not thank you enough. I will miss walking into your restaurant and seeing you everyday, but I will never forget our bonds and I hope that you will not forget me as you will never be forgotten. I would next like to thank the Phenomena group for not only being my best friends, but my family throughout the past 28 days. Finally, thank you Xizhou. You will always have a special place in my heart and no matter how much time passes, you will never be out of mind. 

Hi, my name is Mallory B. and I am 14 years old and resign in Shanghai, China. I have lived in Michigan for my entire life until August, in which I moved to Shanghai. I have recently come back from Xizhou. Microcampus was an amazing and unforgettable experience. Microcampus has taught me to find my real self, experience new cultures and differences, and make connections with local people. Xizhou will always have a place in my heart and I hope to come and visit soon.