Day 28: Why I Came to Mircocampus

Regretfully today is the final day that we will be staying in Xizhou. As the write this seconds and minutes go by. Seconds and minutes in which I will never be able to get back. Before I came to Microcampus, I thought that I was coming to learn about a topic I chose. I thought that I was coming to step outside of the bubble and to learn about places that are not big cities. I thought that I was coming to focus on one topic. But as this experience is coming to an end and I am realizing that I learned the least about my topic compared to everything else I learned. And as this experience is slowly halting to a stop, I am realizing that I came to Microcampus to learn less about this place called Xizhou, instead more about myself as a student, as a learner, as a friend and as a person in general. And now that it is too late, I realized that I came here to do almost the exact opposite. I was supposed to come and take in as much as I could, to listen, to see, and to think. But at the end of the day it is untrue to say that I did not learn about my topic, it is untrue to say that I did not learn about stepping outside the bubble, and it is untrue to say that I did not learn about Xizhou or the people who live in it. Before I came on the trip, I had imagined what it was going to be like, and I had imagined what I was going to be like. I tried to keep my mind open to the possibilities. But what has actually happened can no longer be changed and all of the expectations I had before I arrived here have been disproved. Everything is different from what I thought it was going to be.

If one were to ask me what was so great about this trip. I would not be able to give an answer. There are simply too many things, I could go on forever. The timing of the trip. The people on the trip. And the content of the trip. The experience of Microcampus started in 2016, but the actual physical trip happened in March. During the month, there was rain, and there was a lot of sun too. It was cold in the mornings and it was warm in the afternoon. The weather cooperated when we needed it to, but it still had some pleasant surprises every now and then. Without all the planning of the teachers before the trip, I do not know where we would all be now. A large amount of preparation was needed in order for this trip to happen. Preparation from teachers and from students. I can guarantee without all of the work beforehand I would not have been able to have such a remarkable trip. The people on this trip played a big part for me. Even though there were only 6 students on the trip, I never felt the need for my friends back in Shanghai. Everything that I truly needed was already here. Not always everyone got along with each other, but everyone was quick to forgive and quick to understand. In general this group of astonishing people had a good time with each other. I thought that Microcampus was going to strict and there would not be much freedom. But I have found that there is so much freedom. But with that freedom comes with a cost of trust and responsibility. I see now why this trip is not for everyone, and is only for certain people. 

Microcampus has turned out to be an experience that I will never be able to forget. I do not think that even at this moment I am comprehending how much I have learned. At night my brain processes and stores away information and memories while I sleep. I want to stay awake to remember, and I want to sleep the remember. Every moment that I can recall from the past month, I want to remember. Even the bad ones. I want to remember how it felt to see this place for the first time. I want to remember the hungry I felt at the end of each day. I want to remember all the faces and emotions I saw. I want to remember as much as I can, for as long as I can. I hope to look back at these memories in the future remembering everything with detail. Each lesson I learned, was a valuable one. Even the ones that seemed pointless and insignificant at the time. 

This has been an unforgettable trip. A once in a life time chance that not everyone gets to experience. I hope to come visit again one day, and I hope for everything to be the same. Even though I know that having everything be the same is almost impossible, I would like to come back one day and be able to see familiar faces and familiar places. I know that at this age, I probably still cannot comprehend and understand this trip fully, but I hope one day in the future, I will look back at this trip and see it for what it really was. I am going to miss this place sorely when I leave, but regardless of the regrets that I have and the sadness of leaving, I am happy that I had the chance to do this.

My name is Laura L. and I am a student at Shanghai American School. I was part of the Group Superior during the spring of 2017. It was a breathtaking experience consisting of extraordinary and wondrous events. It was one of hardest and best things I have ever decided to do. I've learned many valuable lessons and it was an honor to have been able to attend this program with my fellow peers. The 28 days I spent in Xizhou were life-changing and remarkable. I've gained so much knowledge, of which I will take everywhere I go for the rest of my life.