Phase 0: Getting Started: Topic Exploration and Selection
It is very important to choose the project that I like because it's me who is going to spend 28 days with it. Choosing the projects that I like was easy. However, there was a disagreement of the topic that I selected. My parents wanted me to do projects that is going to benefit my future, for example, a business case study. In the end, after discussing with my parents, they decided that I should be able to learn what I want to learn.
Microcampus is an opportunity to learn outside of the classrooms, interact with all kinds of people, and it's a precious opportunity, so, I want to make this experience unique. After looking at all the topic choices, I decided to choose under the people and place section because I think it is Xizhou's unique culture and the people there that is making microcampus special. Then, I thought topics like gathering place, fashion don't allow me to dig deep into the culture, while topics like marriage may be too mature for me. Afterall, I decided that my top three topics are Xizhou citizen's view of the world, What if I was born there, and visitor's guide.
Vistors guide was one of my top three choices. Getting to know a place's culture is very important. But in the end, I decided that it might be hard to get something out of it because we can learn culture, food, residence of other places. Plus, we might not be able to remember something like Xizhou's culture in the future.
(second rank) What if I was born there catched my eye because I have never thought of who am I going to be if I was just an ordinary Chinese citizen. This is important for me because this is an area that I have never explored even though I have been in China for a long time. Plus, doing this project will help me establish close relationships by interviewing local people there and engage in some of the daily activities they do.
Xizhou citizen's view was one of my top three choices, too. I decided that the topic "what if I was born there" is more connected to me, while Xizhou citizen's view may be too complicated because their perspectives may include political and economical opinions that I don't understand.
Final Topic: What if I was born there. I think this project will allow me to put down the mask of a privileged student. Instead, I am truly going to experience what it's like to be a normal chinese citizen and a normal villager. And this is going to make me acknowledge the difficulties and benefits of being a chinses villager and make me more appreciative of what I have now.
However, the topic is more than what I thought after looking at alumni's suggestions. The topic is not just to look at other people's lives. We look what the kids think their future will be like while developing an understanding of what our futures will be like. We investigate on what their ideas, we observe their daily lives, stepping into their shoes, and find a pattern of a middle-schooler in a Chinese village(Dannes Z., http://www.sasmicrocampus.org/content/final-product-reporting-and-reflecting-17). After reading suggestions from alumnis, I found that they are obstacles in the interview process as well. For example, because we are interviewing students, we may not have much time to intereact with them; sometimes students are shy(Kate J., http://www.sasmicrocampus.org/content/final-product-reporting-and-reflecting-1). In the end, we may realize that the gap between Shanghai and Yunnan, which we are always trying to find, is not so big. But, these can only be proven after we physically go to Yunnan and explore.