For my Service Learning project, I was in a group with Charlotte, Carlos and Claire. Our Service Learning presentation is stored in Claire H's workplace, which you can view here.
Our Service Learning partner is Mr. Zhao, he is 79 years old and has 4 children, 1 boy and 3 girls, who all live in Xiaguan. I learned a lot of things about Mr. Zhao; the top 3 most interesting things that he shared with me are these. When asked about his childhood hobbies he said, "I was the smallest out of my family, but I was the most capable of riding bikes." He also told us that "I never stops learning. Throughout my life, I will always be learning," when asked about his education and if he continues it throughout his life. He also said that he likes calligraphy, Chinese was his favorite subject in school and even though his education ended, he still continues to practice calligraphy as his main hobby.
I learned that Xizhou has not changed a great amount in his lifetime, other than obvious changes. When he was growing up, everyone in the village knew everyone, much like Xizhou now, but the relationships were much closer.
From the time Mr. Zhao was 13 to the time he was 30, the Cultural Revolution was in full swing. Mr. Zhao was a teacher, which could largely impact him, but he taught middle school, different than a professor. When asked about Chairman Mao, he said that he was stupid and did not like him.
On Wednesday, October 8th, we had our Service Learning presentation. All Microcampus students and their Service Learning partners, chaperones and others interested in the Service Learning project. When we walked to Yang zhuo ran with Mr. Zhang, our Service Learning partner, we gave him a tour. The first thing that we asked him was if he had been to Yang zhuo ran before, which he had, but he was 9 years old at the time. When he was walking around, he noticed the original and the new things, pointing them out to us. When we turned a corner to continue on the tour, we ran into another Service Learning partner, Mr. Yin, who immediately greeted Mr. Zhang with a slap on the back and a smile. They were classmates in Middle School and lifelong friends, who have not had the chance to interact much in the recent past, so they were very excited to see each other. Whenever another Service Learning partner came in, all the partners would greet him with smiles and stories about what they had done together. It was very interesting to see everyone reconnecting through a project that was made to show a singular individual.
When we presented our Service Learning project, we were given the chance to sit in front, near the projector, so we could see the audiences reactions as they were viewing the film, specifically our Service Learning partner. When our partner saw his face on the projector, a grin spread across this face. Mr. Zhang is not a very emotional man, or at least you cannot see if his emotions strongly, so all of us were very excited. As the film went on, tears welled up in his eyes; he was in awe that a film could be made only off of him and his experiences. Once it was done, we walked him back to his house and we asked him if he liked the film. He said that he liked it and that he was very happy that it was so good, and that we did spell his name right. Getting to make a positive impact on some ones life, as small as it might me, was an experience that I will never forget.
Words of advice for future Microcampus students and their Service Learning projects are...
- Take lots of pictures of your partners life and videos of him/her doing things that they do on a daily basis
- Expand on the list of questions; the video will be much more interesting if it is about his opinions, hobbies and interesting things about his life than if it is like a Wikipedia page, only the most basic facts
- Constantly make local connections; if you have 10 people who you think can be your Service Learning partners for sure, most likely there will be one who might be able