Updated 5 years 7 months ago

Our groups service learning partner was Mr. Yang. He is 60 years old, and is currently one of the only casket makers in Xizhou. He lives very close to Yangzhuoran, and is generally a very open and friendly person. Throughout this process, I learned a lot about Mr. Yang as a person. Firstly, I learned that he had a tough childhood, one that we probably cannot relate to. He did not have much money, even to buy now trifle objects like bottles of milk or new shoes. Also, he was part of the work crew that went up to Hua Dian Ba. Because of our talks with Mr. Yang, I have learned more about Xizhou's history. He talked a lot about Hua Dian Ba, as it was a major event of his life. According to him, he used to carry loads of potatoes up to Hua Dian Ba. It was a long, hard walk, and had to be completed in only grass shoes. Mr. Yang said that after each trip up, his grass shoes would be completely torn and his feet would be covered in countless blisters. From him, I learned that in earlier times, the Chinese did not enjoy nearly as much luxury in their lives as they do now. I did not learn that much about 20th century China in general, because Mr. Yang talked mostly about his life back in Xizhou. For future students, I recommend that they find a service learning partner early on. We did not do so, which lead to many a times of scrambling around town trying to find someone old. Also, finding a partner early will give you a chance to still have a successful video even if the partner bails, which leads us to my next recommendation. Always have a plan B. We did not realize this until Mr. Yang almost bailed out, so it would be a lot better if future groups did not have to go through what we did. Lastly, I would suggest roles to be assigned to each person early on in the process. This way, everyone will do an equal amount of work. Also, situations wherein you are stuck doing a task you are not familiar with will not happen. Overall, just prepare in advance for a smooth experience!

When I finally shared my Service Learning Video, I felt many emotions. Firstly, I was nervous, because I was anxious that Mr. Yang might not like something that we did in the video. Also, after putting work into this video, I did not want to disappoint anybody with it. Mr. Yang was initially very shy about filming and us interviewing him, so I really wanted to make him feel as though the video was worth it. My biggest fear was him watching it and thinking, "wow, why did I spend so much time on this video that is not even good." 

However, when we did share it, we got a positive reaction from Mr. Yang. Throughout many parts of the video, he laughed good naturally and shared jokes with his best friend. I was happy that he enjoyed our video, and did not find it a waste of time. At the end, when he walked out of the room congratulating us for making a nice video, I felt very proud that our group could make him say that. Overall, the Service Learning video was a very rewarding experience, especially at the very end. 

Hi, I'm Evian and I am 13 years old. I am from Malaysia, but moved to Shanghai after my dad switched jobs. Right now, in Xizhou, I am having a great time. I have learned more about the Bai culture and the village, but I hope to deepen my understanding even more. I was in Xizhou, and it was such a great experience. I met new friends, made new connections with the locals, and generally grew as a person. Although Microcampus was already 4 weeks long, I would jump at the first chance I get to do this all over again.