by Becky, Pepijn, Dora, and Claire.
Our service learning partner is called Mr. Yang. Mr. Yang is 66 years old. He has been a lot through his childhood. Mr. Yang has one son that is now in his late thirties early forties. During our time talking to Mr. Yang was super friendly and always willing to talk and giving us more than enough information so that we could create a good product that resembles a good narrative story. Mr. Yang is a fantastic guy that now finds old tech parts and breaks them and sells the different part. I think he enjoys life, but he misses his wife and son. Whenever we come to visit him, he seems happy that he has some company.
I learned that Mr. Yang's story was super interesting telling us memories from when he was younger. The life that he had as a kid is different than my life. He was often starving and could sometimes only drink salt water which didn't give him enough energy. His life was tough back then. He had been through terrible experiences and had a hard life growing up living through the cultural revolution. This affected him majorly he now believes that whatever your dream is, should be what you do.
After this experience, I learned that all the elderly or many of the elders in the village have had a rough background and was tough to live through. I believe that this was hard for them living through this. Mr. Yang did not specifically talk about Xizhou's perspective but because Mr. Yang is s citizen of Xizhou his perspective and story would most likely apply the village what Mr. Yang explained that his life was hard and he had many days when there was no food for him and his family. Mr. Yang only went to school for five years because later he had to start working and spending the thoughts of Mao. Lucky Mr. Yangs grandfather had a bit of money so that Mr. Yang and his brothers and sister could fund them selfs for a bit of food.
Throughout my experience talking with Mr. Yang and the history lecture, it showed me that there had been many significant changes. The leaders of the country often changed due to the wars and fought in the country and due to other countries attacking them. I can not believe that China had such a repetitive history and that it affected millions of peoples lives. During the cultural revolution and the great leap forward, millions of Chinese suffer and died due to the leader's decisions. I never knew this until after my interaction with Mr. Yang and after Mr. T history lecture.
It was a different and exciting experience. Firstly when I heard this, I found it funny that we would do something like this. But looking at the audience while your video is playing is a different aspect than sitting next to our service learning partner and being part of the audience. By watching the audience, you can see faces expressions and his body language. Our partner was very excited to watch the video. During the video, while he was watching I observed that at some point in the video he had a intesedted look on his face and I saw a few simles during the procces. Seeing our sericie learning partner smile like this was astonishing, from somthing that we and him created made him happy is really astounding.
During this process of us watching the audience watch the video, I didn't only look at Mr. Yang's face but also scanned the audience over once or twice. By doing so I saw that all the guest were dailled in and willing to learn more about Mr. Yang's story. Seeing all the smiles on people faces and shocked expressions showed my group and I that we had created an amazing video. Looking at Mr. T during the time he was watching the video was super interesting. It seemed to me that he really enjoyed it and could really feel connected. I didn't realize that there was such a big thing looking at the audience. This was a really great skill we learned and I am sure that in the future back in Shanghai I will also try this a few times.
I have a few recommendations for the next upcoming Microcampus groups. When searching for a possible service learning partner do not seem eager that you want to video them and that's it, make sure that the first impression you give to the potential service-learning partner is positive so that they don't think you are a group of 8th graders trying to bother them. This is important that you build a strong relationship with your service learning partner before you have even selected one.
Secondly, a thing to consider is that you start making connections as soon as you arrive in Xizhou. If you do so when your focus is on finding a service-learning partner, you won't be stressed, and you already have many possible options for elders to be your service-learning partner. When searching for service-learning partners, the best thing is having over ten back up plans so that if one person does not want to talk, there are still many possibilities for your service-learning partner.
Another great piece of advice I would like to give is when you have started to film make sure that it does not just seem like you are asking millions of questions and want answers. Try to make it so that when your service learning partner is talking there is a story not just answer to questions. If there is a narrative, there is a higher chance that people are interested in and want to see more. Nobody wants to watch an interview that has random questions that don't follow up on the previous answer. This will cause your audience to be super bored, which is not the point of creating the video.
Finally, from my own experience working on creating the video for the final product, one thing to make sure is that you have a right angle for your filming. In the video, we created Mr. Yang was not in a great position compared to the camera angle. Like this when presenting the video, the audience can see the service-learning partner. Another tip for filming is that you have more than one camera filming at a time. At one point during the interview, we had four cameras filming and one computer recording the audio. Like this when one camera runs out of battery or storage, there are still enough angles and cameras so that there is still great potential for the final product.