Updated 5 years 2 weeks ago


Service learning is a program where us students hear out the stories of the Xizhou elders. My group consisted of Alex W. and Alex L. and our service learning partner was Mr. Zhao.

Mr. Zhao is a 61 year old tailor who works in Si Fang Jie. The main takeaway I received from all his conversations was the significance of education. He really regretted leaving school and beginning his tailoring career at such an early age. Unfortunately, he did not make that choice. It was a choice made by his family and the impact of the Cultural Revolution. Before we began the service learning process, Mr. Tafel gave us a talk about Chinese history. The Great Leap Forward took place from 1958 to 1959. This movement altered the face of China. People in Xizhou could have been starving. The amount of manual labor that was enforced was unrealistic for the people. We learnt about the struggles of many lives and how they overcame it all in the end. 

As we presented our video to Mr. Zhao, I observed his facial expressions. He was grinning throughout the entire movie. When we first brought him into the Centre, he was in awe. He was going in and out through the hallways of the Centre. Next, we brought him into the TV room and served snacks and beverages to our partners. Then finally, we played our videos. He seemed so proud and happy with himself. I remember when we were viewing the part of him in slow motion and laughing, he was delighted.

Instead of doing a event where we put them on stage as a prized possession, I feel that doing this iMovie was a really good idea. We are utilizing the Big 4: Expanding Intercultural Understanding, Personal Growth, Experiential Learning, and Leaving a Positive Impact. Each of these 4 elements were incorporated some way or another throughout the entire service learning process. I really enjoyed doing this.

Anyways, if future students needed any tips for service learning, my first recommendation is create a strong bond. They should be able to open up and speak their minds. Second, take lots of pictures of them. This will make it easier during the production of the iMovie. Lastly, have fun interacting with them. Do not make it seem like an interrogation. Relax and talk to them like your friends and family members. By doing this, it is creating a nice safe environment to talk freely about life.


About This Learner

Hi everybody! My name is Aavia and I am 14 years old. I was born in the United States, moved to India, moved to China, and I lived in Xizhou for a month. My inquiry project was on The Linden Family/Centre and how small businesses are impacted by them. Some things I enjoy to do in my free time are singing, dancing, reading, and sometimes swimming. The Shanghai American School society offers many opportunities for us students studying here and some that participate in are: The Musicals, AMIS, ASA Dance, CISSA, and I was in MUN for a short period of time. I was part of the L-Group of Microcampus and it was truly a great experience.