Max M. (Alumni-O)'s Journal

While reflecting on the 27 days of my Microcampus journey, I ask myself again - why did I come to Microcampus? When I answered this question on the online Microcampus application in November, I remember writing that I wanted experience rural and traditional China. I mentioned that I had only experienced city life while living in Shanghai and been surrounded in the economic boom that has defined China in recent years.

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Day 27 was a day of mixed emotions such as relief as well as sadness. We spent our time taking care of final work responsibilities such as polishing up our assignments and journals on the Microcampus website. We also took care of cleaning up and organizing our rooms, packing luggage, and tidying up the rooms we used during our stay at the Linden Centre. After I had completed all these 'chores', I couldn't help but take a sigh of relief. I was so glad and proud of myself that I had wrapped up all of my work and that it was all taken care of.

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It was great being able to share our service learning video with our partner, Grandma Yang. While Angelesia, Maya, and Justin went to pick up Grandma Yang along with her older sister, I stayed behind to help set up TV room for the invited guests. I was looking forward to them seeing our work; the group had spent so much time and energy into making a great video to tell Grandma Yang's story. When both Grandma Yangs arrived, they were the center of attention. Every member of group O.R.E.O.

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Today, my service learning group and I were able to finish our video on Yang Nai Nai's younger sister. Though we definitely had some ups and downs during the trip, it sure was a relief to get our project done. By working together as a team to edit footage, arrange it in chronological order to tell her story, add backround music, and add narration, we were able to get a really great product. Just yesterday, we were stressing that we could not get anything done on time. We pointed fingers and blamed other people for the work that they did not do, and were not moving forward at all.

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Today, I stayed in the Linden Center all day. I had lots of work to do from my journals, inquiry project, pitching in responsibilities, to service learning commitments. Everything was piling up, and I felt quite overwhelmed and stressed. I struggled a few days before of getting a solid final product video for my inquiry project. I wanted to wrap up everything by including all the information I found, the great experiences I had speaking with people, and the fun I had connecting with them through music. It was not very smooth, and ended up as too long of a video. I realized from Mr.

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Group O.R.E.O was in for a real treat for evening programming. We were all going on our first horse cart ride as a group! Before arriving in Xizhou, I had never seen so many horses running arround in one place before, nor had I been so close to a horse before. Aniketh, Chelsea, and I, as members of the evening programming committee, always wanted to lead a group horse ride. However, it was really Chelsea who stepped up and made things possible for us to have this great experience.

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Even though today was my birthday, it did not seem more special or more significant as I woke up and got my day started. I was looking forward to having another fun day in Xizhou and putting in a solid effort to get work done. Sadly, the afternoon was a bit of a setback for service learning. Unfortunately, the woman who had previously agreed to be our service learning partner backed out. This was a huge disappointment to the whole group.

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Today has been very active for my work group and I so far; I have been outside the Linden Center three times so far for service learning, lunch, and wellness. Even while working on the computer nonstop for almost three hours, and then running about in the intense heat for the same amount of time, I still feel very accomplished. As already mentioned in previous days, this coming week will be very vigorous and challenging as we only have two more days to complete our final inquiry projects and only a week to complete the service learning project.

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Today, along with our last ahead, will be filled with lots of work. I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by the amount of work that needs to be done within this week, but I am also confident that I will plow through it all and finish my trip strong. My Final Product for my inquiry project will be due this Sunday, so I have to take follow my outline from Phase 4 to organize my information into a presentable, unique, project.

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So far, today has been a very productive day workwise. First, I had to fix my submission of my Phase 3 in the morning along with many others. I believe a glitch went through while I was saving my work, and so my Phase 3 workspace was blank when I turned it in. I saved my work on a Word Document and was able to easily fix the problem this morning and was all set to go, but it was still a bit embarrassing.

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Today was quite stressful for everyone in the O.R.E.O. group. Today was the day that all of our research was due in Phase 3, where we recorded all the information that we gathered. In my Phase 3, I had a compilation of background research from Phase 1, information I had gathered from the Linden Center staff, and information I gathered from speaking with local contacts in the village. I had worked very hard to check all the information I got after each meeting I had with a musician or other contact.

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For the purposes of this journal, I will talk about my time last night attending a Dongjing Music concert. During the first weeks of Microcampus, I spoke to Mr. Jake about contacts in the village who would know about Bai Minority Music. He provided me with two contacts and background information, but also had told me that there was going to be a performance at the Linden Center on March 20th. I was looking forward to this date as an oppurtunity to hear the music that I was researching so much about and also to gain significant contacts.

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Today, I went with my work group during my free down time to visit our local contacts for service learning; we were done with our other responsibilities and wanted to get outside. Plus, we had told many of our contacts yesterday that we would see them again tomorrow. I was a bit nervous about this because I did not know today’s plan and did not want to promise anything. We took the similar routes we took yesterday, winding through the less busy, old streets. We first visited the old house that we went to yesterday. They remembered us and were just as kind.

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I was able to sleep in last night after the day of the long hike. Breakfast was later from 8:15 to 9:15, so I got an extra hour of craved sleep.  As mentioned in last weekends’ journals, weekends are a time for relaxation and rest. The time designated for work during our day is substituted with free time to play and relax on weekends.

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A half-day hike on the mountains of Dali made for an active, long, tiring Friday. I got my morning SAS Essentials work done quite fast, which was followed by a rather short daily meeting. I think all other members of group O.R.E.O. including myself were very happy to hear from teachers and peers that we were heading in the right direction again. At the very end of the meeting, the packing list for our hiking bags was given out. Looking back on the entire hike, I dont think I needed much of the clothing and equipment that was required to bring.

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Today was quite a relaxed, more low-key day. Today was my room's laundry day, but I did go with John or Orion to put in the wash in the morning since I had to do do dish duty for breakfast. Basically, I had to put away people's bowls and utensils. I did the math MAP test today, and really put my 8th grade math skills to practice. In fact, I personally feel like I learned more in math this year than the previous two years of 6th and 7th grade combined. The test included concepts that I went over in math class like exponential graphs, linear equations, and factoring polynomials.

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Today was our first day of ;Measures of Academic Progress', or 'MAP' testing. MAP tests are electronic assessments given at the beginning and end of the year in order to measure academic growth for that year. At Shanghai American School, three types of MAP tests are given that have 53 questions each - Language, Math, and Reading. Today, group O.R.E.O. used their SAS Essential work time to take the Language MAP test together. Some finished earlier than others, and used the excess time to relax or do some SAS essential work.

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Today was a fun, successful day in all areas including my inquiry project work, my wellness exercise, and my dinner. For my inquiry project, I made a great connection with Mr. Yang, a local Dong Jing musician. He was very friendly; I was able to gain helpful information and exchange music with him. I then went on an energizing jog with Maya, Chelsea, and Seyoung.

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This morning, twelve very tired Microcampus students made their way back to the Linden Center for their surprise breakfast. It had been a long night of camping yesterday, but a fun experience nonetheless. Yesterday at 5pm, group O.R.E.O. all hurriedly packed their hiking bags and were pumped for their camping trip that night.

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Today, I was able to uncover the beautiful tie-dye peice that I completed yesterday. Since I did not talk about my tie-dye experience yesterday, I will give a brief synopsis of what I did. At around 3 o'clock, Ms. Mai, Jake, and group O.R.E.O. boarded a bus headed to Zhou Cheng village, a place that has the most amounts of Bai people in all of Dali. Since his daughter, Sophie, kept him up all night, Mr. Tafel stayed behind and rested at the Linden Center.

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My roommates and I finally got to do laundry today - Yay!

As mentioned in yesterday’s journal, I chose to spend my afternoon at the tie-dye factory! This cut into part of the group’s routine afternoon work time, but I also got some valuable time to work on my inquiry project before we went. I got to polish up some work on the website and also go out into the village and speak with local contacts.

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Day 6 has been a fairly routine day so far. I have completed the daily goal for today’s SAS Essential work in Language Arts. For our assignment, we have to first identify a significant problem within Xizhou. Next, we have to write a persuasive letter to an expert with a plan in order to solve this problem. For my problem, I am considering ‘The Destruction of Traditional Architecture’, ‘The Disappearance of Bai Music’, and ‘Fires occurring in farmland’. I have also been active with my Daily Video shout out committee.

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As mentioned in yesterday’s journal, group O.R.E.O. is adjusting to regular, independent days here in Xizhou. I personally like having more freedom to conduct my own day and be in charge of my work. If you would like to hear about our daily schedule, feel free to check out day 5’s daily video shout out. However, lots of work has to be done everyday in both physical and academic areas. I think that I am doing fairly well on my own; I had a very productive day.

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Mr Tafel had told us the previous morning that Day 3 was the last day of orientation in Xizhou. He and Ms. Mai would soon step back from being in charge and let us handle things on our own. I was excited to have some independence to go out where I wanted and be able to handle things on my own. Having this independence is potentially very rewarding; I could spend time exploring inside and outside Xizhou village, make many social connections with the locals, and observe local and traditional culture at work.

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The highlight of my day today was the bike ride that group O.R.E.O. went on with Mr. Tafel. We seperated into 2 different groups. Half went bike riding with Mr. Tafel, half stayed at the Linden Center with Ms. Mai and learned how to use sports watches and heart rate monitors. Today was a very active day balanced with work and physical exercise.

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It is day 2 of Microcampus, and the O.R.E.O group had a great tour of Xizhou village. Even though I still have to work on getting around in the village, I enjoyed all the places the group visited during the first half of their day. We were also able to take in the great views of Xizhou such as farmland, the traditional households, and the skies.

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It was a super exciting day as the O.R.E.O group departed from Shanghai and arrived in Xizhou Village! I was one of the first to arrive at Hongqiao airport at around 8:50 am, where my parents helped me even out the weight of my luggage. Everyone came into the airport one by one with big smiles on their faces, but will all different sizes of luggage! Even though I am one of the smallest boys on the trip, I had the largest checked luggage bag which weighed in at around 19.4 kg, just 0.6 kg under the weight limit.

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Hi everyone! I am currently an 8th grader attending Shanghai American School, and am so grateful to have taken part in the 2016 spring Microcampus trip! I am originally from New York City, where I loved visiting exciting places, eating favorite foods, and spending time with extended family. When I was 10 years old, my family moved to Hong Kong for better work opportunity. Even though this was a big transition at first, I learned to keep an open mind as I adapted to a new environment and found new interests and favorite things. I had to go through change again when my family moved to Shanghai in 2013. Today, I still pursue my love for the guitar, baseball, and debate. At Microcampus, I experienced life outside of the urban bubble of Shanghai city life and lived in a small village in Yunnan Province called Xizhou for one month. There, I enjoyed being immersed in a rural environment with beautiful weather, scenery, and clear air. While staying in the village, I formed many close relationships with the locals and members of the Linden Center staff through daily interaction. I also learned about myself and acquired many useful lessons throughout the trip. Microcampus was an incredible experience for me and the rest of group O.R.E.O.