Mia C. (Alumni-T)'s Journal

Before the arrival in Xizhou, I had come to Microcampus simply because my sister had told me that it was "incredible". I did not realize the extent of just how incredible it is. Microcampus taught me things that I would have never learnt in school, showing me how to explore, take risks, self-discipline. If not for all three of those categories, there would be no Service Learning project or Inquiry Project to upload. 

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Much like my sister, I will also be celebrating my brithday during the Microcampus trip. What's more is, both of our birthdays coincidentally landed within the last two days of Microcampus! After spending a month with every person in the Tactical Microcampus group, I am absolutely excited to be spending my birthday with them tomorrow. It will also be a perfect ending, as I can spend the afternoon with my friends and family back in Shanghai as well.

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It was incredible to have the chance and share our Service Learning video with Mr. Yang. On the way here, we learnt even more about him, and heard that he had lived through three deadly diseases. As a child, there was no medicine for his conditions, so it is almost unbelievable how strong he must have had to be at that time. When you think about it, he was not only going through his personal issues of health, but the cultural revolution was occuring at the same time. 

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It was a big day today! We had our "pearls of wisdom" for our Service Learning project from Mr. T. at 10am, meaning that we had to complete the draft of our video by that time. After the pearls of wisdom, our group ended up having to make a whole new video, as my iMovie crashed and we had been editing on my laptop. We switched to Debbie's laptop, and rushed to have a new video done by 2:30pm, for our check in with Ms. Song.

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Today Mr. T. and Ms. Mai treated the entire Tactical Microcampus group to pizza in Old House Cafe! Although pizza is not my favorite thing, Mr. T. and Ms. Mai were both kind enough to let me order something completely different off the menu. Obviously, after hearing that I am not particularly fond of the food, many of my peers enjoyed teasing me. Either way, I think that the dinner out was especially nice, as we had all just spent the entire day plugging away on our Service Learning project.

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One of the most incredible parts of the Microcampus experience is going through the process of the Service Learning project. This is because when completing your project, each and every one of us is to go outside our comfort zone and talk to elderly locals in the area. My group, which includes Debbie and Marco, had a hard time in the beginning looking for a service learning partner.

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Mr. Huang is one of the people who I connected with in the duration of my Inquiry Project work. He is one of the nicest people who I have met throughout my Microcampus experience, and runs an adorable tea shop. When I had my first conversation with him, he heartily poured me tea, insisting that "we could not have a conversation without tea!".

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As part of the evening activity commitee (along with Audrey), we planned the horse carriage ride that started last night at 7:00. We learnt that yesterday was also the start of a three-day long festival called Rao San Ling, which is celebrated by all of the Bai minority. In turn, we decided to ask the horse carriage driver to take us there, so that we could join in on the festivities. It was incredible, realizing that we were the first of all Microcampus groups to be a part of this experience.

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After finishing an hour of inquiry work, Debbie, Marco, and I embarked on a trip to Chengdong. Together, we are a Service Learning group, and were trying to find a person to be our partner. We ran into Mrs. Yang, who was amazing and made small talk with us. We showed her one of the videos, and she laughed as she realized she recognized the man in the video. As she agreed to be our Service Learning partner, we took a photo to show to Mr.

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Throughout the past two-and-a-half weeks, I have been working on my Inquiry Project work for Phase 3. Specifically speaking, I was studying the topic of Body Language, and how it plays into the differences between locals and tourists. I met some incredible people throughout this journey, as well as some that were not as welcoming. However, the good side of my research definetely outweighs the bad.

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One of the best parts of Microcampus is being given the trust and opportunity to eat out with our friends. It is incredible because it is not something we get to do in Shanghai, or during China Alive. Besides the obvious delcious food we get to eat, it serves as a chance for us to make connections with different restaurant owners or snack vendors. For example, the vendor who sells rose buns, has gotten to know Debbie and I well, as we go there everyday. She told us to call her Ms.

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Today, my Service Learning group (Debbie, Marco, and I) decided to go to Chengdong to do service learning work. During our time there, I ran into Mr. Yang, who I actually I met a couple days ago while I was out in the same area with Jason. It was incredible because he remembered me from the first time we met, even though it was only a fifteen-minute conversation.

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I cannot express how beautiful the hike was. The entire experience was so memorable, and gave the Tactical Group yet another journey to bond over. At steep parts during the hike, it took collaboration and encouragement from each other to make it through. Surprisingly, no one took pictures throughout the hike. I believe this is for two reasons. First off, a big camera would have just been another weight someone would have to carry, as if going up 500m was not hard enough.

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At one o'clock today, we will begin our hike! Although hiking is something that I am comfortable with, it will definetely push me outside of my comfort zone. This is because the weather today, out of all days, has not forecasted to be all sunshine and rainbows. However, I am still positive that this will be an incredible experience. I will be sharing a tent with Debbie and Audrey, and we are all so excited to see amazing views and play card games at night.

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This journal entry is part of my Science SAS Essentials work. In the next two paragraphs, I will be sharing a summary of my observations on the positive and negative impacts tourists have on the local Xizhou community. Specifically, I will look at their effects on the subject of plastic container use. The photo above this entry was taken when Debbie, Audrey and I went to Sifangjie to interview locals and gather information about our topic.

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Yesterday's inquiry work was some of the most interesting work that I have done up till this point. However, I did not get the chance to write about my inquiry work yesterday, as my schedule did not allow for it. When studying the body language in Xizhou, I had decided that one of the best recources would be the horse carriage drivers. This is because for most of this, this was a long-time career, meaning that they have pursued it for over 10 years.

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On Day 9, Mr. Kendall Steinberg arrived from Shanghai to live with us in Yangzuoran for a week. He is part of the communications department in SAS, and is interested in creating a film that shows what Microcampus is truly about, which is portrayed through our everyday life. For the past two days, he has been incredibly respectful of our space, even when following us around during our daily schedule. Yesterday, I had gone to the Linden Centre for my inquiry work, and Mr. Kendall came along with Ms. Zhao and I.

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We began our SAS essentials again today. From 8:15-9:45, we were working on Humanities and Science. In science, I have decided to take a closer look on the use of plastic containers, and how to reduce the total amount used throughout the village. It was incredibly interesting, as it was another opportunity for me to go out and make connections with local folks.

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The biggest highlight of my day was going to bike with Debbie S.. We got our first tz of the week, and during our biking, we stopped by the side of the road to do some minute-on-a-minute work. The sky was blue and the sun was out, but that had changed quickly. The first rain since the start of Microcampus started to pour, and we were in jeans (as it is required for safety), and we were faced with an obstacle of weather. However, it made for a great adventure, as it required us to trust each other and work together better.

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Starting our Service Learning project was definetely the highlight of today. Although we have not officially posted any information yet, we received our service learning groups, based off of our count-off numbers. My group consists of numbers 1, 3, and 5, which means I am with Debbie and Marco!

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Today we had our first half-day trip! When we took the vote to see where we would be heading, it was a unanimous vote from the entire Tactical group to go to the wind farm. While we were there, we were also able to make observations for our science SAS essentials, as a couple of us were studying renewable energy. As we were a smaller group, we were allowed to climb down on the rocks by the edge of a wind turbine.

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Today was one of the best days so far; Mr. T. and Ms. Mai got us our ukulele! It has been something I have been especially excited for, along with the ball pump. It was nice of them to get these items so soon, and I can not wait till tonight's evening activity of "Instrument Playing" to strum away. The ukulele was revealed at the end of our daily meeting, and the response from the group ended up being a series of laughter. As for the ball pump, it was also something I was ecstatic about, as this meant I could play soccer or volleyball with my friends during wellness or downtime. 

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One of my highlights of the day was starting Phase 3 of my inquiry work. I had Mr. T as my support teacher, and he showed me the perfect spot to start people watching, as that was how I planned to study body language. It was interesting to see the difference between locals and tourists, and how based off their clothing and/or body language, I was able to make accurate guesses about who they were, most of the time. Moreover, during this inquiry work time, I met locals along the way, as Mr.

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Today was our first time following a specific WIPPIS schedule. This includes wellness, inquiry project worktime, pitching in, and still time. As this was the first time doing WIPPIS, we were assigned certain time slots to do certain things, with certain people. I was with Audrey today, and we spent still time in a wood carving studio that we found. It was really interesting as we not only met new people, but got to see how they lived their day-to-day life.

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Today, Jason and I started off our day by getting up for a morning run. This was one of my favorite parts of the day, as while we were running, we ran into some local villagers who were already awake, delivering noodles. We made conversation with them whenever we passed by, in which was probably 2-3 times. In addition to that, it was nice to get to know the area a little better, and find new paths to new locations.

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Today was such a busy day! Personally, the highlights of the day was what happened after lunch in Sifangjie. We had just finished our tour, and were given the task to find our way back. I was with Marco and Debbie, and it proved to be a challenge as none of us had a really good sense of direction. However, it gave us the chance to work as a team, and we managed to reach home without asking for help.

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Today was the first official day of Microcampus. We arrived soon after lunch, and even during our walk towards our new home, I began to feel the sense of the bonds Microcampus has with the local community. We spent the day with each other, and all went to the music room. Within a couple minutes, we all found ourselves in the instrument room. We ended up spending two hours there, switching between the piano, the guitars, and the banjo.

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On Friday, April 14th, 2017, we as the Tactical group had our overnighter where we discussed the importance of all aspects of wellness during our stay at Microcampus. We also reviewed the daily schedule, and got into some of the typical Microcampus routines. Click here for my Pre-Trip Overnighter Reflection.

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My name is Mia C., and I am Taiwanese. Although born in Taiwan, I am also American and Canadian. This year marks my 11th year of living in Shanghai, and my 6th year attending SAS. I enjoy trying new things and understanding the world around me, so Microcampus seemed like the perfect opportunity. The experience was more than I could have ever imagined and I hope to return to Xizhou soon.