Chris L. (Alumni-U)'s Journal

There are many reasons as to why I chose to come to Microcampus, but the main reason would be to experience the "Real China". Furthermore, when Mr. Tafel presented Microcampus to us before, he told us that while we were in Xizhou, we would be aiming to achieve 4 goals: expanding intercultural understanding, experiential learning, personal growth, and leaving a positive impact. I knew that, with these 4 goals in mind, this trip would not only be fun but challenging as well. These were the reasons that I came to Microcampus. Keyword: were.

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Today is December 14th, 2017, and today is the last whole day that we have in Xizhou. Today was a relatively peaceful and calm day, but since it was our last day at Xizhou, we had a lot of packing and wrapping up work to do. During the morning, we all tried to finish all the wrapping up work so that we would have more leisure time in the afternoon for last minute goodbyes. We were all very sad to be saying our last goodbyes to the citizens of Xizhou, whom we might never see again.

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During the afternoon of December 13th, 2 days before we leave for Shanghai, Mr. Tafel help an event where we shared our service learning video with our service learning partner and other citizens of Xizhou. People who came include Mr. Wang (our service learning partner), Ms. Zhou (the other service learning group's partner), Ms. Zhao (Owner of Old Town Snacks), Ms. Chen (Ms. Zhao's mother in law), and some Linden Centre staff. All in all, today was really successful.

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Today is December 13th, 2017, and today is the day that my service learning group and I finally finished our service learning video after a long and tough week. We started the day off with a nice and healthy breakfast and then, since our SAS essentials time ended last week, we immediately began with our service learning video. Scene after scene, subtitles after subtitles, our service learning video slowly began to take shape. At 10:00 we went to Mr. Tafel for our first check up. Mr.

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Today is December 11th, 2017, and today is the day that we fully devoted our efforts towards producing a wonderful service learning video. Since our SAS essentials period has stopped this week, we used our normal SAS essentials period in the morning to do extra work with our service learning projects. Then, after our 1 hour 45 minutes worth of service learning time, came our daily meeting for our 24th day at Microcampus. During the daily meeting, Ms. Yo, our middle school counselor, surprised us with a sudden appearance halfway into our meeting.

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Today is December 10th, 2017, and today is the last day of our last weekend at Microcampus. Even though today was a weekend, we had a lot of work including our inquiry project and service learning project to do. Our main priority today, however, is to complete our final product for our inquiry work and go to Mr. Tafel for his reflection, also known as his pearls of wisdom, on our final product video. I was first in line to get Mr. Tafel's reflection since I had completed everything yesterday and I was very eager to receive some feedback on my hard work. After around 15 minutes, Mr.

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Today is December 9th, 2017, and today is the day that my service learning group and I finally found our service learning partner. Today, my service learning group and I woke up feeling glum, sure of the fact that we would fail the service learning project. At least that is what we thought. Soon, we finished breakfast and after another 10 minutes, we began yet another day of service learning partner hunt. From yesterday, we knew a kind old man named Mr. Wang and he was one of the elders in the village who we really connected with. Mr.

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Today is December 8th, 2017, and today marks the first day of our last week in Xizhou. We all wanted to enjoy and cherish our last week in Xizhou, but all of that can wait. Today, like always was a hectic day. We were swamped by the piles among piles of inquiry work and service learning work since that was our main priority recently. We have only 2 more days to finish all of our inquiry work, which includes creating our video and writing our reflection. On top of that, we also only have 2 more days to film for our service learning project and a few days to create a short film out of it.

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Today is December 7th, 2017, and today I will be reflecting on the Dali Old Town trip that I went on yesterday night. Right after our daily check-in at 17:45 yesterday, Mr. Tafel took 4 members of our group, Ana, Henin, Michael and me, to the famous Dali Old Town that we have been longing to go to. The car trip to Dali Old town took around 20 to 25 minutes and before long, we have arrived.

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Today is December 6th, 2017, and today is the day that I tried the legendary 15RMB sweet Xizhou Baba. We woke up in the morning and, knowing that Phase 4 was to be started and finished within 2 hours, we got ready for another hectic day. The morning went on like usual. We had SAS essentials, Daily Meeting, and finally Pitching In time.

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Today is December 5th, 2017, and today was a hectic day for everyone in the Ultimate group. Today, was our 18th day at Xizhou and today, our Phase 3 work was due, so everyone was working extremely hard to accomplish that. Before our Inquiry Project time started in the afternoon and after we came back early from lunch outside, my group and I found Mr. Tafel playing with a small Hacky Sack. We were very interested in this little ball of beans and asked Mr. Tafel if we could try playing it with him. Of course, Mr. Tafel agreed without even hesitating.

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Today is December 4th, 2017, and today is the day I went to Bao Chen Fu, a building associated with the Linden Centre, to do my still time. The morning started out like any other, breakfast, SAS Essentials, Daily Meeting, and finally Pitching In before lunch. Since today is a Monday, we had to adjust back to our normal sleeping routine, which still ensured us 9 hours of sleep, but just a lot earlier. Luckily, we had already done our laundry on Saturday, so we do not have to wake up extra early.

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Today is December 3rd, 2017 and today is the day my Service Learning partners and I went out to make more connections with the elders of Xizhou for our Service Learning Project. Furthermore, today was also our laundry day. This meant that we had to wake up earlier on a weekend, which was not very pleasant for me. Nevertheless, I was glad to have new clothes to wear for another week. At 12:00 came lunch, and then Service Learning time right after.

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Today is December 2nd, 2017 and today, we woke up in a tent. The morning was cold as I climbed out of my tent with my tentmates to go and prepare for the morning. We were still very tired from the vigorous hiking yesterday. As we rose up to stretch our well-rested muscles, we could feel the light breezing wind blowing across our cheeks. The sun was like a heat lamp, giving us the desired warmth as it slowly rose up high into the sky. We marveled at our surroundings, amazed at the wondrous sight.

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Today is December 1st, 2017, and today is the day we go hiking in Xizhou. We headed toward the mountain at around 13:00, right after we finished lunch and washed the dishes. As we approached the foot of the mountain to begin the hike, we all felt extremely anxious and excited for the 4-hour hike. However, after 1 hour of hiking upwards, all the excitement and enthusiasm seemed to be replaced by fatigue and the craving for rest. We followed the mountain trail and trekked upwards for what seemed like hours. At one point, we even took the wrong path and deviated off course for a while.

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Today is November 30th, 2017, and today is my long-awaited lesson on how to make Xizhou baba. The morning started off like any other morning of the week. After an entire morning's worth of hard work, we all dug in and ate our lunch ravenously. After lunch came our WIPPIS time. Today my WIPPIS schedule is the same as Saleem and Hayley. We had Pitching-In first, then Inquiry Project, Wellness, and finally, Still time.

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Today is November 29th, 2017, and today is the day that I learn how to make cheese. After we ate lunch outside in the village, my inquiry project time came along and it was time for me to go back out into the village to ask some more questions. I got ready and set out with Mr. Chen for the Cheese Factory. As soon as I stepped into the factory, I could smell the rich aroma of the cheese. I could not wait to get started. The owner of the place was a nice lady named Ms. Zhang and a man named Mr. Yin. They were very generous and patient with me as they led me through the entire process.

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Today is November 28th, 2017, and today for evening activities, we had a long and intriguing lesson on tent building so that we won't have to sleep outside during our hiking trip. The morning passed like any other. Breakfast, SAS Essentials, Daily Meeting, and pitching in. After lunch, our WIPPIS (Wellness, Inquiry Project, Pitching In, Still Time) Time began. Soon after is our dinner, and finally, the long-awaited tent lesson has arrived.

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Today is November 27th, 2017, and today is the beginning of a new week. Sadly, the relaxing and restful weekend had passed and today is the Monday of our second week at Xizhou. To get ready for this brand new week, we first had to adjust back to our early wake-up schedule. If that was not tiring enough, today was our laundry day as well, meaning that we had to wake up even earlier! If I am not mistaken, that is almost a 2-hour gap. Laundry today morning was exactly like last time, "bone-chilling" cold.

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Today is November 26th, 2017, and today is the day that Mr. Tafel shared a little secret of his with us. The morning today started off like yesterday. We slept in, ate a late breakfast and then tidied up our room. Next came the 1 and a half hour wellness reflection, where we answered and reflected on our physical, emotional, social wellness during the past week. After that was lunchtime, and after lunch was when Mr. Tafel shared his secret with us. Turns out Mr. Tafel had an extremely strong psychic connection with a coin and he can even detect the whereabouts of this coin.

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Today is November 25th, 2017, and today marks our one-week anniversary of our Microcampus trip. Today is also the first day of our first weekend here at Xizhou. This morning started out unlike any of the other mornings that we have had in Xizhou, of course, this was due to our distinctive weekend schedules. Me and my roommates, Michael and Saleem, had the pleasure of sleeping in until 8:30 before we needed to walk downstairs for our healthy morning breakfast.

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Today is November 24th, 2017 and today is the day that a special visitor paid us a visit out of the blue. This morning started out like any other. We woke up at 7, finished breakfast at 8, and we began our SAS essentials period at 8:15. During our SAS essentials period today, we were studying hard for a SWYK (Show What You Know) that we had to take this afternoon. Everyone who needed to take the test (IM1 and IM+ folks) were all extremely tense and nervous.

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Today is November 23rd, 2017, and today is the second day that I interview my first local contact. However, in this post, I will be reflecting on my first ever experience contacting my first local expert, Ms. Zhao, from Old Town Snacks. On November 21st, I had already signed up for teacher support from Mr. Tafel for my inquiry project. I was all set to go and meet my first local contact. As I walked down the crowded streets to Si Fang Jie, the area where Old Town Snacks was located next to, I chatted nervously with Mr. Tafel, Ms. B, and Mr.

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Today is November 22nd, 2017, and today is the first ever laundry day for the only three boys at Microcampus. Saleem, Michael, and I woke up much earlier than usual so that we would have a sufficient amount of time to wash our clothes, hang them up and then be in time for breakfast. The morning sky was still as dark as the middle of the night, and the air was slightly chilly.

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Today is November 21st and the day started out like any other, a healthy breakfast followed by SAS essentials time, daily meeting, and then Pitching in time. Finally, after four hours of hard work and studying, lunchtime had arrived. I ate out at a restaurant called Old Town Snacks (古镇小吃) with my group members Michael, Henin, and Nina.

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Today is November 20th, and today is the first "regular" day for us at Microcampus. We started the day off with a healthy breakfast that includes, bread, milk, noodles known as Ersi, and much more. We continued the day with SAS essentials in the morning and then an entire afternoon of hard work and connecting. To end the night, due to our wonderful behavior in the day, we were treated with a special visit to the Linden Centre, where we witnessed one of the most amazing sights of nature.

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Today is November 19th, 2017, and today is the day we learned about the village that we are going to live in for the next month. After a satisfying breakfast, Mr. Tafel, our Mircrocampus coordinator took us on a tour around the village. We first explored the architectural side of Xizhou, observing and comparing modern and ancient Xizhou buildings. While walking down the streets of Xizhou, we were immersed with the commercial side of Xizhou, learning about the different shops and factories.

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Today, November 18th, 2017, is the day the 21st Microcampus group, Group Ultimate, arrived in Xizhou. After we sat through a 3 and a half hour plane ride to Dali, and then a 1-hour bus ride to Xizhou, we finally arrived at our new home for the next 28 days. When we first arrived, I was taken aback by how modern the architectural structure of the rooms in our new home Yang Zhuo Ran was. Each bedroom was furnished with 2 beautifully-built bunker beds, at least 1 table, as well as a bathroom with a sink, a shower, and a toilet.

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Hi everyone, my name is Chris L., 13 years old, and I was part of the 21st Microcampus group: Ultimate. I am back in Shanghai now, and I am getting used to my old schedule. Microcampus has truly been a phenomenal trip. I will always remember all the experiences that I had at Microcampus, the good times and the bad. Through overcoming these tough times, I have learned many life lessons that will definitely help me in the future. Furthermore, I would like to take the time here to thank the Microcampus coordinators, Mr. Tafel and MS. Mai, for making this trip possible. I could not have survived in Xizhou without their help. Over the course of that month, I have grown so much in so many different ways, and I have adopted good habits that will stay with me forever.