Day 28: Why I Came to Microcampus
If I had received this question 28 days ago, my answer would be about being able to understand a culture better and simply learning about my Inquiry Project: Body Language. Or perhaps I would have thought that this was a perfect opportunity to leave the building of the school and learn about other things.
28 days later, I do not have a specific and clear answer, but I have a general idea.
I came to Xizhou to learn about myself. I realized that I was shyer than I thought. When I first started my field research, I would watch people first making sure that they would not reject talking to me, and then I would approach them. I did not really change until I met Apple and her friend from Nanjing. When I approached them, I noticed that both of them were on their phones and not talking to each other. When I addressed them, they looked up with looks of disgust and moved closer to each other as if I was dangerous and they needed to protect each other from me. However, when I kept on talking and introduced myself as a student traveling internationally, they immediately tuck their phones away, became very interested in my learnings and started to share a lot of information with me. After this experience, I learned that if I kept on talking, I would still be able to get my point across even if my audience did not seem as interested as first.
I came to Xizhou to reflect. In Shanghai, there is a lot to do. Classes after classes. However, in Xizhou, there is time instead of classes. I can sit on the terrace for 30 minutes and not feel like I am wasting time. I am able to reflect on my actions all the time. The community of Xizhou is tight-knit and calm, I am able to automatically relax and feel calm as well. The people are all so open in sharing information and smiling all the time, it makes me realize how important happiness is.
I came to Xizhou to look for a story. Having lived in Shanghai for 8 years now, life can get a little repetitive. I wanted something different and to learn about other stories to be able to build on my own. Service Learning has been a big part of achieving that dream. I was able to learn about history through a first-person's perspective rather than textbooks. Mr. Tan who is my Service Learning partner shared a lot about how he regrets not being able to go to university although having good grades due to the Cultural Revolution. Listening to his story, I realized how important everyone's story is no matter what they are in the present. Furthermore, this whole journey has been a story I have been looking for since the beginning of middle school. A story filled with adventure, love, challenges and most of all, growth.
This is why I came to Microcampus