Over the past 28 days I have been living in a small village in the southwest part of China called Xizhou. I have been here with 13 other students researching and gathering information about my project. Before we came on the trip we were giving a long list of project choices that we can focus our inquiry projects on.
When I saw the long list the first thing I did was look at the list and pick out some that I think might be interesting. I picked out three of the ones that I was interested in and talked to my parents about those 3 topics. They told me that one of them was the one that I should choose. The topic that I chose was farming. I was interested about how the farmers grow the crops and their daily lifestyle.
I had many people who were important sources of information. Some of these people were Mr. Zhao the security guard, Ms. Jiumei, and Mr. Brian Linden. These few people really helped me gather information about my topic.
I chose the people that I interviewed because they either had some connection to farming or they have lived here for a long time and see the changes and the impacts that farming has on Xizhou.
By interviewing the people here I was trying to answer my ten questions but also the questions the my ten questions led to. When I narrowed down my topic I created some new questions that I asked the people about.
In order to investigate how garlic has impacted Xizhou, one must consider how it has impacted the environment, the economy, and the villagers and farmers
Sharing My Learning
You can find my final project above or click here for another link: https://youtu.be/_UOVo8XlELY
I have taken a lot of information from my inquiry project information, but not only that I learned about the process of gathering information and putting this information into a presentation of some kind. I have learned about interacting with people that I do not know, I have learned about how to organize appointments and meetings with people. I have learned about the farmers and their daily life. I have learned about where we get our crops and how the farmers grow the crops. Finally I learned about how garlic impacts Xizhou and the villagers living in Xizhou.
Throughout my inquiry project process, my topic did not change at all. My topic has always been farming in Xizhou. However during the information gathering phase I did narrow down my topic. It went from general farming in Xizhou to more specifically how garlic has impacted Xizhou. I narrowed down my topic because I felt that my topic was way too general. I could not cover everything about Farming in Xizhou in one month but I could cover how garlic has impacted Xizhou in one month.
When I was gathering information there were many different types of challenges throughout this phase. One of the most difficult challenges was having the courage to ask people that I did not really know for information and also understanding some of the people I interviewed was a semi-challenge. The reason was because of the accent. Sometimes when they spoke too fast I could not really understand what they were talking about.
When I was gathering information for my narrowed topic I had and ah-ha moment when I gathered information about how garlic impacts the environment here in Xizhou. When I discovered that garlic is actually harmful to the environment here I felt like I had learned something extremely important about my topic. I felt like I have found buried treasure.
During the process of this inquiry project I needed to gather information so in order to complete this project I went out and gathered information. After I gathered information I learned new things about this topic. Learning new information caused me to understand my topic better.
Throughout the information gathering process I needed to find, make appointments with, and interview people who would help me gather information about my topic. So while I was making appointments and interviewing the people that live here I was interacting with the community here in Xizhou.
It helped me understand that I like interviewing people and gathering information about my topic. It also showed me that I have the Chinese skills to interact with the local people here in Xizhou. Finally I learned that I like to record the information that I gathered from the interviews.
It helped me realize that I learn easier when I do it myself. So the inquiry project showed me that I am a hands-on kind of person. Also I learned that I would rather go out and interview people instead of just doing research on a laptop.
If I could go back and time to the beginning of the trip. I would have told myself to be more aware of my surroundings and where I am. Also to be extra careful about what I am doing and think very carefully before I do something. Also think if my actions will affect other people other than just myself.
If I was to take a new direction I would probably do something related but not completely the same I would probably do a new project about how rice or other crops affect Xizhou. If another Microcampus student wishes to continue my project I they would have to do more research on the specifics because I think I covered this subject pretty generally.
I would like to thank Mr. Li and Ms. Yang two different farm shop owners whom I interviewed. Mr. Zhao our security guard and Mr. Zhao our neighbor were also extremely helpful during this process. Mr. Linden whom I interviewed. The Linden family for letting us stay here, and the Yangzhouran staff for taking care of us. Ms. Yeling who was always supportive and helpful. Ms. Jiumei whom I interviewed and gave me a ton of information. I would also like to thank my parents for always being supportive and letting me come on this trip. Finally, Ms. Mai and Mr Tafel for supporting me, taking care of me, making sure I stay on task and stay healthy.
Overall I think this was a great experience and I am glad I came on this trip. I learned a lot about farming and also about discipline and being aware of my surroundings. Thank you, everyone for making this opportunity possible for me.