Microcampus was the most memorable experience of my life. My name is Raine-Monet W. and I along with my Phenomena groupmates left the sheltering cushion of Shanghai to spend a month of our lives in Xizhou, located in China's Southwest Yunnan province. In preparation for our month-long journey in a foreign place, we each had the responsibility of selecting a topic that allured us. The topic that I found most engaging after contemplating my choices was Healthcare/Wellness as experienced by locals. My reasoning for choosing this topic is that in the future, I aspire to have a career in medicine or a health-related career. I have always been interested in medicinal and medical processes and I was and continue to be passionate about this topic. Microcampus was the perfect time for me to go on a journey of self-discovery, while simultaneously learning about my passion.
For the duration of our time in Xizhou, I studied my topic through methods including talking to teacher resources, conversing with locals and doing research prior to our departure. My main sources were pharmacists, doctors and locals in Xizhou. It was immensely important that I discovered different beliefs on Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine because perspectives are significant when understanding healthcare and medicine. I learned many different opinions on medicine and found that some key sources of information were Ms. Dong, Mr. Zhao and Mr. Yang. These three people were either pharmacists or doctors. They informed me of the different health processes, medicinal processes and medical options/approaches for residents of Xizhou. I chose these people to be my sources because they had directly dealt with medicine and the people of Xizhou come to them for medical aid and assistance. I also chose locals with no relation to the distribution of medicine to be my sources because they are the receivers of the medicine and have their own personal opinions on healthcare.
My conversations with my sources included an assortment of questions about Traditional Chinese Medicine, Western Medicine, and local healthcare approaches. The questions were very general, meaning that I did not target one specific type of medicine to infer about, but a wide range of medicinal and medical questions that all citizens of Xizhou could relate to. The information I needed to receive involved details about the citizen's exposure to medicine, preference of medicine and approaches to medicine. I also wanted to dig deeper and learn more about Traditional Chinese Medicine, as it is an interesting practice that I was fascinated in.
In order to share my insights about the medical care system in Xizhou, one might consider the healthcare options for a Western tourist in Xizhou, a Xizhou resident with a minor ailment, and a Xizhou resident with a serious illness.
Sharing My Learning
The decision I made to share my learning about my time in Xizhou was to make an iMovie video. The video I made can be found at the top of this page. I decided to use an iMovie because I though it best illustrated all of the information I collected and allowed the viewers to fully understand my journey here on Microcampus, through pictures, film and text. If there are any problems that arise when attempting to have the video load, please click here: https://youtu.be/KL_VMy_mcqE
The inquiry project experience was unlike any other project I have ever completed. At the beginning of the Microcampus process, I was unfamiliar with the inquiry project and did not know what to expect when I arrived in Xizhou. However, throughout the course of a month, I have learned that the inquiry project has opened up a door for all Microcampus students. Behind this door are new opportunities, interactions with others, while simultaneously learning about a topic of personal passion. The inquiry project is one of the best projects I have ever done because I directed my own journey, thoughts and learning. I was independently making my own project, with little help from others. Not only did the inquiry project open up the door for new learning, but throughout the process I began to understand that it means so much more. I will never forget my time on Microcampus where I completed my inquiry project and was in awe of Xizhou.
My topic did change slightly during the course of my study. Prior to our departure, I was interested in studying the beliefs of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine in Xizhou. This study is learning about the preferences and facts about medicine in Xizhou. When I arrived, I became more interested in learning about the past, present and future of medicine in Xizhou. When I conducted my research on this new in-depth topic, I found that the information I was receiving did not hold an abundance of information. I then changed my topic into another topic that fully captured both the past, present and future of medicine, while also including perspectives on Western Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine. My current topic is Perspectives on Western Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine in Xizhou. I found myself very attached to this topic, and I know that I incorporated the most learning I could, while concurrently enjoying the beauty of Xizhou.
The most difficult part of my research was becoming adapted to conversing with locals. Before Microcampus, I was very bashful when it came to speaking Chinese with others. I was afraid when I had to speak Chinese because it was embarrassing when I was not understood and it is frustrating when one is unaware of how to phrase a sentence. When I went out for teacher support with Ms. Mai, Mr. T, Ms. Zhang, or Ms. Zhao, I had to challenge myself to speak Chinese more and more, even if it was very difficult. Although this aspect of my research was very frustrating, I am grateful for the challenge and enjoyed pushing myself to interact directly with locals. Language barriers can always be overcome.
For the duration of Microcampus, all of my experiences were "a-ha" moments. I made so many discoveries, and learned so much from others. There were no specific times where I had major discoveries, because all of my moments were remarkable and worth so much to me. One of my special moments was when I had was when I had my first interaction with Traditional Chinese Medicine at the local clinic in Xizhou, the fragrant smell of all of the herbs was overwhelming. When I saw the cabinets, and cabinets of all the herbs I was taken aback by the intensity of the herbs and seeing Traditional Chinese Medicine for the first time. It was ultimately interesting and I had never seen medicine like that before, it allowed me to see medicine in an entirely new way. This is why I came to Microcampus, to see China in a different way and learn more about the culture here.
Before arriving in Xizhou, all I knew about my topic from my background research acquired in Phase 3
. Now, I know so much more about Traditional Chinese Medicine overall and more about specifically Western Medicine in Xizhou. This project helped me to understand more about the role that Western Medicine plays in rural areas, and how Traditional Chinese Medicine will always remain in the culture. I also received more information on how preferences on medicine depends on the person/bodily factors, not only on the age. Medicine is universal, and I as a result of the inquiry project, I was able to know more about the part it plays in Xizhou.
The Inquiry Project opens up all Microcampus students to interact with others and gives an opportunity to all to interact with the community around us. In Xizhou, one is able to become part of the bigger picture and express love towards the people in the village. This project is what led our time here in Microcampus, and without it, we would be unable to step out of our comfort zone and make connections. During the course of my study, I went out and felt happy to meet new faces and receive the reassuring "你好“ from the locals in the village. All it took was a simple smile, hello or wave, and it brightened each day of Microcampus more and more.
Overall, Microcampus is not only about the inquiry project. It is also about self-discovery and going on an adventure to find yourself. Personally, I have discovered the level of perseverance I have. When it comes to finding out more information, or speaking Chinese, I had to be determined. Additionally, I now understand the love I have within me and how much I am able to become attached to a foreign place. I now understand my level of independence even more, because I can only rely on myself to be successful. I have always been independent, but Microcampus taught me that being independent is a symbol of strength and maturity. I have developed into an improved version of myself, I have not only survived, but thrived in Xizhou and proved that I have discovered more about myself.
The process of Microcampus helped me to better understand myself as a learner, by firstly, proving my strength as an independent worker. Secondly, it allowed me to level of determination I have to always put in more than 100%. I always have considered myself to be a strong worker, who consistently puts their best effort. However, because of Microcampus, I have seen how important it is that I have these traits. I am a very efficient worker, and Microcampus has developed me into an even more productive worker.
For future Microcampus students, I suggest that you always make the most of Microcampus. Some advice would be to make as many connections as possible in the beginning of the trip, step out of your comfort zone and to take as many pictures as possible. There are no limits to who you can talk to, try to obtain as many contacts as possible. The inquiry project may seem stressful at first, but I was grateful to have been part of something bigger than me. Learn through experience and expand your horizons.
If I were to expand upon my inquiry project further, I would take it in the direction of learning more about Traditional Chinese Medicine, because I feel that there is so much more to explore. For students studying medicine in Xizhou, remember to dig deep into the questions and talk to locals, pharmacists and doctors. There are no limits to who you can talk to, try to apply your questions to the locals in Xizhou as well. If other Microcampus students were to build on the work I have done, I would suggest to not only acquire information on medicine, but on how locals stay healthy and maintain wellness. There are so many directions to take on this topic, and I am sure that all directions have the capabilities of being successful.
This experience of a lifetime could not have been possible without the remarkable people who put their best effort into making it a remarkable experience. Firstly, I express my deepest thanks to Mr. T and Ms. Mai, who have always been there to support us, guide us and help us make the most of our time here in Xizhou. Without them, Microcampus would not have existed and I would never have been able to experience and love Xizhou in this heartfelt way. Thank you for being our "in loco parentis" for this month, it means so much to each member of our group! Secondly, I would like to thank the staff at Yangzhuoran, for keeping us fed, healthy, and keeping our home in order. Thank you to Ms. Zhang, who allowed us to become more accustomed to our home, and watching over us. Thank you to the Linden Family who have been so hospitable towards SAS students and allowing Microcampus to continue with every trip. Finally, the members of the Phenomena group, who have become my family for this past month. Who I love, and care for and I know that you show the same love and care towards me. We went through ups and downs throughout the trip, however, there is no other group of people I would've rather laughed with, learned with or created with.
Microcampus was “phenomenal” and there is no other way to describe it. Throughout this month, I was able to expand my intercultural understanding, grow personally, learn experientially and leave a positive impact on my second home of Xizhou. Xizhou is such an inspiring place, I never thought that I could become close with the locals and think of them as family. The inquiry project is the best self-directed project I have done. I wanted to push myself to learn more and more, and that is what I have done. It has been proven that love can be shared in a simple month. I love Xizhou, I love Microcampus and I will always love the memories made.