1. Why did you choose this topic?
I chose this topic because tea is a subject that interests me. It is a part of my everyday life as well as my family's. So I hoped to learn more about it during my inquiry project research.
2. Who were your sources?
I was very grateful to have so many amazing sources near me, and they are:
- Yan Zi at the Linden Centre, she was very nice to me and answered all of my questions.
- Mr. Lee, tea expert at the Dali Old Town
- Appreciating Chinese Tea- Pu'er Tea book by World Culture Books, this book could be found at the Linden Centre library.
3. Why did you choose these sources?
I chose these sources because they had all the information I needed and were of convenient access to me. I thought that since the people I interviewed came from two different backgrounds, I would get two sides to the same story.
4. What kinds of questions were you trying to answer?
I was trying to answer questions a person would ask if they knew nothing about pu'er tea (a.k.a. me). My questions however, do not focus on the tradition standpoint but more on the history and the process of how the tea is made.
5. Thesis Statement
Tea plays an important role in the culture of Yunnan, both as a everyday beverage and as a tradition.
1. What did you take away from this experience?
I learned more about tea than I ever thought I could. I also learned about the Bai culture because I was surrounded by it. I thought the inquiry project was fun, I learned not only the topic I researched on but I also improved on my people-skills. My Chinese certainly improved whilst I was there.
2. Did your topic change during the course of your study? Why?
I changed my topic on the first day when we arrived at the Linden Centre. My inquiry project was going to be about and economics case study where I focus on a business in Yunnan and see what it's like. I decided to change my topic because I was introduced to the idea of tea by my fellow Microcampus participant, Sabrina. She was doing her inquiry project on tea, and I thought that the area of tea could potentially have a wide variety of different questions.
3. What was the most difficult part of your research?
The most difficult part of my research wasn't actually obtaining the information itself but rather speaking Chinese to people since I haven't practiced it in so long.
4. Did you have any "a-ha" moments when you made a major discovery? Describe what you discovered and what it was like.
I didn't have any "a-ha" moments because all my questions were very general so I was open to a wide selection of answers.
5. How did this project help you to understand the topic better?
This project helped me understand my topic better because obviously, I now know more about tea than I ever would've imagined if it wasn't for the Microcampus experience. I got to ask many different questions to different people which as a result made me understand more about my topic.
6. How did this project help you interact with the community in and around Xizhou?
You really have to use your communication skills during this project because if not, you will just end up getting your information all from a book, which you can do back in Shanghai. Being in Xizhou gave me a change to experience the "real China" because I interacted with so many people.
7. How did this project help you understand yourself better?
I felt like when I was asking the tea experts questions, I realized that I actually have some confidence approaching new things.
8. If you could go back in time to the beginning of this project, what kind of advice would have helped you to make it a better experience?
My only advice I would give and is probably the most important one is: do not procrastinate, and plan way ahead to make sure you're always one-step ahead of the game, otherwise you'll fall short.
9. If you (or someone else) were to continue this research project, what new directions might it take? How could other Microcampus students build on the work you have done?
They would probably go deeper into the traditions of tea culture rather than just the surface aspects of it.
10. Acknowledgements: end by giving thanks to who were helpful during this research process.
I thank everybody at the Linden Centre for letting me ask questions and using the library. I thank the people at the tea plantation we went to because I took away a lot from that experience (not just the camping). I thank all the people who have supported me throughout this whole process. I really appreciate it.