Phase 0: Getting Started: Topic Exploration and Selection

Updated 10 months 3 weeks ago

This is the beginning of a project which I will grow and learn over the course of. I will be going to Xizhou for 28 days with fellow peers who are interested in learning about other cultures and ways of life. In the village, I will be investigating love and marriage. To narrow down the amount of topics I could choose, I considered which topics I thought I would be able to connect with people through. After the process of elimination through serious consideration, I decided the topics I cared most about were personal history and the important days in the lives of people in Xizhou culture. 

Out of all of the possible topics, I thought that love and marriage was one of the topics that I could relate to most. I thought that this inquiry project was not only about learning about how different people live, but it is also about building empathy and connections with other people, so it is important to me for my topic to be something that I can build connections through. I want to learn about the traditions and restraints that surround love and marriage in a small village such as Xizhou. To learn about this topic, talking to people who are engaged, dating, or just got married would be helpful.

Two topics that I seriously considered were life rituals and a case study on the code of ethics in the village. These topics interested me because they would help me learn about everyday life in Xizhou. Though these topics would be great for building connections to people in Xizhou, I ultimately decided that these topics weren't right for me because they were too broad and didn't have enough guidelines. 

I went back and looked through suggestions that alumni who chose this topic wrote in their projects to learn about the common mistakes made so that I could prevent them in my work. Risa Y. from the P group said that she wished she took more pictures and focused on a smaller aspect of this topic. Charissa C from the M group said that she wished that she put more effort into the work she did before the actual trip. She also said that if she could do this project again, she would have taken more photos from different angles. These suggestions will definitely improve the quality of my work and final project. 

Now that I have chosen a topic and gotten suggestions from past Microcampus students who have researched the same topic as I am going to, I am moving on to Phase 1. In Phase 0, I went through a process of elimination to find the topic that I would want to investigate during the Microcampus trip. In Phase 1, I will be organizing my background knowledge and creating questions to guide my research in the village. 


I was thirteen years old and had been living in Shanghai for five years when I went to Xizhou for Microcampus. During my time in Xizhou, I liked to make and listen to music, play soccer, write, and talk to my friends. I loved Xizhou's blue skies, delicious food, warmhearted people, and unique culture. I cannot wait to return to my home in Xizhou!