Phase 0: Getting Started: Topic Exploration and Selection

Updated 10 months 1 week ago

On November 18th, 2017, I will be leaving Shanghai with my Microcapmus team and staying in XiZhou for 28 days. During that time, we will be working on a project called the Inquiry Project to build our knowledge of the local culture. Before we were even selected to participate in this program, we were given a digital document on our laptop that lists all the possible choices for our Inquiry projects. As I scrolled through the list of topics, a series of questions popped up in my mind. How exactly are we going to study these topics in XiZhou? Are we going to receive more topics as we progress into the program? Will there only be one student per topic or will there be multiple students assigned to one?

Despite these inquiries, I decided to save them for later and start to pick my ideal topic. However, due to the many intriguing topics that were offered, I could only narrow my choices down to three. Below are the steps I took to select my possible subjects.

First I browsed through the entire document and only skimmed through the titles of each subject, whilst noting down the ones that I found fascinating. Then, with only the ones I believe I would enjoy, I read carefully through the subject descriptors. After learning more about each subject, I managed to eliminate some more choices, leaving me with only three.

My choices are listed below in the order of most interested to least interested:

1) Local Food Products/Cuisine 

2) Tools/Technology 

3) Case study (Local Business or Industry) 

After a few days of due consideration, I chose my final topic, Local Food Products/Cuisine because I believe that it will be the perfect fit for me. Every time I travel to different countries or provinces in China, the first thing that I want to do is try out the local cuisine since I am a huge food enthusiast. During this project, I would be able to study the locally produced food as well as the history of these dishes. To get my desired information, I would need to ask a few straightforward questions such as "Where did you learn how to cook this dish, is it something passed down through many generations or just something you learned of a cookbook?" I am confident that through asking these questions, I will be able to learn even more about the local food and products.

The reason that I chose the topic Local Food Products/Cuisine over Tools/Technology and Case Study (Local Business or Industry) is because of my interest in these topics. I believe that Food Products/Cuisine will be much easier for me to research since I am much more fascinated by this topic. Furthermore, Food Products/Cuisine is proven to be an amazing topic by the number of people who chose it over others.

I read the reflections of four individuals, Annie Y. (S), Jerry X. (R), Mallory B. (P), SeYoung K. (O), who all chose food for their inquiry project. After reading their well-written reflections, I found the suggestions that they gave me very useful. One of the most important suggestions that came up, again and again, was procrastination. Two of the four reflections that I read advised me to always make sure I do some work every single day because I will be utterly stressed out if I try to do heaps of overdue work in one day. Another takeaway from these reflections was that I should always be flexible and not be flustered easily by difficult situations because things will get better once I persevere through them. The last suggestion that I found beneficial was to always stay organized with my work as well as the information I gather because I will be overwhelmed by the amount of information that I need to gather. I trust that these suggestions will help me get through my stay in XiZhou.

In Phase 0, I have decided my final topic after narrowing it down from the long list of options we were given. My final topic is food. In Phase 1, I will continue with this topic. 

Hi everyone, my name is Chris L., 13 years old, and I was part of the 21st Microcampus group: Ultimate. I am back in Shanghai now, and I am getting used to my old schedule. Microcampus has truly been a phenomenal trip. I will always remember all the experiences that I had at Microcampus, the good times and the bad. Through overcoming these tough times, I have learned many life lessons that will definitely help me in the future. Furthermore, I would like to take the time here to thank the Microcampus coordinators, Mr. Tafel and MS. Mai, for making this trip possible. I could not have survived in Xizhou without their help. Over the course of that month, I have grown so much in so many different ways, and I have adopted good habits that will stay with me forever.