Phase 0: Getting Started: Topic Exploration and Selection

Updated 5 months 1 week ago

This is the beginning of my Microcampus learning journey. I will be spending 28 days in Xizhou, investigating a topic of high personal that I chose from a list of many options. I narrowed down the list with different methods and based my choices on the feedback that I received. 

The process that I went through to narrow down the long list of topics was pretty simple. I had a talk with my parents about the different project options and went over a few that we thought would be interesting for me to dig deeper into. I kept my own interests in mind because I want to make sure that I have a passion for what I am researching. I also wanted to keep in mind that I will be supposed to be doing a lot of Chinese communication with the locals about my project, so I made sure that my project choices would be at a depth where I can have very clear conversations with the locals about the topic. I wanted to maximize the learning that I do in micro campus, so I tried to narrow down the possibilities according to my prior knowledge on the subject. In the end, I narrowed the topics down to three choices. (Ranked in order.) 

Farming: This is the topic that I chose to investigate. I have decided to make Farming my inquiry project for a few different reasons. First of all, my dad grew up in a family that relied a lot on farming for food to eat, so he has the most experience in the field. I want to get the same kind of experience that he did so I can come back with some knowledge on the topic. The most interesting aspect about the farming project was probably the fact that I would be changing my perspective on the idea of food. It will give me an understanding of how food actually gets onto the plates of people eating dinner. I also want to sort of merge farming and local food products because I want to investigate how food from the farms gets its way into the cuisine of the people in Xizhou, but I will put more of my focus in farming. I want to gain knowledge on how crops are farmed in the fields and the economic aspects of the crops they produce. I will have to do some research prior to leaving to Xizhou because of some circumstances that have changed beforehand.

Local Food Products/Cuisine: This is one topic that I considered choosing, but decided not to in the end because I lost interest in the topic by the time I had to make a final choice. 

Bai Minority Culture: I also briefly considered choosing this topic, but in the end, I thought this topic would be too broad of a topic to dig deeper into, so I decided not to investigate it.

Suggestions: Looking into some previous projects from groups that went on Microcampus already, I found some really helpful suggestions that I should keep in mind for when I go on my trip. Shannon A. from Alumni-N has mentioned that when starting the trip, students need to ensure themselves that they must be ok with trying new things. Being a part of Microcampus is all about pushed out of the comfort zone, so I think it is important to remember that going on this trip will test my limits, and I need to be ready to break boundaries. Andre R. from Alumni-D has stated that it would be a good idea to narrow down my topic before going on the trip, so I have a very clear idea in my mind of what I need to accomplish in Xizhou. One final piece of advice that I got from Chu Chuan W. from Alumni-K was to make sure that I sign up for teacher support, for any help or guidance that I need for my project. 

In Phase 0, I have mostly focused on narrowing down topics and deciding which one to investigate in Xizhou. In Phase 1, I will be researching and gaining more knowledge on my chosen topic. 

My name is Alan Z, and I am a 13-year-old eighth grader in SAS Puxi. I was born in the US, and right now I live in Shanghai. I am so happy that I got to be a part of the Microcampus program. I was in Xizhou for 4 weeks, and I am really grateful for everyone who helped me throughout my journey.