Phase 0: Getting Started: Topic Exploration and Selection

Updated 1 month 3 weeks ago

Welcome to the start of my learning journey, where I am fortunate enough to spend 28 days in a village investigating a chosen topic of high personal interest. We were given a long list with a strong variety of possible research topic choices. At first, I assumed that this would be a challenging choice for me to make, knowing all the endless opportunities corresponding with each project. However, when I began strolling through all of the descriptions, my eye was immediately drawn, as always, to the words "stories" and "people". I automatically chose three topics that I thought would allow me to connect with the "stories" and "people" the best in 28 days. I found myself interested in "Local Recreation/Hobbies", "Body Language/People Watching", and "Case Study". With the help of Mr.T's sugggestions, I eventually narrowed down my topics into one, final idea. 

I have decided to do research mainly focusing on my very first topic choice: the "happiness" concept in Xizhou; but because of my equal passion towards "People Watching", I also want to try and incorporate aspects of observation to help me understand this topic even more. I have always been curious about the definition of "happiness", and almost immediately, I began to wonder about the villagers very own interpretation of this word. In terms of people watching, I have also always been intrigued by the way a person presents themselves, and the stories they can tell through it. I really think the blend of these two topics could be the perfect opportunity for me to explore a complex yet genuine idea through the understanding of a small, simple town.

Discarded Project: I ended up letting go of Case Study, because although this topic is still rather appealing to me, I really want to take this wonderful opportunity in Xizhou to understand the people more than their business and stores. I think case study could offer me a great chance to learn about the economical structure of a shop, but it would not give me that huge of a chance to learn about the villagers on a deeper level. 

While looking through many completed inquiry projects from past Microcampus students, I happened to fall upon Hannah H's site, and I was both surprised and excited with the fact that during her time in Microcampus, she researched about a topic that was extremely similiar to the one I have chosen to explore. Also, due to the fact that I want to incooperate "people watching", I also checked out Marie W's, and from the advice of Mr.T, Mia T's website. Through the reading of their journal and their inquiry project phases, I began to learn a lot about the journey itself. I also became more and more estatic about the trip, as I want to experience their words personally myself. In terms of the project, the main advice and takeaway I learned from them was to just be flexible, and to learn, in a sense, how to "go with the flow". They consistently mentioned just how much change happened with their topic when they actually arrived in Xizhou. Marie and Hannah also both talked about the significance of interaction and communication, and that the better they built their relationships with others, the better the growth and experience. Mia mentioned the importance of starting out strong, and to get enough research done here in Shanghai, so that more time can be put into the village itself. I will be sure to keep all of their advices in my mind during the entire process of Microcampus. 

In Phase 0, I explored the variety of projects to research in Microcampus and I have eventually narrowed down to one topic. For the next step into this learning process, I will be moving on to Phase 1, in which I will be posing ten major questions that I have about my inquiry project. :)

Hey! I'm Becky, and I have called SAS my "home" for around 10 years now. If there was something you had to know about me, it would be the fact that I am extremely passionate about traveling. I suppose that is one of the many reasons as to why I was so drawn to the idea of Microcampus. Now that I am actually here, I can not help but say this place has not disappointed. It is truly a beautiful experience to be able to hear the stories of the community and to truly connect with so many people.