Frequently Asked Questions

The SAS Microcampus program involves small groups of Grade 8 students leaving Shanghai for a month during the school year. During this time, students become immersed in a small village in Yunnan Province, learning with and from the people who live there.

Students and parents from previous Microcampus trips report a number of positive outcomes: more responsibility, more confidence, and a desire to take more control of the learning process. By being far away from the comfort zone normal routines, Microcampus students have a "real world" test of the skills and habits they have developed over the years, as well as a better understanding of the world outside the "Bubble."

There is room for up to 16 students on each trip. The actual number of students is based on the level of interest from qualified students on each trip, but trip groups will not exceed 16 students.

The trip lasts 28 days.

For the 2016-17 school year, there will be four Microcampus groups with up to 16 students in each group. The dates will be as follows:

Puxi Campus

  • September 10-October 7 (16 student maximum; includes National Day holiday)
  • March 4-March 31 (16 student maximum; includes spring break)

Pudong Campus

  • November 19-December 16 (16 student maximum; includes Thanksgiving)
  • April 29-May 26 (16 student maximum; includes China Alive week)

Our home for the Microcampus experience will be one of the beautifully restored compounds that are a part of the Linden Centre project. Students on one of the fall trips stay at the former Xizhou village hall, called Yaugzhuoran, which has been restored and renovated for the purpose of hosting long-term student groups like ours. The Yangzhuoran compound is a beautiful single-courtyard wooden structure with classroom space, sleeping areas, and recreation facilities. Groups going to Xizhou in the spring will stay at either the main Linden Centre compound or another compound called Baocheng Fu, the third building in the village developed as a part of the Linden Centre project. See www.linden-centre.com for more information about the work the Lindens have done in the village.

Mr. Tafel and his wife, Ms. Mai, will be the main teachers for his trip. Our partner in the trip, the world-class Linden Centre, has an remarkable staff of adults who have come from around the world to live in Xizhou. Their job is to live and share the experience with guests of the Linden Centre, and they are always eager to support the learning process of our students. One staff member (Ms. Cecily Zhang) is assigned to work full-time to support the Microcampus program. Linden Centre owners Brian and Jeanee Linden will be on site as well. In other words, there will be plenty of adult support available to Microcampus students.

Certainly, there will be some choices to be made, as it will not be possible to be at the Microcampus and be elsewhere at the same time. See the dates of your school's Microcampus trip to check if there are conflicts/overlap.

During the application process, families will declare which trip or trips students are available/interested in joining. The more trips listed, the greater the opportunity there is for a place to be available for students.

It is extremely important for students to take a close look at the activities calendar for the year and make sure that there are no conflicts with their requested trip(s). Students must be available for the full 28 days of each trip; no late arrivals or early departures. Once the application process is completed and placement in a trip is made, families are responsible for full payment, even if they later need to cancel for any reason.

The quick answer: No.

There are a number of significant, fundamental differences between the Microcampus program and our school's China Alive program. Students returning from Microcampus who have been on China Alive trips report that the experiences are completely different. The length of the Microcampus experience (28 days) allows for a much deeper, closer connection to the places we visit. Students on Microcampus become a part of the community that they visit--the daily routines, special events, and so on--rather than passing through as a part of their itineraries. China Alive trips are managed and guided by tour companies; the Microcampus program was designed entirely by educators, with daily activities and learning experiences chosen and directed by students under the guidance of their teachers. One former Microcampus student said it best: "On China Alive, someone else tells us where to go and when to go there. On Microcampus, we make those decisions: we have to learn to think and act for ourselves, and we live with the decisions we make."

An important part of the experience of the Microcampus is to step away from the comforts of home for a few weeks. You will be able to connect with your family on a daily basis via Skype or mobile phone, but there will not be an opportunity to have families visit. Don't worry, though; your families will be there to give big hugs when you return to Shanghai!

During the 2016-17 school year, the estimated total cost for the 28-day trip is 16500 RMB. This includes airfare, food, lodging, supplies, and learning activities.

Every aspect of the Microcampus program has been designed to maximize opportunities for the following experiences for all participants:

  • experiential learning in which students engage in meaningful activities that require them to depend on themselves, their peers, chaperones, and outside experts in order to solve problems they encounter;
  • personal growth that results from adventure and challenges, broadening boundaries and comfort zones through reasonable risk-taking, problem solving, and thoughtful choices;
  • expanding intercultural understanding as students interact with members of local communities and their surroundings; and
  • having a positive impact on the places we visit and the people who live there through shared experience, responsible actions, and environmental awareness.

The "Big Four" points above were the basis for making all decisions about the design of the daily schedule, and they are very much a part of continuing conversations with students before, during, and after the trip.

A typical morning schedule includes time for students to work on SAS Essentials, which are the required assignments from teachers back in Shanghai, along with some Pitching In time, during which students take care of responsibilities that help the group process move smoothly (tidying up their rooms, planning for activities, writing journals, etc.).

The afternoon schedule includes a large block of time for students to dive into their major Microcampus work: two hours of inquiry project work, an hour of wellness, another hour of Pitching In, and a half hour of "Still Time," where students relax, unplug, sit still, and notice the world around them.

Evening activities are designed by students, and they range from stargazing to movie nights to just relaxing at the end of a big day of learning.

There are two different Linden Centre compounds that Microcampus students might call home during their time in Xizhou.

During the fall trips, students and chaperones stay at the Yangzhuoran compound, which is a five-minute walk from Sifang Jie, the village square. It is also a five-minute walk from the edge of the village, beyond which is farmland and a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains.

Students joining the spring trips stay at either the Linden Centre itself or at another project under development called Baocheng Fu. All properties are designed to provide excellent learning and living spaces, with easy access to our local connections in the village and to the beautiful natural surroundings

Xizhou, which is located approximately 20 kilometers from Dali Old Town in Yunnan Province, is an absolutely remarkable place in so many ways: year-round beautiful weather, gorgeous mountain scenery, interesting old architecture, and a slow, relaxed pace of life centered around Sifang Jie, the village square.

What makes Xizhou most memorable, though, is the wonderful people who live there. Most of the population in Xizhou are Bai Minority, with a long, proud tradition of self-sufficient farming as well as a vibrant trading history. Previous Microcampus students report that they felt very comfortable as soon as they arrived--having stepped into an authentic, thriving village full of interesting, friendly people.

As a village of mostly Bai Minority people, Xizhou has a special history. Given its unique location along an ancient trade route, Xizhou has been influenced for thousands of years by the passing through of many different groups. Daily life in and around Xizhou includes events that are a part of village life throughout the world: markets, festivals, celebrations, and even the occasional funeral passing through. Xizhou is located a short bike ride from Lake Erhai, which provides fish for the area and water for the crops.

The main starting point for our exploration of the village will be our home compound in Xizhou; however, the vision of the trip is to have students outside of the compound as much as possible. See the other Daily Life: Learning subsections below for the kinds of things we will be doing in and around Xizhou.

The food in Xizhou is excellent, with local specialties featuring some amazing flavors. One favorite of Microcampus students is the "Tafel Fried Rice," which is an ancient recipe dating back several hundreds of days! Also, Xizhou baba, a local pizza made on a large wood-fired cooking pan in the middle of the town square, is a nice treat from time to time. In general, the locals prefer their food quite spicy and a bit more oily than some students are used to, but since all items are cooked fresh it is easy to ask for less spice and oil.

We have three set times for meals every day. We will eat our breakfast each morning together "in house" in the dining area of our home. One of the other two meals will also be eaten "in house," while the other will be eaten at one of the excellent restaurants in the village. Students will be given a daily meal allowance to purchase their "outside" meals, and they will be responsible for ordering those meals themselves.

An important part of the trip is enjoying the local food in Xizhou. Students from the previous trips have reported that the food there is very good, and there are plenty of options for students to enjoy. Local snacks are very good as well, and students who rely on packaged food (instant noodles, candy) will miss the chance to try new things. It is nice to have a small "taste of home," however, and students will be able to bring a very limited amount of "comfort food" for those moments when they would like a special treat. There is also a supermarket a few minutes away, where students might be able to find some familiar snacks.

Unlike other student trips, the roommate request/selection process plays a very small role. Student rooms are only for sleeping and taking care of other personal responsibilities. All other activities (studying, connecting with home, using computers) take place outside of student rooms.

Depending on which of the Linden Centre compounds we call home, students will be placed in rooms with anywhere between one and four other students. This process takes place upon arrival, with decisions being made based on which combinations of students will support the overall goals of the trip.

Students are strongly encouraged not to choose to be roommates with their closest friends, as this has consistently resulted in students being less able to make new connections during their time at Microcampus.

Room placement will be based on many factors: the number of boys/girls on the trip, the amount of space in the rooms at our home, etc. Students will spend very little time in their rooms (other than sleeping), so the roommate process tends not to be a major focus in the planning process.

It will vary from day to day, but the vision of the trip is to have you spending several hours each day interacting with the people and environment of the village. See the "Daily Life: Learning" area below for much more information about the kinds of things that Microcampus students do.

Yes. Our classroom and living space will have wireless Internet, which will be used to connect to our web-based project space on the Microcampus website (www.sasmicrocampus.org).

The role of technology on this trip will depend on the particular student and the learning that he/she is doing. Use of laptops, cameras, mobile phones, and other electronic devices will be governed by whether or not these are being used as tools to support the overall vision of the trip (experiential learning, personal growth, expanding intercultural understanding, and having a positive impact). In general, we will use whatever technology we can to support the overall vision of the trip. If a piece of technology is used in a way that interferes with the overall vision of the trip, then it is only reasonable to reflect on that and consider a different approach to how the tools are being used.

Most Microcampus students use Skype to contact friends and family. The signal is very good, and we have not had any problems in the past.

This is a really interesting question, and it brings up a key point about the difference between "free" time and "not free" time that often defines things inside the "Bubble" in our lives in Shanghai. During the day at the Microcampus, you will be given some clear guidelines and instructions, and then you will be responsible for directing the learning process and designing your schedule for the day. This will include project work, exercise, connecting with family, taking care of personal needs (showering, laundry), and so on. The design of the experience is to break down that clear difference between "in class" (following somebody else's instructions) and "free time" (choosing your own path).

K.T., a former Microcampus student said it best: "At the Microcampus, you're always learning, from the time you wake up until the time you go to sleep."

After dinner, students tend to have a the evening free for a few of hours to rest, watching movies, watching the stars come out, writing a short journal entry, connecting with home, and generally relaxing after a busy day.

Curfew times will be discussed and determined by the group during the pre-trip sessions, with the decision based on the needs of each student's wellness plan (and, ultimately, the overall vision of the trip). Put simply, students need to have enough sleep to maintain their health and to be rested enough to support the overall goals of the trip.

Wellness is the key to a great trip for the kids. All students are required to have at least 9 hours of sleep at night, with quiet time starting at 9:00 PM.

Students may not be in their rooms if they are not sleeping (or showering and silently preparing for bed). This is a non-negotiable (and usually the first time students see “grumpy Mr. T.” make an appearance to remind them of the clear expectations). Students who have enough sleep end up staying healthy at Microcampus. Those who do not, do not. Needless to say, Ms. Mai and Mr. T. (and the nurse during our Lock-in) stress the importance of a good night’s sleep, every night—and openly advocate for students to have a quiet place to sleep each night.

The good news is that there really is no such thing as a "typical" day at Microcampus. The design of the program is to put a great deal of responsibility for making decisions about the day in the hands of the students. Some days will include some full group outings to nearby villages. Mealtimes are generally set in advance in order to help the kitchen staff prepare our meals. Every day there is a student-led 30-minute daily meeting at 10:00 AM, during which students and chaperones review the calendar, prepare for upcoming events, share news updates, and touch base about project work. Later in the day, as needed, some classes (math, in particular) will meet for direct instruction.

Beyond that, the schedule is wide open for students to put their plans into action. At any given time, you might find three Microcampus students heading off to a nearby village to do first-hand research related to their Inquiry Projects. Another two groups of students might be interviewing local villagers as a part of their Service Learning work. Two or three students might be off riding their bicycles as a part of their wellness plan, while another is adding information she found from a local interview to her online workspace for her Inquiry Project. A boy might be hanging up his laundry to dry in the Xizhou sun as another student practices his violin. Two other students might be having a Skype conversation with their math teacher, and another might be doing a weekly check-in with the SAS school nurse back in Shanghai.

The weekday schedule for the B-4 group (March/April, 2013) looked list this:

7:00 Wake up
7:30 Breakfast (@Yangzhouran)
8:00 PItching In (laundry, cleaning up, dishes)
10:00 Daily Meeting
10:30 SAS Essentials (primarily math class; with time for other essential curricular expectations)
12:00 Lunch
1:00-5:00 PM WIPPI Time (Wellness for 1 hour, Inquiry Project for 2 hours, Pitching In for 2 hours--students choose when to do what)
5:00 Check-in
6:00 Dinner
7:00 Evening Programming (designed by students)
 

Clearly, this is a dynamic process, and one that requires individual participants to be self-directed, eager to learn, and up to the task of being trusted to do the right thing. The following subsections of Daily Life: Learning spells out some more details of the experiences of Microcampus students.

Prior to departure, each Microcampus student selects a topic to explore during his/her time in Xizhou. The focus of each student's inquiry work will be based on the particular interest of the student, and the area in and around Xizhou offers hundreds of different possibilities. The project website has an overview of the Inquiry Project, a list of some of the possible topics, as well as some sample products of the work students have done.

Prior to our departure, students will complete the early stages of the project (topic selection, asking questions, and finding resources). During these phases, students will explore possible topics and do some research about the topics from Shanghai. From there, students will develop a list of questions that require them to be in the village in order to answer.

Each student will have a project workspace on the website, which walks students through the entire process. It was designed specifically for the Microcampus program, so it leaves plenty of room for students to put their passion for learning into action while still having some guidance at each step. A good starting point will be to look over the topics and descriptors on the project website. If the topic naturally leads to many questions, then it might be a good fit.

The simple answer is . . . no. Inquiry Projects are focused on the topic of interest to the student. The inquiry process, by definition, involves a blend of many of the traditional school subjects, so it is likely that your project will require you to use skills and gain understanding from many areas.

Our project partners at the Linden Centre will be very interested to know what your project topics are. Because they are so connected with the village, they will help find some people who are experts in the area of your interest. Once you arrive in Xizhou, you will seek some of this local wisdom in order to better understand your topic, answer some of your questions, and create new questions as a result.

In the past, Microcampus students have spent several days with local experts learning about all sorts of topics: local tea rituals, embroidery, textile production, religion, fishing techniques, and local foods--just to name a few. It is this first-hand information and interactions that simply cannot be done unless you are having those meaningful conversations with the experts in the village.

It depends on the project and where your questions lead you. Students have walked, taken the horse carriage, and taken vans or buses to tap ino the local wisdom. We have a group of mini-bus drivers available for hire at any time, with funds set aside for students to go where they need to go to do their research.

The model used during the Microcampus program is called “Service Learning,” which is a bit different from the usual model of providing service to communities we visit. Usually at SAS, our community service efforts involve raising money or gathering clothes and giving them to those less fortunate than we are. While these acts of kindness are important, the lesson learned is fairly simple: we are fortunate and should be generous to those less fortunate.

By contrast, the Service Learning model is designed to focus on the learning component of the process. We are, after all, a school. It is important to keep learning as a focus while still honoring the overall goal of the Microcampus program of having a positive impact on the places we go and the people who live there.

The village of Xizhou has a long, proud history, and the idea of a group of students sweeping into town hoping to provide a “service” to them in the traditional way—or to approach them as being less fortunate than we are—would be viewed rather strangely by people there, and it would certainly be in conflict with our goal of having a positive impact on the places we go and the people who live there.

With this in mind, the focus of our ongoing Service Learning project is working in partnership with the active elders of the community and capturing the wisdom and oral history of the village. Students work in groups to produce a short video about the lives of their partners, which we share in a public celebration during our last week in the village.

These stories are important, and our work in capturing/preserving these stories is our small way of showing our appreciation to the village for being such wonderful hosts during our time there.

Our service work will focus on learning—and this will require a great deal of care and reflection on order to make sure that the lessons we learn go beyond the usual community service experience.

Aside from project work, the Linden Centre staff will arrange for a number of half-day activities. These might include visits to large outdoor weekly markets, an extended bike ride, a trip to a tie-dye factory in a neighboring village, a tour of nearby Lake Erhai, or a regional festival. Some of these might be closely connected with student project work, so it is possible that students will help to organize these trips.

Students have also organized their own excursions, including weekend visits to Dali Old Town, church/mosque/temple services, and other events of personal interest. As these opportunities arise, students are encouraged to initiate the process.

Everyone involved in this process (teachers, students, parents) understands the need to “make room” when it comes to regular class requirements that you can make the most of the amazing learning opportunities in the village. It would be a waste of time to take you out of the “four walls” of the regular classroom, move 2000 kilometers away, and then have you spend your days doing the same work that you would be doing back in Shanghai.

This means that teachers will be making very careful decisions about the expectations they have for students while they are away from Shanghai. While teachers want to “make room” for Microcampus students to make the most of their experience, they want to do so in a way that will not result in major gaps in student learning as they move forward in their education.

There is a need to find a balance: on one side, the wish to have students completely immersed in village life, while on the other side is the reality that students will need to be ready to return to the “four walls” without being at a disadvantage.

For example, if a student misses an entire unit in math class, he/she will probably end up feeling lost later on when the math teacher expects them to build on what they missed. Math class, then, will continue to be approached in a fairly traditional way (practice questions, quizzes, tests) in order to maintain the progression of learning that is a part of math class. 

Teachers in other subject areas might view the Microcampus project work as being another way of reaching the same academic goals as the students in the regular classroom. These teachers will “make room” for your work by reducing or eliminating requirements for their class.

Again, the goal is to find a balance. Mr. Tafel and the Grade 8 teachers will work together to have a clear plan to serve as a guide for your expectations. This guide will be available before the trip and posted to the student workspace on the project website.

The goal is to make it possible to complete all required schoolwork while on site at the Microcampus. Some teachers might require a meeting or two at lunch or before or after school in order to fill in essential understandings from the time you were away. Again, Mr. Tafel will seek to find a balance with each teacher so that you can focus on your learning in the village without causing a major gap later on.

This will depend on the teacher and the subject. Math students should find that they are continuing along with their classmates, so the grading might seem quite similar to the pattern from the rest of the year. Teachers of other subjects might use portions of your work, or simply base their trimester grades on a combination of your Microcampus project work and the work done in class during the rest of the trimester. All of this will be detailed in the planning guide and shared well ahead of time.

One of the most important parts of the design of this trip is to have students interacting with real people from the village on a regular basis. Through your Inquiry and Service Learning projects, in addition to the daily meals eaten in local restaurants, you rely on your ability to interact with and learn from village residents every day.

For hundreds of years, Xizhou has been the scene of remarkable ethnic and language diversity due to its position along the Tea Horse Trail (a major trade route, much like the more famous Silk Road). This has made communication with "outsiders" a way of life. There is a local Bai language/dialect, but the common language that is used among the different ethnic groups is a slightly accented but very clear Mandarin! Put simply, if you speak Mandarin, you will make the adjustment very quickly.

This is an excellent question, and a challenging one to answer. It is certainly not necessary for all Microcampus students to speak, read, and write in perfect Chinese, but a certain level of confidence/proficiency makes a huge difference in the experience for everyone.

Soon after the first group of Microcampus students arrived in Xizhou, it became very clear that those with less ability (or willingness) to speak Chinese were at a major disadvantage. They had to depend entirely on their peers to provide support. In the short term this was great for the students with strong language skills to practice, but they grew weary of providing “translation service” several hours a day for four weeks.

As the application process moves forward, it will be important to develop a team of students who will bring a wide variety of skills to the process. The ability to speak and interact in Chinese (at some level, anyway) is certainly among those skills, that will be considered as a part of your application, particularly in an environment where so much of the learning will take place in Chinese.

It is a wonderful thing that there is such a high level of interest in the Microcampus experience as we look ahead at the program's fourth year. Microcampus has now expanded to include room for 64 students, which means that some difficult choices will need to be made during the application/placement process.

The application process is designed to be simple, positive, fair, open, and inclusive, with the ultimate goal of a “tears free” experience for everyone involved. The selection process will involve several small parts: questions for students, questions for parents, and thoughtful input from SAS teachers, counselors, and the nurse. Students report cards will also be a valuable source of information, particularly the areas related to academic behaviors (cooperation/collaboration, etc.).

One factor in the placement process is how well students follow the application process itself. Do students attend all the meetings? Bring/turn in all the forms on time, without any excuses or "drama" involved? Students can show that they are a good fit for the Microcampus program by paying close attention to what they need to do during the application process.

Students will be asked to provide short responses to a small number of questions. They will be asked to share their reasons for wanting to go on the trip, their travel experience away from their families, their history of being a good team member, their willingness/ability to use Chinese language outside the classroom, and so on. There are no “right” or “wrong” answers here, other than the need for students to be as honest as they can with their thoughts.

Parents will be asked to respond to a small number of questions as well. These will relate to their goals for their child’s involvement in the program, as well as concerns that they might have. Per SAS requirements, Parents will also need to confirm that the child has a health insurance policy that includes coverage in Mainland China.

Teachers will be asked to comment on their observations of the essential traits of students well suited for the Microcampus experience: namely, students who:

  • are passionate about learning new things

  • like taking on challenges and handle them well

  • are good team players

  • have shown a commitment to act with integrity and compassion

  • are responsible and can manage their work independently

  • have the ability and willingness to connect with adults

The SAS Counselors, Nurses, Office Staff, Coaches, and others who see the student every day will be asked to provide their input as well.

All of this information will be used to develop a profile of each student. From there, trip rosters will be assembled that provide the best possible balance of student strengths, gender, Chinese language skills.

Trip rosters will be posted via email as soon as a decision is made. In the spirit of keeping the process open, families are welcome to inquire about the reasons that students are/are not offered a place on the trip rosters.

The goal is to share this information as early as possible so that families can make their plans for the year.

Here is the timeline for the 2015-16 school year:

For the September/October Puxi trip, rosters will be posted before June 8th, 2015.

For the November/December and April/May (Pudong) trips, rosters will be posted before September 20th, 2015.

For the March/April Trip (Puxi) trip, rosters will be posted before November 20th, 2015.

 

There will be once-a-week lunchtime meetings, plus a required overnighter/lock-in the one week before departure for students who will go to Microcampus.

Absolutely! There will be many ways to support the program from here in Shanghai. Previous Microcampus groups have had an excellent "ground crew" of other Grade 8 students, who helped set up Skype transmissions, commented on journal and blog posts, and supported their friends and classmates throughout the process.

Each student will develop a Wellness Plan before leaving Shanghai. This will include ideas about how to maintain a healthy balance in terms of physical, intellectual, emotional, and social wellness. Students will make good use of heart rate monitors to be sure they are in a good "zone" for fitness. Students will also make plans related to healthy eating, as well as making arrangements to check in with the school nurse and counselors from time to time.

There will be a place to wash your own clothes. The quality of the washing machine might not be what you are used to, and you might find that hand-washing is a bit easier. All students will need to keep themselves well stocked with clean clothes in order to maintain good health (and good relations!).

Our Microcampus site is at 2000 meters above sea level, and the climate in Xizhou is very dry. Students in the past have certainly noticed the difference in in terms of a slight shortness of breath and faster heartbeat in response to mild exercise, but the body adjusts quickly. Keeping properly hydrated is the key to reducing the symptoms related to the dry air at altitude.

You will need to bring a one-month supply of materials for cleaning and maintenance.

Each person's medical history is unique, and the school nurse takes a careful look at all applicants' health records before giving her approval for students to go on the trip. If there are any allergies or respiratory concerns, it is important to have some throughful conversations with Mr. Tafel, Ms. Mai, and the school nurse to make sure that there is a proper support in the Xizhou area to support student medical concerns. Students with anything more than minor allergies or asthma would be putting themselves at risk if they were to have a problem so far away from a hospital that is used to handling such emergencies. We will have many meals away from where we live, and it will be very difficult to completely prevent allergic reactions by those who are sensitive to such things.

Microcampus students will need to practice good hygiene. The group will make a rotation schedule related to the shower times based on the availability of hot water, shower space, and other factors.

As our school nurses and health teachers tell us, the best way to deal with sickness is prevention—staying well rested, hydrated, eating a balanced, nutritious diet, and so on. With all the joys that come with exploring new places, we also know that our stomachs sometimes take a bit of time to adjust to the food/seasonings/oils used in different parts of the world. A certain level of illness is a natural response to a new environment, and something that most Microcampus students can expect to encounter at some point along the way.

When students are at school in Shanghai and they become sick, the solution is simple: send them home. Clearly, this is not the first option if it should happen while a student is at the Microcampus. Instead, the goal is to have some rest, keep well hydrated, and try to be back to full health as quickly as possible.

At the Microcampus we have a complete nurse’s station with bandages, ice packs, hot water bottle, and over-the-counter medicine for upset stomach, headache, and other common discomfort. Our SAS nurse is available during the daylight hours, and Jeanee Linden (owner of the Linden Centre) is a nurse as well and will be available to call 24 hours a day.

Although it is unlikely to be needed, a detailed plan is in place to deal with serious illness or injury. The nearest hospital is a short 20-minute drive away.

Overall, though, it should be repeated: the best way to deal with illness and injury is through prevention. Outside of the “Bubble,” this is especially important, and will be one of many challenges that are a part of the Microcampus program.

Students will be given a packing list well in advance of the trip. The list is similar to the ones given before China Alive trips. Details about special purchases such as a sleeping bag, hiking boots and a large backpack will be included. Smart phones are not needed on the trip and may not be brought.

Students are advised to bring between 400 and 600 RMB. A safe is available to keep money locked up.

Absolutely! There will be time in the daily schedule to keep up your technique--and probably an audience that is eager to hear you perform!