Since 2012, groups of Grade 8 Shanghai American School students have taken four-week journeys to the village of Xizhou in Southwest China's Yunnan Province as participants in the school's Microcampus program.
As representatives of their campuses, these students leave the "bubble" of their home city of 22 million people and become immersed in a new community of 2000 people, 2000 kilometers from home, at 2000 meters above sea level.
- 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 students visit and the people who live there through shared experience, responsible actions, and environmental awareness.
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"Our lives in Shanghai are routine; we’re stuck in the international community. When friends ask us, ‘what’s China like?’, most of us won’t know what to say because we haven’t experienced ‘real China’. Microcampus was our opportunity to do so. In Xizhou, we got to interact with the local culture and learn more about what China really is.."
Ethan Ying-Rui Teo