This past spring break, Alex Guo ‘17, Amanda Cui ‘18, and Claire Zhang ‘18 embarked on a journey through China from the Gobi desert to the mountains of Guilin to explore their roots and gather over 15 hours of footage for a video on cultural life in particular regions of China.
Nine days later, they returned to America with a deeper understanding of Chinese culture and the drive to turn their trip into something more lasting.
“The point of the trip was to find out more about China and discover our heritage,” said Cui. “In doing this, we became inspired to create a non-profit organization called Share Our Globe. It will be an online platform for people to share personal and cultural stories in different mediums, whether it be videos, recordings, or written pieces. Ultimately, our mission is to inspire profound self-exploration, inclusive sharing, and a comprehensive embracement of our culture and that of others in our world.”
Before they left for China, the three put a great deal of thought into developing their itinerary. Their families helped them work through logistics, but they travelled unescorted, only accompanied by local tour guides in each different city. “When choosing where to go,” Zhang said, “we looked at…the food, the people, the history…ultimately we wanted the places to be as diverse as possible; we ended up visiting some wonderful places, and the people were eager to be interviewed.”
On their trip, they visited three different cities across China and interviewed over 20 people.
“We first went to Guilin, which is in the south,” Guo said. “It’s filled with mountains and rivers. Then we went to Chengdu, which is somewhat of a modern metropolis, [and] it’s further north than Guilin. A fond memory from Chengdu was [eating] lots of spicy food.” He also described the northwestern city of Dunhuang, which was the last place the three visited, where they were “surrounded by sand dunes.”
Cui added, “in ancient China, [Dunhuang] was the westernmost outpost, so it’s the intersection between China and the west.”
On their trip, the three used a variety of equipment including drones, microphones, and at least three different types of cameras. Through a co-curricular film exemption this term, they are working on a film of approximately 30 minutes that will document the diverse cultures of China they explored. This film will be the first of many they hope to see on their up and coming website, Share Our Globe.