San Francisco's Chinatown
In March 2011, three classes from Pacific—Introduction to Ethnic Studies, Multiethnic American Literature, and History of American Immigration—took a field trip to Chinatown in San Francisco. The trip included a docent-led tour of the Museum of the Chinese Historical Society of America, and a guided walking tour of historical sites in Chinatown.
For many students, it was their first visit to Chinatown, and they found the experience rewarding, informative, and unforgettable.
One student commented, "I was able to put the knowledge I've gained from class into a real context. Chinatown is a great example of how minorities overcome obstacles of racism; it is a thriving city full of rich cultural heritage."
Another student observed that the trip helped him gain a stronger sense of being an Asian American.
The field trip was a success in providing inspiration. One of the students stated, "The trip to San Francisco only furthered my interest in ethnic studies and in wanting to learn more about other races and cultures as well as my own."
Angel Island Immigration Station
In April 2009, students from Ethnic Studies courses visited the Angel Island Immigration Station, a National Historic Site in San Francisco Bay.
Modeled after New York's Ellis Island, the Immigration Station was the point of entry for Asian immigrants, primarily Chinese, from 1910 to 1940. Unlike Ellis Island, however, Angel Island was used as the immigration detention headquarters for Chinese immigrants.
Students were moved by the remnants of history they observed as they walked through the detention barracks. "The beautiful poetry on the drab, gray-washed walls tells the sadness, heartbreak, fear and hope felt by the detainees," said Allison Colberg.
Many students noted the irony in the contrast between the island's beautiful scenery and the terrible living conditions of those detained there. "They were so close to freedom, yet they were imprisoned," said Bobby Guarisco.