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High-Impact Learning in San Francisco’s Chinatown

Apr 20, 2011

Guided walking tour of historical sites in Chinatown

On March 17, 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. 

The field trip was made possible by a Pacific Fund grant awarded to Dr. Jennifer Helgren (History) and Dr. Zhou Xiaojing (English and Ethnic Studies).

For many students, it was their first visit to Chinatown, and they found the experience rewarding, informative, and unforgettable. They were able to connect what they learned in Chinatown to the issues explored in their classes.

Brandie Spencer saw parallels between the museum exhibits and the history of racial formation in California included in Introduction to Ethnic Studies. 

Dana Shiroma 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."

Sydnee Vieira related her experience in Chinatown to Bone, a novel she read in her English class. "Actually seeing Chinatown rather than just reading and hearing about it helped put things in perspective and made things I read come to life."

One student observed that the trip helped him gain a stronger sense of being an Asian American.

A testament to the field trip's success, Terri Videll said, "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."

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