A group of NYU Shanghai students ventured beyond the city center last weekend to one of Shanghai’s less urban districts to gain a greater understanding of organic farming and local ecological systems. The immersive learning trip, co-organized by the Community Engaged Learning Office and NYU Shanghai Reads Program, was led by science writer Shen Meihua and ecologist Kang Hongli. Photo by Anita Aravena ’25 During the overnight trip to Cenbu Village in the Qingpu district, about 66 kilometers west of NYU Shanghai, students explored local waterways by kayak. Trip leader Shen (in camouflage coat) stopped the group many times to introduce different species such as water hyacinth (above) and point out the effects of pollution on the natural environment. Photo by Anita Aravena ’25 The group concluded their weekend with a visit to the organic Miu-er farm which grows tomato, green pepper, hyacinth bean, and cucumber. Ecologist and farm owner Kang Hongli (in white cap, above) introduced students to her farming methods and the ecosystem of the organic farmt. For Shen Jiacheng ’25, a native of Chongqing, the visit to Miu-er was his first close encounter with organic agriculture and impressed upon him the effect agriculture had on the broader ecosystem. Organizers made sure that the group’s meals incorporated some of the dishes described in Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper, the book assigned by the NYU Shanghai Reads Program to all incoming first year students. Above, students took pictures of a signature Sichuan dish, fish-fragrant eggplants. “The hostel landlady used Dunlop’s recipe. It was too delicious and disappeared immediately when it was served,” said Kansas City, Missouri native and Chinese food enthusiast Anita Aravena ’25. Students pose with the hostel landlady who cooked fish-fragrant eggplant. “There is so much that can be learned from outside the classrooms, which when we do come back provides so much for us to reflect on and integrate into academic studies,” said Community Engaged Learning Coordinator Qian Chunhao.