Travel Log 15: “There’s No Place Like Home? Rites of Reincorporation” by Kayla Vitas. Hampton, New Hampshire.

Before going abroad I was always told that the most difficult transition is not when you get to your host country but rather when you return home to America. This was very hard for me to believe at first, but now that I have experienced both going abroad and returning home, I am able to see how accurate their words were. When arriving in Sevilla, I was extremely homesick for the first two weeks and I did not think I would ever experience anything like that feeling again. However, being back in America, I am having the same feelings. I am homesick from Spain, the friends I made, and the culture that I became a part of. Due to this state of being, I would consider myself a liminal again. Although America has been my home for the first twenty years of my life, being back in the states I feel like I am no longer in my “safe place.”

Two weeks before leaving America, I shared my separation letter with my parents and explained to them what a healthy separation would be while I was abroad. They were very understanding and very helpful in making my separation with them an easy transition. Now, that I have returned home from Europe, I will share with them my reincorporation letter. The first thing I explained to them was the importance of reincorporation and that the individual is being “newly born” and they are returning to the community with a ‘new status.’ In class we learned that when you go through the first phase, separation, you are “dieing” to yourself and when you go through the third and final stage, reincorporation, you are being “born.” I chose a quote by James Baldwin to share with my parents, “I met a lot of people in Europe. I even encountered myself.” I felt that when returning home from abroad I encountered a new part of myself that I never knew. In order for my parents to understand this process and the experiences that contributed to making me a new person, they needed to ask questions and take the time to listen to me even if they did not completely understand.

Studying abroad enhanced my love for traveling a million times. Every weekend I was traveling to different countries or different cities within Spain. I have never been a fan of planes but due to my constant traveling, I have learned to travel like a pro (or what I think is like a pro). Being home, I plan on traveling a lot more than I did before leaving America. I am interested in getting involved in a service trip to the Dominican Republic and traveling to different states to see the friends I met while being in Spain. Another way I plan on carrying out my study abroad experience is by getting involved with the program Teach for America. This program that allows individuals to travel to different countries and teach English to under privileged students. I hope to one-day travel back to a Spanish speaking country and learn more Spanish as well as teach English. Spain was able to give me one of the most amazing experiences in my life and I want to be able to give back to even more to the community.

Being a psychology major I have learned a lot about habits and what can be done in order to break a bad habit. I can admit that before going abroad I did not try new foods. I had a habit of eating the same foods and not exploring different options. My daily meals mostly consisted of the same options and I rarely stepped out of my comfort zone to eat new foods. I made it one of my goals to try unusual and exotic foods while traveling abroad and expand my horizons. To my surprise, this was a huge success and I tried foods that I would have never imagined that I would enjoy. Returning back to America I have found that I have broke my old habit of eating the same foods regularly. With only being home a week, I have already had my parents make different Spanish food dishes and I have strayed away from the unhealthy foods I always used to eat.

Reading Richard Slimbachs last chapter about reincorporation in Becoming World Wise, made me very emotional. Everything that I read was unfortunately 100% accurate and it was hard for me to fully grasp reality. I did not believe that home would feel like a foreign place to me, but it did. I didn’t expect myself to be so emotional and exhausted, but I did. I didn’t think I would have a difficult time explaining all my amazing experiences to my friends and family, but I did. I didn’t expect to feel depressed about being away from the people I met and the places I traveled to, but I did. I especially did not expect the reincorporation phase to be as difficult as I was told it was going to be. “Having made a deep emotional investment in another culture, we cant be expected to simply “blend” back home” (Slimbach 217).  Reading this quote helped me gather all my emotions and thoughts together because I realized that I needed to take a step back and understand that everything was not going to just fall back in place like I had expected it to.

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Travel Log 14: “Global Connections; Rites of Separation” by Connor LaChapelle. Heidelberg, Germany.

After the last four and a half months here in Heidelberg, Germany, I sit here on my favorite bench overlooking my favorite view, while contemplating this quote. In order to comprehend this proverb, I now pose the question to myself, “what is the purpose of studying abroad?” The answer to this very inquiry is what indicates whether we have reached this ‘world within.’ Slimbach’s ‘world within’ is the connectivity that exists amongst the global community. It is a realization that few travelers make, but that those that do will lead lives that will be forever more enriched. This world is actually a state of mind; one that is accessed by intentional travel and active listening. The last trip I went on was to the Greek island of Crete. It was during this trip that I discovered the wonders of what intentional or what I call, deliberate, travel. The purpose of this traveling to this destination, I told myself, was to this particular beach and also to taste this specific Cretan wine. Upon accomplishing these tasks, I felt a sense of fulfillment that I hadn’t know existed prior to that excursion. Although the purpose of this travel was simple, the achievement felt oddly special. It felt this way because I was finally not wandering.

Learning is just like deliberate travel; we must have a destination. Slimbach writes, “external experience may occupy most of our waking hours, but we ultimately live from the depths of our being – our intentions, ideas, and impulses.” (Slimbach, 53) Humans are the products of their experiences, but as Slimbach suggests, they are more the sum of their intentions, ideas, and impulses. I believe that the author unknowingly hit a major point in this sentence that speaks to many of the global problems he address in Becoming World Wise. There is not enough emphasis place on the intentions of individuals or communities. Take, for example, the idea of success. A boy grows up in a lower income household, and all he knows is that he wants more. As that boys becomes a man and becomes educated, his aim is not on something that can be measured. There is no ceiling or destination. This is how America has become lost in the global community.  This is why America breeds materialism and entitlement. If that same boy were to have been taught to practice intentional travel, learning and living, then maybe his goal as a child would simply be to afford to put a meal on the table for his family at every meal. Maybe it would be to own a nice house, or even an expensive boat. The point is that if this boy has that specific attainable goal in mind, then he will be less likely to get lost on his way to success.

As the time grows near where I will be departing I am actually excited to say goodbye because I am looking forward to exploring the depths of the friendships I have made by putting space between us. We are going out to dinner to celebrate the times we’ve had and toast to new revelations and adventures. It feels like a finale of sorts, an event I will remember more the collection of events that prefaced it. As I prepare to leave this place, my emotions are pushing to take over the helm of my thoughts. I know this is healthy for me, because it is something I haven’t experienced it before. My cognition has never before been in the passenger seat, and it has somewhat made me car sick in a way. What is has given me is a new perspective on life.

Travel Log 12: “Service” by Domenique DeLucia. London, England

I decided that I wanted to do my service at a food bank. I chose to do it at one because the borough of London that I live in, Hackney, is one of the poorest ones in London. Whenever I am walking the streets, I always see the homeless or the poor sitting in the cold asking for some spare change. I don’t know the circumstances of their situation, but I always want to help a person in need if I have the power to do so.

The Islington Food Bank was a way for me to do so. I participated in what they call a supermarket drive, where we hand out shopping lists to prospective shoppers outside of a supermarket and ask if they can kindly buy an extra one or two items to help people in need. This was an absolutely incredible experience, I can’t even tell you.

I definitely think volunteering in the city that you are studying abroad in makes you feel closer to the community and people in which you share a home for however many months that you are here for. I took pride in volunteering and letting people know that I was a American, studying abroad who decided I wanted to give back to the community. Many people really liked that, I was generally surprised how much they seemed to appreciate that. When you are anywhere outside of your, you are representing yourself and your country/city and you should want to make a great impression.

I have volunteered a lot at food banks before back at home, but I have never received so many items of food than I did in the day that I was there, I never noticed how generous people in London are. While yes, many wont spare any change to the gentleman or woman on the street, probably because they don’t understand the struggle or don’t trust the circumstances of why they are in the street. But when you ask these people to help people in crisis, they answer the call. It made fall in love with London again, and not for the amazing monuments or the scenic walks wherever you go, but the people. The people made me see and understand that getting to study in this country isn’t about getting cool instagram photos or just filling up your passport with a bunch of stamps from other countries, it’s about becoming a part of the communitas that is around us. Really living here, not just being here.

Richard Slimbach talks about volunteerism and the effects that it can have on a person but more importantly the effects of the community, “the world becomes a living classroom –a place to watch and wonder, to enter into the experiences and perspectives of others, to communicate across differenced, and to use the knowledge on behalf of the common good” (5). I think that this also helps you become less ignorant to the world around you, when you are volunteering and helping others in their time of need in a place where you don’t live. Many people want to say that they are cultured because they traveled to a bunch of countries. That doesn’t make you cultured, that just means you racked up a lot of airfare miles. To truly be cultured, and to truly understand what other countries and people go through who not familiar to us, is to volunteer or to educate yourself on your surroundings. Get to know the history, and the people and the places to truly grasp the beauty and grace that the country has to offer. We as people, sometimes don’t even take the time to get cultured about the places that we live in. I am so grateful that I was given this opportunity, it made me feel like I was part of the community that I lived in.

 

Travel Log 15: “There’s No Place Like Home? Rites of Reincorporation” by Gabby Butcher. Clinton, CT.

Although these past four months have been some of the best of my life, I can honestly say I was very excited to come home. Sure, I did not want to leave my new friends and my host mom, but I knew that I was coming home with a new outlook on America. Traveling has helped me appreciate my home country more than ever. With this outlook, I did not face many challenges while reintegrating with my home community. The only things I did have to deal with were jet lag, and changing my schedule around as I have become accustomed to eating meals later, such as dinner at 10pm instead of around 6pm. Aside from these, I did not find it difficult to integrate back home.

I chose to share my Reincorporation Letter with my family. They were very supportive of the whole integration process. The quote I chose was “Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living” (Miriam Beard). Throughout this whole semester, I would send my family pictures of me in different cities. They would always say things like “wow you are so lucky to be doing this” etc. I don’t think they realized that while seeing these sights, I was also maturing, learning way more than I could in a classroom, and changing. Now that I am back, they have seen just how much this experienced has changed me. I’ve learned more about respect (in terms of respecting cultures) than ever before, lived and adjusted to a whole different country, and spent countless days and nights speaking a different language. I am so glad that I was now able to share with them stories from time abroad instead of just pictures, because they are now able to somewhat see what I’ve seen.

One phrase that was very popular in Sevilla was “no pasa nada” which basically means ‘don’t worry about it,’ or ‘it’s not a big deal.’ Most Spaniards had an extremely laid back attitude. This is definitely something that I will carry forward, as Americans are known for being a fast-paced culture. It is nice to stop and smell the roses, and not worry so much about the little things. Another way I will carry my experience forward is by continuing to travel. I want to learn about other Latin American cultures, and the best way to do that is by traveling.

Since returning home from studying abroad, my old habits have already changed. I no longer feel the need to check my phone every twenty minutes, nor do I ever use it if at meals with friends and family. Instead I enjoy the time being in their company. I will need to divert from falling back into old habits, though. I have become so independent living abroad, so I hope I am able to continue this independency while back at home this summer and then when at school.

vfiles23427This quote by Pat Conroy perfectly describes my feelings at this time. “Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.” I will never be able to forget about any part of these last four months. Every day I think about specific moments that happened in certain countries. I also never want to stop traveling, and I hope that my future children have the opportunity to travel just like I did.

Travel Log 14: “Global Connections and Rites of Separation” by Domenique DeLucia. London, England

Eight days. 8. Single digits. That’s all I have left in this beautiful place. For the past 134 days of my life, I have been spending it exploring and discovering parts of the world that I didn’t even think existed, and didn’t ever think I would see in person. It’s crazy how fast time goes by, and how in the beginning you can’t possibly fathom staying here for 5 months with complete strangers, and then when it’s all over you can’t possibly fathom being without these strangers that are now friends. Life is funny sometimes, in a twisted way. The people you meet while traveling, you will never forget because you experienced something magical together that no one else in the world can relate to. This experience has changed my life, and I honestly cannot believe that it is coming to an end.

A couple of the people that are in my friend group have left already and some are leaving a couple days before the end, and it’s surreal to think that the faces that have surrounded me for 5 months, won’t be there anymore and for most, you honestly don’t know when you will see them again. We had this amazing dinner together, one where we reminisced about all the things that we have done and accomplished together over this crazy 11262090_1037414489609819_7431375693772425485_nadventure. We shared what we thought of each other in the beginning and how much each of us have changed our collective lives. I decided that we should go around the table and just talk about what the best part of the experience was, and if all the expectations and aspirations that we all had, were accomplished in our time abroad. I love these people, they have become life long friends, they will always have a piece of me, and where ever I go from here, they will always be with me. I shared laughs with these people, hilarious stories and crazy adventures. I never thought that you could miss a place so much while you are actually still in it. I still have so much left to do, and I have a fear it won’t all get done.

I have never been the type of person who shows their emotions very well, I am pretty preserved on that front but this experience and these people changed that. I needed to tell these people how I felt and how the journey we conquered together was one for the ages. I am not sure anything will ever top the things I have been able to do. I have no words, yet I have so much to say. A quote that really resonates with my time abroad would be “All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware” – Martin Buber. I didn’t know what mine was, I just thought that I would studying in a new scenery, away from 1503426_10206170713052598_5922499100309279870_nwhat I knew and the everyday stuff. I thought I was escaping, but it wasn’t at all what I was doing. I was just figuring out how to be comfortable being me, which I wasn’t before. I needed to stop caring about others would think of me if I said this joke or put myself out there. I just needed to be myself and let others just accept it, and this has just shown be that I have more courage and willpower than I ever thought I was capable of having. I am so incredibly blessed to be in this position. I am also incredibly sad that I will have to say goodbye to this city, to these people and to this journey. It was incredible and I will never forget it.

Travel Log 14: “Global Connections; Rites of Separation” by Tory Parker. Rome, Italy.

Eight more days. Single digits. I cannot believe I only have eight short days in this place that I have called home for the past four months. Wasn’t it just yesterday I was posting my first blog raving about how I could not believe I was actually here? While I am incredibly sad that I will be leaving this amazing city, I am so excited to be back home. While I love Rome and all the experiences, challenges, and lessons that came with living here, I am ready to go back to familiarity, my own bed, my friends and family, and food labels that are in English! As my time here draws to a close, I plan to soak in all the amazing things there are to see here while I still have the opportunity. Once I am back home, I definitely will not be able to take a leisurely 30-minute stroll to the Coliseum like I can here. I also plan to spend as much time with my roommates, who I have grown very close to. We are already planning a “see ya later” dinner at the beach with a lot of pizza and wine. I think because I have grown to love this place and these people so much, the Reincorporation phase of this Rite of Passage process will be difficult in the beginning. I think, after being apart of and experiencing Italian culture for so long, I will feel a bit of culture shock going back to the U.S. I think I will eventually realize that it is ok to feel nostalgic about my time here and will be able to go through the Reincorporation process.

In his book, Richard Slimbach states, ““If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also into this world within” (Slimbach, 54). Studying abroad has been a more rewarding experience than I could have ever imagined. Not only have I explored numerous places that otherwise I may not have, I have made many lasting friendships and learned a few things about myself as well. I think this is what Slimbach means by “this world within”. Studying abroad has taught me that I can handle a lot more than I thought I could; being thrust into a new country, a new language, a new culture, a new university, with four new roommates is not an easy load to take on all at once. But through my time here, I have learned that I am capable of handling not only this, but, in the future, other stressful situations. Studying abroad has also forced me to become more independent. While in Italy, my parents were not a two-hour drive away. I was responsible for handling any issues and struggles concerning school or just daily life that I encountered on my own. In short, I believe this quote means that global learning (the study abroad experience) is not simply a chance to learn about the world around us, but is also an opportunity to learn about and find ourselves. Also, my time here has contributed to my growth as a member of the global community by allowing me to experience the global community first hand. I think it would be quite difficult to be a responsible global citizen if I had only seen one small corner of the world. I will carry these connections forward by using the knowledge and skills I have gained here and continuing to apply them when I am back in the United States.

A quote that expresses how I feel at this point in my journey is, “You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That’s the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place”- Miriam Adeney. I feel that this quote accurately represents my feelings towards leaving because it shows that although I may be back in the United States, a piece of me will always be in Rome. I have had so many great and life changing experiences and met so many influential people that it would be impossible to not leave a piece of my heart here.

Travel Log 14: “Global Connections & Rites of Separation” by Kilian Smith. Berlin, Germany.

My spring semester spent in Berlin, Germany has been without a doubt the best four months of my life. I have met so many fantastic people, learned much about myself, seen many different parts of Europe, and integrated myself into one of the most remarkable cultures in the world. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and within the week I have to leave this uniquely beautiful city. It will be so hard to cut physical ties with the friends I have made as well as Berlin itself because I have fallen in love with this city. With the end of my experience closing in on me, I have been reflecting on my experience thus far. One of my goals for my study abroad experience was to “find myself” and figure out what path I want to take through life. Richard Slimbach states in Becoming World Wise, “If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also into this world within.” He argues that the vulnerability created when a study abroad student such as myself steps out of his known surroundings and comfort zone allows them to find out who they are or more often who they are not. I am a prime example of this. In America my family, friends, and routines protected and comforted me when I was anxious or afraid. I was in a constant state of familiarity and this created a safe zone that I never had to step out of. In Berlin I was completely independent; I was surrounded by the unfamiliar and for some reason I have never felt more in control of my own destiny. For years I had to consider so many factors in my life decisions and often felt as if my life was planned for me. I feel that the middle class teenager in the United States almost has an arranged life ahead of them: graduate high school, go to college, get a job, have a family and then die. Berlin has made me realize that I cannot continue to follow this plan. My family, friends, and society may have the best intentions in mind but if I continue on the path that has been planned for me I will not be happy. From this I would argue that Slimbach is right in that vulnerability allows us to find who we truly are and in my case who I am not. I am a unique person and I need to follow the life path that is right for me. I do not yet know where my path will lead but because of my experience in Berlin, I have a starting point and an idea of what makes me happy.

Not only did my abroad experience allow me to connect better with myself but it also allowed me to feel more connected to the global community. It is one thing to hear about life and events in a separate part of the world but it is completely different to experience it firsthand. I heard about Europe’s most pressing issues in the United States but now I have lived them. I have also made friends from all over the world throughout my experience. I have met people from California, Ohio, North Carolina as well as Germans, Turks, Norwegians, and Irish. They are my friends and I care deeply about them, therefore their problems are my problems. Because I now have global ties, I feel like a citizen of the world rather than just of the United States. I believe that sometimes Americans get so caught in their own issues that they forget there are many other countries with their own problems. I now know that we are all citizens of the world when it comes down to it. We all must work together in order to survive as a species, especially in today’s globalized society.

As I count down the days until I leave I am filled with much anxiety and sadness. How can I leave this city that has taught me so much? Berlin has allowed me to experienced life for what it truly is and make unbreakable bonds with some amazing people. It has allowed me to find myself and most importantly overcome issues that have plagued me for years. I owe so much to this experience and it feels wrong to just cut it off after only four months. I am nervous that I will lose all I have gained when I return home. I fear that returning to the routine will cause me to sink back into my old habits of laziness and self-loathing. At the same time I am excited to take what I have experienced and apply it to my life in the United States. I have much I can teach to my friends and family as well as a vision by which I can improve my local community. I must be relentless in remembering all Berlin has taught me, and the people it has allowed me to meet. By continually improving myself and the community around me I will be honoring Berlin, and making the most of all it has given me.

TL 13 – Connecting Rites of Passage and Digital Storytelling – by Leah Chernick. Paris, France.

According to Blumenkrantz and Goldstein, contemporary use of the term “rite of passage” has been obscured from its true meaning. Most coin the term rites of passage to a special experience or a moment with meaning, but what Blumenkrantz and Goldstein define a modern day rite of passage is achieved when “parents and the community create and participate in experiences which are perceived to be transformative by youth, and, in fact, offer them increased status within the community and facilitate their healthy transition through adolescence” (Blumenkrantz & Goldstein 43). Blumenkrantz and Goldstein argue that there is a lack of clearly established rites of passage in America due to the ambiguity as to when one becomes an adult in society and how. Due to the absence of meaningful community based rituals today’s youth defines and creates their own events based off of their peers and the media to mark important moments in their lives or so called rites of passage. Blumenkrantz and Goldstein remind us that a rite of passage is not just any milestone in one’s like such as drinking alcohol for the first time, a first kiss, or getting your license. Yes, studying abroad can be considered a rite of passage for many college students today, but it is important to remember the three stages of rites of passage separation, transition, and reincorporation. The absence of community-based rituals does present a problem for the proper development of the Global Community, because we conceive moments of meaning in our lives as rites of passage when they are not considered to be rites of passage, leading to ambiguity.

A digital story is a first person narrated video that combines one’s recorded voice, images, music, and other mediums. Its goal is to combine the art of story telling with a multimedia dimension. The purpose of a digital story is to shift the lens using the proper setting, details and events to tell your story with the experience. Storytelling adds purpose by having a meaning or moral to the story. A student who has spent the semester studying in a foreign country my digital story will demonstrate how I have grown during this experience from before to during to after the semester. It is important to share this digital story with members of my communitas and home community for them them to appreciate and understand how this experience has allowed for personal growth in my life. A digital story is the proper way to present to my home community my experience because it will better allow them to acknowledge my personal growth.

Three of the “twenty elements of rites of passage” I hope to use to develop my digital story include time alone for reflection, rites of passage create expectations for social appropriate behaviors, and play. Time alone for reflection is something I have done throughout my experience abroad. It is important to stop and reflect on your own thoughts, on your day, and on your experience as a whole. I find my self-reflecting most on the metro ride home from class everyday. Although I am not alone on the metro, it is a quite time in my day where I am usually alone and can sit and reflect without being disrupted. Throughout my semester I have also matured and experienced much personal growth. The element rites of passage create expectations for social appropriate behavior is something that I can relate to. Studying abroad in Paris has changed the way I behave in public and social settings. In general I have observed that the French act more mature than Americans. I believe that I have matured a lot with my social behavior due to the pressures of wanting to fit in with my surroundings. The last element I related to the most was play. In the reading, play is described as the, “opportunity to help individuals find their “bliss,” those activities that they can immerse themselves in with great passion and from which they receive unbridled joy.” My love for walking and wondering for pure curiosity of new things in Paris can be considered my play. Paris has so much to offer and I have so many things to still cross off my bucket list before my time here is gone. I love to wake up early on the weekend and just walk around without having any particular goal or purpose in mind other than for mere exploration and curiosity, which I describe as my playtime.

The digital story I connected with most was Rachael Cox’s story. I connected with this story the most not only because she studied abroad in Paris, but also I really connected with the way she described her experience with the Paris weather as she blossomed through her semester. She really connected it well with the stages we go through during rites of passage in a poetic manner.

Travel Log 15 “There’s No Place Like Home? Rites of Reincorporation” by Sarah Soucy. Manchester, New Hampshire.

Reincorporation can be challenging for anyone, regardless of how much you have tried to prepare yourself throughout your time abroad. My biggest fear with trying to reincorporate back into my home life was that I would continuously compare things to Australia and continue to wish I was back living by the beach with all of the new friends that I made. While thinking about all of these things I was able to reflect back on what we discussed in class and how it is important to return home with an open mind as we need to not only respect our home culture but our friends and families who have been anxiously waiting our return. I have found since being home, that most things have not changed around me but I, myself have changed. It can be a weird feeling coming back into your old life as a new person.

From being abroad I have found that I became more independent and more open to trying new things, even if it is something as little as a new type of food. Coming back to America I have found that unlike Australia, I need to now push myself to find new things since I have lived here my entire life. It is a familiar place, unlike a country I have never gone to before and it is up to me to now seek out these new adventures since they will not be waiting for me on my doorstep. I would not consider myself in the liminal stage as I do feel that I have a place back at home. Maybe the first day or two when I was readjusting I could have considered it the liminal stage as I was trying to get used to the time change and jet lag but at this point I feel that I have found a way to reincorporate myself back at home. I start my new job soon, I have already begun helping out around the house again and I have started to settle into a routine like I had before I left which helps with the reincorporation process.

I decided to share my reincorporation letter with my mom and my dad because they were the people I shared my departure letter with. I felt that it would be appropriate for a complete transition if I shared the conclusion of my journey with them as well. I used this letter to help show my parents how my four months abroad help me grow up and develop as an individual and I used it as a way to thank them for all of their help and support while I was abroad. Without my parents my journey would not have been as enjoyable as it was. The quote I chose to share with my family was, “The greatest gift of travel was not in the places visited and the people met; it was in the transformed person he had become as a result of both” (Slimbach 210). I liked this quote because I was excited to tell them all of the places I traveled but all of these places had an impact on me as well as living on my own and this is what I brought home with me. I do not think I am a completely different person, I believe that my morals and beliefs are the same but I like to believe I am a more determined and independent person since being abroad and I know my parents are proud of this.

Since studying abroad was so amazing I do not want to forget about my experiences, and since I have a terrible memory there are a few things I want to do to ensure I can hold on to these thoughts forever. I was able to keep a journal while abroad of all of my travels that I will have forever and be able to look back on and reflect on all of my journeys. I also plan to use the skills of interacting with people from all over the world and the drive I have to travel in my professional life to be able to travel, meet new people and to help others. One of the habits I hope to get rid of now that I am home and reincorporating is, eating lots of junk food. In Australia I tried to eat a lot healthier and work out more and by doing this I felt a lot healthier. I plan to continue doing this now that I am home in order to help myself stay healthy and have a successful reincorporation. I also want to stray away from having a negative attitude towards new ideas and be open to different people and to try new things.

One quote that makes me think about the ABC’s is, “Our challenges, as integrative returnees, is to think and act in ways that enrich and enlighten both others and ourselves” (Slimbach 220). I liked this quote because it encourages us to use all of the elements of the ABC’s throughout or reincorporation process. We must remember to think about all of our experiences and the impact they can have on us and those around us. These thoughts also create feelings within us that can make reincorporation challenging for some if they have negative emotions about coming home. What I have learned it to just think about something before I act on it because many people around me sacrificed a lot for me to study abroad and I will always be thankful for that.

Works Cited

Slimbach, Richard. Becoming World Wise a Guide to Global Learning. Sterling, VA.: Stylus Pub., LLC, 2010. Print.

Travel Log 13: “Connecting Rights of Passage and Digital Storytelling” by Ariel Olivieri. Dunedin, New Zealand.

I completely agree with the idea that American society lacks these rituals. In my life personally, the community acknowledgements that I have received involve participating in the middle-school spelling bee, graduating 8th grade, making honor-role or high-honors, winning the state championship for women’s varsity basketball, volunteering in a foreign country, getting accepted to college, and graduating high school. Completing all of these things impacted me personally, and the community acknowledgement was an added bonus, however each of these things I would consider a “moment with meaning”. Thus far, I do not feel that there was any one moment in my life where I felt like I had finally become an adult, and I still don’t feel that way. I have attended one quinceanera and several bar/bat mitzvah and witnessed my friends transform into community-accepted adults, and I was jealous that I never got to celebrate something like that.
Each one of my birthdays was nothing but a marker letting my know that I was one year older, and I used it as an excuse to throw a party or do something special with all of my friends. And I feel like this is true for many of todays youth. Unlike me, some students are never mentioned in the town paper or are never acknowledged for completing something worth noting, and this causes them to give up. If no one cares about what someone is doing, or if no one acknowledges the achievements of an individual that person will give up and succumb to drugs or violence. This is a huge issue that is facing American society today.
The three components that relate to both my study abroad experience and my digital story are: program success relies on relationships, adversity or personal challenge, and time alone for reflection. The first one is extremely important because everyone needs another individual that they can lean on in times of uncertainty. In my digital story I will mention that it was bonds between other people that kept me going when I missed home or was upset. The second, adversity or personal challenge, is also important because in order to change, you must face a challenge. Everyone has something to overcome, and by overcoming it, an individual can grow. This will the theme of my digital story. I will talk about how my challenging journey up the Mueller Hut Track relates to how i view my study abroad trip. How it was a challenge that I overcame. The final one, time alone for reflection is, in my opinion, the most important aspect. Everyone needs time to reflect in order to correctly process everything they have gone through. This allows them to form opinions and make decisions with a clear mind. Reflection is a time to truly understand everything and without, the person may not fully understand the situation or their feelings about it.
The digital story I most connected with was Caitlin Murphy’s story Break Away, who studied in the Netherlands. I enjoyed how she used the metaphor of the bike as a way to describe her trip and how personal the metaphor was. I also enjoyed how cohesive the project was. All the pictures seemed to flow with one another and the music in the background fit it perfectly. Also, I can relate to the story that she described which allows me to understand her perspective. I feel reassured someone else felt the same way while they were abroad, that I did.