Reincorporation in the Rites of Passage theory involves incorporating oneself back into their home community after studying abroad. Based on our workshops reincorporation has different results for every student. For example some students may not recognize personal growth but will appreciate their overall experience. Others may feel more independent and travel savvy but their community does not recognize these qualities. Some students don’t separate successfully from their host country and become critical of their home community in an unhealthy way. The one I relate to the most is when students feel isolated on their return due to difficulties sharing their experience. It is extremely hard to describe a three-month adventure in a couple of sentences. When I sat down with one of my best friends and talked to her about all of the things I did, it felt like I was talking to a wall. She seemed pre-occupied or had no idea what I was talking about even after I explained some of my experiences. It was really hard to get my point across on how I saw this amazing sunset in Greece or how I had tea at this little shop outside of London. She would say how she wasn’t surprised I went abroad and that this experience was for “smart people”. She doesn’t go to college therefore she doesn’t have access to opportunities such as this. It made me feel bad because I felt like I was putting her down or downplaying her life at home and I could sense her jealousy. It was just an awkward and uncomfortable experience all together.
Slimbach states, “ Having struggled to overcome so many “dragons”, both within and without, you now look at yourself and your natal culture differently” (205). I feel like I don’t fit in my home community any more. I hear what my friends have been up to since I’ve left and I can’t really connect with them. I see some of the stuff they are worried about as small-minded. It kind of makes me sad because I was so excited to see them and not being able to relate to them or get into the conversation has really downplayed all of that excitement. As for my family, they have been hovering quite a lot lately. It wasn’t until this letter that I told them they had to give me some space and let me figure things out on my own. I was always a very independent person but it was to a specific point where I would need their help. I think now I’ve learned to really do a lot of things on my own and they are still used to me calling on them for help in the last minute. As a result they often do things for me instead of just waiting to see if I’ll do it on my own.
I chose to share my reincorporation letter with my mom and dad, just as I had shared with them my separation letter. I read my letter to them one evening after dinner in the living room. In my letter I spoke about how I have changed and that it may seem hard to see at first. I discussed why I’ve been hiding out in my room so much and why I seem so down at times. I explained how I would make myself more visible in order to have a healthy reincorporation. I asked them to give me some space and allow me to do some things on my own so that they can see how I have changed. My mom seemed relived to get an explanation for my behavior and my dad was supportive of my needs. They both don’t see how I’ve changed, which is a little discouraging but I can get past this if they can uphold what I need them to do to help me reincorporate to my home community. Some of my closest friends have seen a positive difference in me and that has been extremely encouraging and has pushed me to continue making strides in reshaping myself. The quote I chose to share with my parents in my letter was “Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make and make a brand new ending” by Carl Bard. I explained to my parents that I’m not trying to start over because there are some things that have happened in the past that have shaped me positively. I am trying to change the path that I am on and my attitude on how to navigate through life to be more optimistic. They seemed to understand and said that if I ever need help to do this they would always be there for me.
I plan to carry my experience forward by discerning vocation. I didn’t understand this plan at first but when I broke it down into simpler terms it meant that I should recognize or distinguish a particular path for myself. Before I left, I felt like I was at a crossroads. I had just changed my major, I didn’t have a summer internship, and with senior year getting closer I had no idea what I wanted to do once I finished. It scared me that I had no direction and no path to follow. This experience has taught me to take everything on and enjoy the small things in life just as much as the big important events that may occur. By focusing on this I have found peace with the fact that a lot of the important decisions I have to make in the future are not solidified. For a long time I’ve been to afraid to go for what I really want because I’m afraid of it being a mistake and wasting time. I think now I have the courage to voice what I really want for myself and just go for it even if it seems scary.
The main habit I want to change is my temper. I get easily frustrated with things or people and one can immediately see my irritation through my actions. This habit has occurred over time because I often get over looked or not taken seriously by others. I use it as a way to state my presence so I can voice my opinion, which as a result is not constructive. Keeping this habit will not allow me to grow and truly change into the person I believe I can be. By keeping this habit I’m wasting all of the experiences I’ve had and reverting back to my old ways.
I’m at this point in my life where I have a lot of decision that need to be made. As I stated in this passage I have difficulty making decisions because I’m afraid of failure. I want to change this and make decisions that reflect what I really want. Doing this will allow me to overcome my fear of failure and test how hard I can work to gain what truly want in life