When I first signed up for the QU301 class, I has honored to be chosen, yet was not looking forward to sacrificing a weekend in order to sit in a classroom for six hours at a time. Contrary to my thoughts of “wasting my weekend,” I actually found the class to be very eye-opening and refreshing. Under first impression, I knew that this was not going to be a normal QU seminar class – there was a sense of depth and focus on individuality which I had never seen before in any other class. I really enjoyed knowing that the class will be as interesting or uninteresting as I want to make it. I can either choose to post the minimum each week, or I can choose to put the reader in my shoes and have them alongside me for the journey. I also thought of this class as a method to force me to do things I normally wouldn’t do while I’m abroad. Since this is my first time leaving the country, I really don’t know what to expect, which may cause me to be naturally timid at first. With the help of this class, I will be forced to look at this journey in a different light, and to step out of my comfort zone; to actually become involved with the local community.
One concept from the lesson that resonated with me was the overall idea of what defines a rite of passage. I feel that I have been through several rites of passages in my life such as my first communion or my high school graduation, yet none I feel have pushed both myself and my community to accept me as a new person; it was always either one or the other. By taking this course, I can now be sure to be aware of myself going through a change as well as noticing my community accept me as a new individual. This provides me with a unique opportunity that I would not be able to take advantage of otherwise.
When looking at the work of Slimbach, it is clear that he illuminates the importance rites of passages. Within the lesson, we learned of the three stages of a rite of passage – the old status, the liminal status, and the new status. I believe that both I and the people around me will be moving through these three stages simultaneously throughout this process. In order for a proper rite of passage to occur, the participation and acknowledgement of both parties is crucial. Moreover, as I travel to a foreign land, I will leave a mark on them, just as they will leave their mark on me. Of course, I come with many stereotypes that the Australian culture will have to see through. I am sure that many Australians have predisposed opinions about Americans that I will have to personally prove or disprove. It will be truly interesting to see what image I portray to them, whether it is intentional or not. When looking at the ABC model of cultural contact, it becomes clear that although the American and Australian culture have countless differences, we also share a common thread that unites us on a deeper level (something that I am more than excited to find). As Slimbach states, “Although we may inhabit different geographies, cultures, families, and political systems, we are increasingly bound together by a single fate and a shared identity.” (Slimbach, 2010, p. 6) I agree with this statement, as I hold an optimist view of global unity. I too believe that no matter the differences two cultures may hold, they will always share some sort of common bond that has the ability to create a meaningful connection.
The book I chose for my travelogue is called In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson. I chose this book because it provides entertaining insight of Australia. Also, this book is supposed to be one of the funnier reads regarding traveling to Australia, and has received excellent reviews. I am hoping to gain a better understanding of the country as well as compare my experiences to Bryson’s, as we both undergo this voyage for the first time.