Travel Log 1: Laying a Foundation by Sam McGrath Norwood, MA

Waking up early isn’t usually an ideal weekend for me so to say the least I wasn’t overly prepared for the start to my study abroad experience. I was a bit overwhelmed when I entered the law library what seems like so long ago. There were a lot of things that I didn’t know were a part of the study abroad experience and only became known to me following the two-day session. I definitely didn’t know too much about the rite of passage process in general, as I only have been a part of one formal one in my life (my graduation). I always thought there were no real changes from old status to new status and one stayed relatively similar during the passage. After the sessions, I realized how much change was possible after a rite of passage and can say I’m both scared and excited for the change. I am scared for the weakness that comes from the symbolic death and because of the uncertainty that it entails. Although this uncertainty is scary, this also offers up a realm of possibilities for how much good the change can bring me and I hope that it does.

Weirdly enough the introduction the Becoming World Wise by Slimbach reminded me of a certain quote from one of my favorite movies, Pulp Fiction.

“You know what they call a Quarter Pounder with cheese in Paris?”

“They don’t call it a Quarter Pounder with cheese?… Then what do they call it?

“They call it a Royale with cheese.”

Now I might not be going to Paris but these lines from Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction very much resonate with me as I read the introduction to Becoming World Wise. From pages 3 to 4 in the introduction Slimbach talks about the globalization of American businesses throughout the world, from McDonald’s in Japan to Nike in Afghanistan. There is a strange similarity and also a strange difference between the countries around the world. “Instead of indulging a sentimental longing for an irrecoverable past, we should treat the complexity of our contemporary situation as offering a ‘teachable moment’ (pg. 4)” As Vincent Vega learned about the little differences and similarities between cultures in Paris and America, I hope to learn the same interesting similarities and differences between Ireland and America. I look forward to being a part of both worlds and being aware of the similar and contrasting societies. I think that my being a part of these two societies will parallel with me being a part of my old self and new self in the liminal status, culminating in my immersion into the Irish society and my eventual change into a new status.

I joined the Quinnipiac Study Abroad Program because I like to do; I like to take action when it comes to my life. Just the deed of moving from one country to another makes “the world become a living classroom- a place to watch and wonder, to enter into the experiences and perspectives of others, to communicate across differences, and to use knowledge on behalf of the common good” (Becoming World Wise pg. 5). This Behavior or action part of Bochner’s ABC model of Culture Content is how one can fully immerse themselves in the culture of their study abroad country. When someone actually does things with others they become something altogether, and that’s what I hope to do in Ireland so that I can totally submerse myself in all aspects of the culture and truly learn from the experience.

I chose to read McCarthey’s Bar: A Journey of Discovery in Ireland by Pete McCarthy.

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I picked this book because of the author being from America and his ancestors being from Ireland, which is very similar to me. The author is also a well-known comedian, which could be why the book is such a well selling travelogue, becoming an Irish Best Seller. Needless to say I am very excited to read it as I study abroad in Cork, Ireland.

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2 thoughts on “Travel Log 1: Laying a Foundation by Sam McGrath Norwood, MA

  1. I love the quote you chose, “Instead of indulging a sentimental longing for an irrecoverable past, we should treat the complexity of our contemporary situation as offering a ‘teachable moment’ (pg. 4)”. I completely agree that there can be ‘teachable moments’ every place we look especially being on this great journey. There will be tough times when we wish it could be easier, but in the end it will all be learning experiences that will change our life.

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  2. Hey Sam, great post! I love Pulp Fiction and it is funny how that can relate to studying abroad and how Westernization changed other cultures. You are right about the similarities and differences between countries in the world. When we travel abroad, it is going to be quite fascinating to see how the present cultures are so different from our own, but how they also share certain aspects that we know at home. It is really going to teach us what it is like to live in those cultures and at the same time show us how we are all connected as humans.

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