Travel Log 1: “Laying a Foundation” by Jenna Paul. Los Angeles, California

When thinking back to the weekend we had of our QU301 class I found it very interesting. I was not expecting to have any interest in QU301 and just thought it would be another QU seminar lecture class. I was super surprised when we began talking about the Rites of Passage and watching videos that really caught my attention. I remember watching the “Crossing Borders” film and thinking how true it all really is. The “ugly American” stereotype can become a reality for many people unless a person really tries to learn about the culture they are living in. I took this very seriously this summer because I wanted to make sure I do not fall into that stereotype. I have been trying to learn as much as possible about the Irish culture altogether. Whether it has been talking to people or researching, I want to know as much as possible before I leave to go live in what I hear is a great land.

In reading the beginning of Slimbach’s book, Becoming World Wise, I became aware of many things that I would have never thought about. One quote that really stuck out to me was, “The world becomes 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” (Slimbach 5). I feel that this is completely true. Everyday while in Ireland will be a learning experience for me, not only in the classroom, but every discussion I encounter with locals. Each day will be a chance to learn about the world in a completely different sense than what it has been growing up and in school for my whole life. Being abroad will put everything into context.

I am starting to understand that just being in the country does not mean I am really experiencing what the country has to offer. Slimbach touches on this thought when he says that, “Although the potential for acquiring a truly global education has never been greater, actually achieving it requires more than simply “being there” (Slimbach 7). I completely agree that a person needs to put themselves out there and really try to learn about what the country has to offer. It is more than just experiences the night life or talking to a few people in a class. Of course this will be difficult especially because this means your truly have to go through the separation phase and move on. You have to be open to learning a new way of life in some cases and experiencing all new things.

Personally, I am a thinker also known as cognition in the ABC model of Culture Contact. I have many thoughts in my head and it can sometimes be difficult to act out on my thoughts. I will need to put myself out there and really try to adapt and learn the new culture in order to really separate. It will for sure help me that I have been through a separation phase before though. Coming to college was a huge separation from everything because of the distance. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. When I chose to come to Connecticut for college I never realized what that actually meant. Having already gone through something like that will help me because I understand the feelings and anxiety that can come with being so far from home. Of course it will be a Unknowncompletely different experience, especially being out of the country, but to be completely honest, Connecticut can sometimes feel like a different world to me compared to Los Angeles sometimes. I hope that my experience at college will only help with the separation I will soon be going through.

I chose to read the book McCarthy’s Bar by Pete McCarthy. I picked this book because I think it will be a great read while traveling through Ireland. It is about a man telling his story in his mother’s homeland, which is a place he came to as he was growing up. I think I will enjoy reading this book a lot and hopefully learn a lot from it.

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5 thoughts on “Travel Log 1: “Laying a Foundation” by Jenna Paul. Los Angeles, California

  1. I really liked the ,”The world becomes 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”, quote as well. It really exemplifies how much we can learn while being in Cork, just by being there and taking in the culture. I also am very excited to read and learn from Pete McCarthey’s book as well. It seems like a great read and seems to take in all of Ireland.

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  2. Yes, I completely agree and think that this quote is perfect for the journey we are about to start. We will be learning so much about ourselves as well as the world and I can’t wait to get started!

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  3. Hi Jenna! I really liked your first post and I thought you had some good points. I like that you touched on Slimbach’s idea that in order to have a fully global education, you need to put in some effort. After the workshops, I started to think more about what I wanted to get out of my study abroad experience, and it began to seem pointless to go abroad with just the intention of having a good time. I realized that although this probably will be one of the best times in my life, I want to get more out of it. I want to learn about the world and other people and what it means to step outside of my comfort zone. Like you, I will also try to be open to everything that comes my way in the hopes to make the most out of this semester.

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  4. Jenna,

    I love how you addressed the idea of the “ugly American” stereotype and the trap of falling into it. I don’t think we realize the stereotype that American’s have and through learning, acting, and reflecting we can make sure we stay clear of being categorized. Through “teachable moments” we can learn from our thoughts, feelings, and actions (Slimach 4). This idea directly connects to the ABC’s of behavior from our workshops. Meaningful reflection will allow us to learn from our own experiences for the future. You made a great point about having to step outside of your comfort zone in order to fully separate and embrace the new culture. Putting yourself out there is a key part of the liminal phase where you are “betwixt and between”. We spoke about in the workshop how this will be the time we are the most creative and have the greatest about of discovery. Good luck stepping out of your comfort zone and diving into this new experience! I can’t wait to hear all about it.

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  5. Jenna,

    I had the same reservations about that workshop for this course as well! I figured it would be a boring lecture about things that wouldn’t really relate to us. I was definitely proved wrong; everything we discussed pretty much directly related to every aspect of studying abroad. I completely forgot about the “Crossing Borders” film and the “ugly American” stereotype that we discussed during that weekend and I love the fact that you brought it up. Going abroad is a big step and the last thing that you want is to stand out as a tourist or be looked at as the “typical American.”

    I also love that you mentioned Slimbach’s idea about how achieving global education “requires more than simply “being there.” I absolutely agree with that concept, for just living in a big city, especially one that is considered ‘westernized,’ I am sure one can get caught up in life and almost forget that he/she is in another country. Do you have a plan for becoming involved in the culture and really grasping a global education? As a result you will also become (hopefully) a better global citizen, another core value of this course. You mentioned you fall under the cognition umbrella in the ABC model of Culture Contact. My best suggestion for you would be to try and even out the ABC model by focusing on working on the A and B’s of the model as well! Emotion and behavior have a huge role in your Rite of Passage as a study abroad student this semester; acknowledging that all three categories of this model are equally important will hopefully assist in your experience. I’m sure the separation phase is going to be difficult, but breaking through it will send you forward in your Rite of Passage!

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