Well the summer has certainly flew by and I have exactly 17 days until I leave for my trip to Perugia. It’s hard to believe that only a few months ago I was told that I would have to go to two workshops on the weekend for a large part of both Saturday and Sunday for this QU301 course. I found myself thinking, “What on earth could I possibly do for that long? It better not be a waste of my time!” Well, after going to those workshops I can certainly say that the workshops were not a waste of time and that they were filled with knowledge that made me very excited for my trip. I did not know about the rite of passage and the stages one goes through while abroad. One thing that really resonated me was the rite of separation and the idea of a “symbolic death.” When you leave your home, you become weak, leaving behind all that you know. The idea of being vulnerable like that can be scary, but it is during those times when you grow the most. For this reason, the rite of separation also makes you strong because you learn so much about yourself as a person and about the other people and culture of the place you are traveling to. Although I am definitely nervous about my trip, I am also extremely excited for the new, knowledgable experiences coming my way.
After reading Slimbach’s Becoming World Wise, I felt a strong connection with the topics we have discussed in our course. When Slimbach was summarizing each chapter that lies ahead, I found that his summary of the guide’s “Chapter 6: Living with Paradox” demonstrates how that while abroad there will be inconveniences where, “instead as seeing them as foes to either fight or flee, we’re encouraged to use them to amplify our consciousness and call forth new cultural insight” (Slimbach 11). This is exactly what we talked about as a class and how if we ignore the problems or close ourselves off, we will negatively contribute to our own growth. That is why the rite of separation and liminal phase is so important. While vulnerable, we can either choose to close ourselves off and learn nothing, or accept our condition and leave our comfort zone to immerse ourselves into the new culture. I’m going to choose the latter.
We defined global community as something composed of all living things making up all the communities on earth, trying to achieve the human rights for all. The only way this can happen, as Slimbach describes, is with respect and trust because, “…our deliberate efforts to honor the beauty and specialness of our hosts’ way of life acts to smooth the way toward gaining their acceptance and cooperation” (Slimbach 128). This is a how a global community works. We humans trust and respect each other allowing us to achieve those human rights. It is quite spectacular that I will be able to embark on a journey like this, already equipped with the knowledge that is the the rite of passage and the stages that I will go through. This well help me tremendously in shaping my feelings, thoughts, and ultimately my behavior, giving me a huge advantage.
The travelogue I chose to read while in Perugia is Not in a Tuscan Villa by John and Nancy Petralia. Staying sincere, the main reason I chose this book was because it was listed as an example for Italy and I also did not know what else to pick. HOWEVER, the book sounds like it fits perfectly with the ideas of the rite of passage and how when you are abroad you grow as a person. The book is about a couple who travels to Italy and learn about themselves, the Italian, and even their American life. I’m very excited to read it.