It’s hard to believe that it has already been around four months since the workshop in April. Originally, I wasn’t planning on taking this course, but when the opportunity was presented to me last second; I decided to go for it without much knowledge about what the class entailed. When I learned it required an entire weekend of seminars I wasn’t to keen on the idea of sticking with it. After the first couple hours in class, the material we were discussing had all of my attention, and I was more then content with my decision to stick with it. The rites of passage, I can honestly say, are unlike anything I have learned before. Ever since we learned about them they have floated in and out of my thoughts. I really like the idea of having this experience framed by the three phases; separation, liminal, and reincorporation. It gives it a different perspective on this journey that I otherwise would not have had. Having these phases in the foreground during the next couple months I think will make a difference especially in the rollercoaster of emotions that we might experience, whether it is missing home, or never wanting to leave the place that we now have become accustomed too.
In Richard Slimbach’s book, Becoming World Wise; he gives his opinion of the purpose of traveling to other countries to study, “The goal of educational travel is to help us navigate this complex and contradictory world while challenging the limits of our intellectual and intercultural abilities.” (Slimbach ) I think one could even go further to say that it is not only our ‘intercultural abilities’, but also our own personal abilities and limits will be challenged. For me, I think they will be challenged most in the separation phase while adjusting to somewhere that just simply isn’t home. It will almost be like starting college as a freshman all over again, trying to get used to a new routine, and a new school that might present classes and material in a way that we are not familiar with. There are so many unknowns, and curiosities that I have that will not be answered until I am in Paris. I don’t even know who my host family is, or the address of where I am living yet and I leave in a week. I am someone who likes to plan ahead, and have everything in order before I do something, so this experience is already presenting its challenges while I am still on American soil. Once there, the added challenge of the totally different cultural will put an interesting spin on things, but I welcome those challenges to come with open arms.
The travelogue that I chose to bring with me is Confessions of a Paris Party Girl. I know it may not sound like the most scholarly travelogue but after reading the summary of so many others, this one was relatable immediately, it wasn’t stuffy or too serious, and it sounded authentic. I knew I wouldn’t just read about the ‘ the city of love’ and how wonderful it was, but I would also read about various downfalls that this young woman experienced in Paris. I do not speak one word of French going into this trip, and neither did she which I found oddly comforting, considering she moved there to live there for good, not just for three months.