Travel Log 13: “Connecting Rites of Passage and Digital Storytelling” by Jenna Paul. Cork, Ireland.

I believe that I have gone through many different types of Rites of Passages in my life. I think that some are bigger than others and also that some are more apparent than others. For example, at 13 years old, I had a Bat Mitzvah. This is a ritual in the Jewish religion where one goes through a ceremony to signify that they have become of age in the Jewish culture. There are years worth of preparation for this day, but overall the experience is truly amazing. I remember my Bat Mitzvah so vividly because I worked so hard to get to that day and I wanted it to be perfect. Although it wasn’t the easiest process at times, the end result is something you can feel proud about for the rest of your life. This type of Rites of Passage was very clear that when it is over, I would become a woman in the Jewish religion. Although that doesn’t mean much in my everyday life, I knew that I was making my family proud by going through this process. I can now understand the meaning behind it better today and I am truly so glad I went through that Rites of Passage.

Another Rites of Passage I went through was moving to college across the country. Thinking about it now, that seems absolutely crazy and I can’t believe I actually survived that on my own. I moved away from family and friends to a place where I knew absolutely no one. All of the comfort of being in my hometown surrounded by familiar places and people was gone within a plane ride. Now, for some people, they might say they “moved” away to college and they became independent. I think that going through this Rites of Passage I soon realized I can’t just feel homesick, call my parents on the phone and have them drive a couple hours to come get me. I knew the next date I was going to be home because I had a plane ticket bought months in advance. I think that right there is the difference. If you have the comfort of being able to just drive back home or get back into the comfort zone in your life, it’s not as big as a step away. That is why I agree with this definition from the Rites of Passage as a Framework for Community Interventions with Youth, “A modern day rites of passage is achieved when parents and the community create and participate in experiences which are perceived to be transformative by youth and, in fact, offer them increased status within the community and facilitate their healthy transition through adolescence” (Blumenkrantz and Goldstein 43). It is about stepping out of your comfort zone into a new life that you have never experienced before. A perfect example is our journey here while studying abroad.

The three elements of rites of passage that I have chosen for the development of my digital story are paradigm shift, connection with nature, and time alone for reflection. I think that these three elements will be a great main focus to be able to tell my story. A paradigm shift is a great way to show growth in myself from the start, which led to the connection with nature as well as time alone for reflection. I think my story will be able to flow greatly with these three elements.

The digital story that I connected with the most was by Caitlin Murphy and her journey in the Netherlands. I like how she used the bike as a central theme to share her experience. Although it was a little short and could have used a little more emotion, I think that she did a great job showing and telling her stories and experiences while abroad.


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