I chose to study abroad it was because I wanted to challenge myself further and get a new experience. For the past three years, I have lived in America studying at Quinnipiac University. Transitioning from high school to university is a journey in itself, and in this time in my life, all that I’ve been exposed to is university in America and expanding my intellect amongst people who aren’t from the same country as me, and for the most part my differences have been embraced. However, now I want a new challenge, I want to go to France, because their culture is rich with history shaped by revolutions, dictators, philosophers and kings.
Unlike France, America is a cultural melting pot, of various peoples of different cultures, creeds and races. And though France may be ethnically diverse, they have a more homogenous culture when compared to that of America. In addition to this, my brother who too studied abroad in America went to study about in France as well his junior year, and I saw how it changed him, he had faced great adversity prior to leaving and during his time in France, but he came out a better, more well rounded and respectable individual, and I believe that if I take away from my experience half of what my brother learned, then I will consider myself accomplished.
I think my Rites of Passage theory has already affected my study abroad experience as I prepare to depart again for a new land. I am consciously thinking about how I will have to debunk my own stereotypes and further have the courage to immerse myself into a culture so antonymic from my own, and the American way of life I have come to learn. Another way in which this theory affects my study abroad is to manage my expectations by acknowledging that I will be uncomfortable and it will be awkward, but once I immerse myself into this culture I will in fact become comfortable and hopefully emerge an independent in that country.
“Not All Who Wander Are Lost” J.R.R. Tolkien
I chose this quote because to me it means that all travel has a purpose that there is more to leaving your country than just sight seeing and vacationing. It’s about becoming immersed in more than a country, but a world unlike your own. Like the Rites of Passage theory states, it’s the end and the beginning. It’s the person you once were and the person you are yet to become. It may appear to others that you are lost. That is because you are indeed finding yourself in a way not common to many. The decision to study abroad is a weighted one, making the decision to leave your family and friends behind, to find yourself in a culture so unlike yours, in more ways than one, it’s not an easy yes or no. Another way to see it is the perception that someone is leaving because they aren’t satisfied with their current state of being that everything continues to be mundane. But like the Rites of Passage theory states, this transition will be both beneficial to the individual and the community. The things one learns when ‘wandering’ can have a significant impact on their community when they reemerge as a changed individual.