I chose to study abroad because growing up I never really got the chance to travel the world or experience other cultures. Coming to college gave me so many opportunities, and one of the most important ones was to experience the world. Traveling abroad is the best opportunity for me to immerse myself into a culture and learn more about myself. It’s an opportunity that couldn’t be passed down. I chose to study abroad in Barcelona, Spain because I researched the cultures of the countries, the things to do, feedback of the programs, and narrowed it down to Barcelona. So many countries were appealing to me because I knew no matter where I went I would have an eye opening experience.
Now that I have begun to grow my knowledge of traditional Rites of Passage I think it will always be in the back of my mind throughout my travel abroad experience. I will be more cognizant and aware of my surroundings and the way my trip is affecting me as an individual, applying it to the Rites of Passage formula. It is exactly what I want to gain from my study abroad experience. Not only do I hope to see how the traditional Rites of Passage affects me, but now that I have a growing knowledge for it I hope to recognize the traditional ROPs that may be present in the other cultures I experience that I would have never recognized before or that are not in American culture. ROPs I feel can “shape” a culture and I think recognizing them in other cultures will help me gain a better understanding and enlighten my study abroad experience.
Ronald Regan put my reasoning into perfect words, “There is a flickering spark in us all which, if struck at just the right age… can light the rest of our lives, elevating our ideals, deepening our tolerance, and sharpening our appetite for knowledge about the rest of the world. Educational and cultural exchanges… provide perfect opportunity for this precious spark to grow, making us more sensitive and wiser international citizens through our careers.” This quote inspires me to constantly be aware of why I chose to study abroad in the first place, to spark growth in myself I could never experience through anything else. This quote inspires me to take this opportunity going abroad to be more worldly, understanding of the cultures around me, and wiser.