I believe the definition of a rite of passage was stated very well by the Global Journal for Community Psychology Practice in which they said, “A modern day rite 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, p.43). The most well-known rite of passage in America is definitely an individual’s 21st birthday. This is the age at which you are legal to gamble, smoke and consume liquor in America and it is seen as a very big deal by both family and friends. In Europe, turning 21 is not as big of a deal considering you are legal to do the activities stated above at the age of 18. Now I personally will not be turning 21 in Ireland, but some of my American friends who are also in Ireland are turning 21. The Irish understand that Americans turning 21 is a big deal and they will say happy birthday but I am not sure how I would feel about not celebrating my 21st birthday in America where it means so much more.
While reading the article by Blumenkrantz I also started to think about my digital story. As I was reading through the twenty elements of rites of passage there were a few in particular that really stood out to me. The first one that caught my attention was number twelve: time alone for reflection. During my time here I am taking a very light course load compared to what I would be doing at Quinnipiac and have had a lot of free time on my hands. Since I have never had this much free time I wasn’t sure what to do with it at first, but after a week or two I began to get into a routine. Part of that routine is to sit at my desk and write down how I have changed as an individual and how I have changed the community for that week. When individuals do something that will better themselves or those around them. They do not realize it at first, the individual has to sit and think back on what they did and why they did it in order to fully understand how it has benefitted themselves or the community.
Another element of rites of passage that pertains to my journey abroad is number eight: adversity or personal challenges. When I first got to Ireland back in August I thought it was going to be a difficult transition because I have never been that great with change. On arrival I definitely felt some nerves and anxiety but nothing as bad as I was expecting. I was so prepared for the worst that when everything went smoothly I fit right in to my new home.
A third element of rites of passage that I can personally relate to is number four: you can only bring someone as far as you have been yourself. Before coming abroad I was trying to get advice from my older brother about what it would be like considering he has already been abroad. All the information he told me while I was in America didn’t necessarily stick because I could not experience it first-hand but once I got to Ireland all of it made sense. Now that I have been abroad I feel as though I can assist other who are thinking of going abroad in the future by giving them sound advice.
After watching the three digital story examples I can really only relate to Rachel Cox, Paris, France journey. She begins her video off by saying how she was lost and nervous which is exactly how I felt when first arriving in Ireland. She then proceeds to talk about how she has made friends with her neighbor and how she was able to speak more French then she had ever learned in school. Rachel then talks about how she took in the nature around her, which I can relate with considering how beautiful Ireland is in the fall. As I watched the video I kept thinking how this could be me and how much insight I got into how my video will look.