Travel Log 13: “Connecting Rites of Passage and Digital Storytelling” by Stephanie Schmitt. Florence, Italy

Right now, I am three weeks out from my departure back to America, which means that I am almost three months through the completion of my rite of passage. I really cannot believe how quickly this experience went, but I loved every minute of it. I think that looking at this journey through the rites of passage lens changed my experience for the better. It forced me to reflect on what I was doing and recognize how I could make it more meaningful. As said in the article, without rites of passages, young people do not have an effective module to aide and mark their transition into adulthood. The authors say in the article, “In the absence of meaningful community-based rituals, youth will define and create their own marker events based on peer or media values, many of which may be destructive both individually and communally.” The authors are making the argument that young people need to have concrete proof of their transformations, but without appropriate structure, they turn to models that are not constructive. I think that in terms of study abroad, the absence of community-based rituals does harm the development of the Global Community. This course has forced me to think about my effect on the world and also about other global issues that I would never have previously considered. The presence of a structure to base my journey around was definitely beneficial.

After reviewing the digital story presentation, I have realized the importance of creating a digital story presentation. Its purpose is to tell a story of a very personal journey in a meaningful and creative way. I think that one of the most important parts of the digital story is that it offers one final time for concrete reflection on one’s journey. It serves as a wrap-up to the experience and a way to consider personal growth in a structured way. Also, it serves to show others how the journey affected you, and it can also help those who are about to embark on a similar journey to understand what they should expect from their time abroad. It is a way for all of us to demonstrate to the world where we started in our journeys and what we have learned. I like that the presentation emphasized that the biggest part of the story should be the ability to convey the emotion of the experience. I think that is so important for something like study abroad because it is truly an experience that is completely based on emotion and personal reflection.

I personally really liked Rachel’s story about her time in Paris. I thought that she did a really good job of telling the story in a linear way and not losing track of her main focus. I think that she accomplished this by only focusing on one thing. She made the main focus of her presentation the trees and her neighbor, instead of trying to talk about too many things at once. The parallel of the blossoming trees with her  journey clearly conveyed her idea about how the experience changed her as an individual. The symbolism was successful because it gave the audience something physical to grab onto, in this case the blossoming buds, instead of just a metaphorical idea. Also, I liked that she clearly explained that her experience was about self-growth and finding her confidence in a foreign place. There was no question about how she felt about her time abroad and she made all her points very well, but she managed to make the video entertaining. Lastly, although this is a minor aspect, the music that Rachel chose to accompany her story went perfectly with her words. The music reached a peak as she described how she and the trees blossomed into beautiful things. The music helped bring the audience to this feeling of success and inner strength. I truly enjoyed learning about Rachel’s experience through her video.

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2 thoughts on “Travel Log 13: “Connecting Rites of Passage and Digital Storytelling” by Stephanie Schmitt. Florence, Italy

  1. I love how you described the importance of the digital story. I feel like it is the perfect way to wrap up our experience too! It will be something amazing to keep and look back on to describe our experience to other people. It will also be beneficial for ourselves to remember how we were thinking, feeling, and acting during our time abroad.

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  2. I agree with you about enjoying Rachel’s digital story the best out of the three we saw because it had the more linear story. It definitely made me feel like I was there with her in Paris watching the trees slowly turn from bare to blossoming! Her story was very easy to follow and really wrapped up her entire experience, it seemed, in Paris. I also agree that making this digital story is really important for the reflective part of our journey. Having something visual to show others as well as to have to look back on gives our experience so much more meaning and depth.

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