Travel Log 14: Rites of Separation. Madeline Eldredge, Cork Ireland

Richard Slimbach’s statement, “If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also into this world within” (54), is completely accurate in relation to the time that I have spent studying abroad in Cork, Ireland. Had it not been for the prompts presented in QU 301 each week, I do not think that my time abroad would have been as fulfilling. I would have been in Ireland but I would not have been paying attention to the minor details that later became great experiences or unforgettable moments. There is a significant difference between “existing” and “living” and I think that is what Slimbach is somewhat trying to convey by this statement. We are immersed into a new culture but we will only grasp the culture and really understand the details if we allow ourselves to. Becoming immersed to the point of truly understanding the culture that surrounds us can be achieved by letting go of any fears and becoming more vulnerable to fully observe and take in the culture. The following statement made by Richard Slimbach exemplifies this point: “ Our journey may be filled with much outward movement, but we are mostly traveling inside ourselves, to destinations never quite arrived at when we’re surrounded by sameness” (55). If we did not let ourselves become vulnerable, then one never let the host culture fully engulf them to really understand the deeper concepts.

I feel like I have a deeper understanding of what it means to be a global community citizen since I have been in Ireland. I think that the documentary “Half the Sky” really encompassed what it means to be a global citizen by seeing people volunteer their time and efforts to make a change in another culture by trying to understand them while incorporating their own cultures as a comparison as a method of resolving the issues at hand. Moving forward, I will use my understanding of different cultures and the ideas associated to them with an open mind. I think too many people close their minds off to different ideas because they seem “strange” or it’s not something they would agree with. This, I feel, is the root of the ongoing racial issues in America.

Although I have made many new friends here, the one person I really “clicked” with was a girl, Sarah, from California. We have planned to have our own “farewell” brunch this upcoming Saturday as well as an entire day of walking around Cork City Center to re-experience each other’s favorite spots. This will help me to better understand her transitional phase when she first arrived as well as tell her about mine and then we can compare experiences.

As the time for my departure nears, I feel extremely overwhelmed. Friends who have previously studied abroad told me that time will fly while I am here but I did not realize how fast it would go by. So far, I have tried to visit my favorite places in the city and spend as much time as I can outside and away from my laptop and phone. I think beginning the process of the Reincorporation phase will be emotionally difficult knowing that it is the end of an incredible journey. On the other hand, I will take everything that I have learned abroad and from this course to complete the Reincorporation phase and the Rite of Passage process and to, ultimately, conduct a comparison of how I was before I departed America to how I will be when I arrive in America.

The-Journey-is-the-Destination2

I chose this picture and quote to explain how the Rites of Passage process is more than just a “beginning, middle, and end.” Each stage entails a different experience for each person and, for me, I learned more about myself and what I am capable of in the “middle stage” or “liminal stage” where I was neither ready to be here nor was I ready to go home yet. It was when I felt the most vulnerable but also learned the most.

image from: http://media.bridgesandballoons.com/Images/2012/07/The-Journey-is-the-Destination2.jpg

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