Initially I was hesitant to sacrifice an entire weekend to a hybrid class such as this one, I eventually signed up because my mother has always encouraged me to do new things and seize every opportunity available. Initially waking up so early had me regretting my decision although by the end of the first session I was intrigued by the massive amount of information that could be taught within such a short period of time. The sessions helped open my mind as to how tough it may be to assimilate yourself with such a different culture. I had never spent such a long time in a foreign country so the only foreign experiences I had were as a tourist, which as I can expect now will be much different than a student. I was surprised at how rites of passage are present in every culture and even in my life although I could not recognize them as such. Breaking down the different stages and analyzing them was quite enlightening to me and changed my view of how society works. One of the most enlightening experiences in the workshops was the film we watched of the Americans visiting Morocco and how different the cultures were.
While reading Becoming World Wise Slimbach begins to discuss how Western culture has affected everyone across the world and even the small group of people watching the news half a world away in the Viatnamese village. “More than likely they will experience a weakening attachment to family and place and gradually branch out (Slimbach 2) He continues to explain how similar everyone across the world is but how unique they all are at the same time, especially in relation to rites of passage. At one point everyone begins to separate and become worldly, university students study abroad, high school students take a bridge year, people studying religion typically engage in service trips. We all separate and begin a transformation at one point in our lives. Slimbach also explains the importance of engaging yourself during these experiences to fully absorb their worth. “We will tend to accumulate novel experiences but without stepping outside our comfort zones”( Slimbach 7) There is unlimited potential when immersing yourself in a global community and to fully engage yourself you must step out of your comfort zone as that is where true personal growth occurs. I will remember this as I am greeted with uncomfortable and new situations during my time abroad.
I chose to read Iberia by James A. Michener. Iberia is a book depicting the travels and adventures throughout Spain written in a unique way through James Michener’s eyes. The book explains the more common aspects of Spain such as the bull fighting and painters but also the undiscovered beauty in the landscape and culture that most people pass by without noticing. I hope this book helps me discover aspects of Spain that I would otherwise have overlooked. The reviews continuously focus on his ability to make readers fall in love with Spain.