After the workshop, that I truly enjoyed attending the entire weekend, I could not get the idea of studying abroad off of mind. It didn’t feel real to me that I was leaving the country for four months starting in January until after the workshop. I didn’t know what a Rite of Passage really was until the day of the workshop. What resonated with me was the activity where we created the timelines of events that occur throughout our lives that can be looked at as a “Rite of Passage”. A Rite of Passage ends in the creation of a new “status”. Until this activity I did not think of little things such as being a big sister, going to college, receiving my license, etc. as Rites of Passage where I formed a new status afterwards. However, looking back from what I learned, they each fit into the Rite of Passage formula. You begin in your old status, there is a rite of separation, you remain in the liminal status until you come across the rites of reincorporation back to society with your new status. I didn’t think of the life events that the formula as anything else but a life event. The activity resonated with me because it made me realize how much truly affects my identity and status and in life and studying abroad is a huge Rite of Passage.
The second part of the workshop that resonated with me was the video of the international students and the Moroccan students. It was an incredibly eye-opening video that made me realize I need to keep my mind open when I travel abroad and meet people from all over the world. Everyone has preconceived notions about different cultures but stereotyping them is not the way to enter into a situation. The workshop as a whole felt incredibly beneficial because it opened my eyes to how big of a Rite of Passage I am about to enter and endure within only two short weeks, and the way I need to act when going through the experience.
Slimbach discusses in the Introduction to Becoming World Wise the idea of “cocooning” oneself. I found that this pertained to Rites of Passage, a workshop concept we discussed. Slimbach refers to cocooning as, “without the requisite understandings and skills to learn with and from those in our field setting, we will tend to accumulate novel experiences but without stepping much outside our comfort zone” and “when this ‘cocooning’ occurs, we cant expect much deep learning to take place” (Slimbach 7). The idea of cocooning oneself being a hindrance of deep learning is true. Within our Rite of Passage if we do not fully remove ourselves from our old status then we will never leave or enter the liminal status to then finish off the passage to our new status. This concept that Slimbach discusses really stuck out to me. He does not mention it pertaining to the “Rites of Passage”, however, I found it very relatable. When I am abroad I do not want to “cocoon” myself or shelter myself from the experiences I will have. If I do not enter my country with an open mind for deeper learning then those novel experiences that present themselves to me will not be fully taken advantage of since I did not open my mind and step out of my comfort zone in order to learn. I find that it will be so important for me step outside of my comfort zone while in Barcelona in order to allow a deep learning to take place. Not only of the culture and people around me, but of myself. This will allow me to separate from my old status and successfully enter into the liminal status.
Another concept that Slimbach discusses in the Introduction to Becoming World Wise that I found pertained to a successful Rite of Passage is how, “the entertainment, food, and fashion industries are becoming more standardized, but without dissolving inherited tastes and traditions. The new combines with and coexists alongside the old” (Slimbach 4). The world may be becoming more Westernized, however, as Slimbach suggests, every place still has its old traditions and ways, they simply coexist with the new. It is the learning of the old traditions and ways that motivate me to deeply learn when I am abroad. I feel that understanding and gaining respect for these different ways in another culture will help shape my new status while in my liminal status abroad. Submerging myself in a different, unknown culture to myself is an entirely life changing experience. If I live the Western life while abroad, do not step outside of my comfort zone, then I personally would view my Rite of Passage as a failure. It is important to me that I recognize and embrace the difference, the coexisting old with the new, while I am in Barcelona so that I can expand my mind and make the best of my passage. The different and old is the experience I am seeking to embrace and learn more about.
The travelogue I chose is called “Spain in Mind” by Alice Leccese Powers (the editor) and is written by not only a non-native traveling in Spain, but forty. The travelogue is an anthology that depicts my host country through an array of non-fiction, poetry, and fiction stories written by American and English writers. I chose the book because it was different compared to the other travelogues out there available. The book is composed of not only non-fiction, but also fiction, and not only stories, but poetry and letters. It includes writers such as George Orwell, E. E. Cummings, Langston Hughes, Henry James, etc. Another aspect to the book that caught my eye was that it also contains tidbits of other travelogues I was considering, such as Driving Over Lemons.
I will be getting more out of my read than just one story and hopefully a eye-opening glimpse into Spain, my host-country, that will make my travels easier and more interesting. I feel I can learn a lot from the travelogue I chose while also remaining very intrigued throughout the book.
(Picture taken from: Amazon.com)