Travel Log 1: “Laying A Foundation” By: Stephen Sharo, Hillsborough NJ

The Rites of Passage workshops provided me with a surprising amount of information. When I originally thought of the theme of Rites of Passage I imagined a rather simple, uncomplicated theme. Unbeknown to me a Rites of Passage was much more specific than I had anticipated. One of the concepts covered in the workshop that highly resonated with me was the fact that there is an actual Declaration of Human Rights. I was always under the impression that human rights were only an abstract guide as to how humans were supposed to be treated. I was very shocked to learn that there was an actual document that laid out the basic human rights that everyone should receive.

Another part of the workshop which resonated strongly with me was the “Crossing Borders” video. The video demonstrated the borders can affect the way in which we see people. Each of the students had their own presumptions about how the students from the different country would act and behave even before meeting them. However the relationships the students formed with one another broke down the stereotypes held by some of the students prior to their journey. By the end of their journey, a handful of student from two vastly different cultures realized they had more similarities than they could have imagined and became very good friends. I think that the video was probably one of the most impactful moments from the workshops.

In his introduction to “Becoming World Wise” Slimbach discusses multiple themes that we covered during the workshops. One of the themes mentioned directly relates to our coverage of tricksters in the liminal phase of the Rites of Passage. In his introduction Slimbach states, “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 zones. When this “cocooning” occurs, we can’t expect much deep learning to take place,” (Slimbach, 224-225). As soon as I read this passage from Slimbach I immediately thought about our discussion on stepping outside the comfort zone in order to get the most out of the study abroad experience. As a study abroad student we have to ensure that our liminal phase remains in a heightened state of awareness. The liminal phase is where we are supposed to be the most open to new experiences. It seems that Slimbach agrees that isolation during the liminal phase can greatly hinder the learning experience study abroad has to offer.

I will use discussions and Slimbach’s view of the comfort zone in order to help shape my study abroad experience. Since this is a once in a lifetime opportunity I want to try to get the most fulfilling experience possible. Throughout the several months I have to remember our discussion through the workshop and continue to step outside of my comfort zone in order to get the most out of my study abroad experience.

Another interesting topic covered by Slimbach which we also discussed includes the improvement of the entire community rather than a change solely for the individual. Slimbach states, “Global learning must be not only in the world but also for it. Educational travel should leave the world a saner, stronger, and more sustainable place,” (Slimbach, 249-250). As discussed in class, the Rite of Passage should improve the community in addition to the individual. The journey taken as a Rite of Passage changes not only the person, but the world around the person and that is what makes a Rites of Passage such a significant experience.

The travelogue I chose is Travel Adventures- 23 Days on the North and South Island by: Greg Hung. After some research I decided that the author would provide some great insight from his travels. Greg Hung was a seasoned traveler from Canada and decided to leave his home and travel the world. As an experienced traveler I thin
k he can understand and appreciate the unique opportunities offered by New Zealand. Moreover the fact that he had traveled to both the 612h2b7rhskl-_ux160_North and the South Islands of New Zealand cover a lot of the areas I intend to visit.



Works Cited

Hung, Greg (2014-09-18). NEW ZEALAND – Travel Adventures – 23 days on the North & South Islands (Kindle Location 80). Greg Hung. Kindle Edition.

Slimbach, Richard (2012-03-12). Becoming World Wise: A Guide to Global Learning (Kindle Locations 224-225). Stylus Publishing. Kindle Edition.

One thought on “Travel Log 1: “Laying A Foundation” By: Stephen Sharo, Hillsborough NJ

  1. Hey Stephen! I had the same reactions during those workshops. I didn’t know that human rights had a physical document to show as proof. I feel like more people need to know how official the human rights truly are; it’s not just an abstract term like we originally thought. The film portraying the cross-cultural friendships was so beautiful to watch, and I am striving to break language barriers to hopefully make a few myself. As nerve-wracking as this can be, as you pointed out, we cannot “cocoon” our way through this experience. We need to branch out of our comfort zones and build bridges throughout our new global communities. Best of luck in New Zealand!


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