Living in Barcelona for these past three and a half months has been the most unforgettable experience. I still cannot believe that I was able to spend a semester in Spain while exploring other cities and countries, and meeting so many new people. I feel that this course and this experience have truly helped me to grow as an individual in the community. I have gained immersed myself into a new culture and because of this, I have gained more knowledge about the world that surrounds us.
After reading, “Rites of Passage as a Framework for Community Interventions with Youth,” I would agree with Blumenkratz and Goldstein in the fact that the absence of community-based rituals does present a problem for the healthy development of the Global Community. The authors mention the transition from childhood to adulthood, and that although the youth starts to receive certain adult privileges, this does not equate to any level of maturity on those that gain these privileges. The authors mention that teen pregnancy, drugs, and alcohol are just a few of the factors that prevent the youth from developing through a real rite of passage. “In the absence of meaningful community-based rituals, youth will define and create their own marker events based on peer media and values, many of which may be destructive both individually and communally” (Blumenkratz and Goldstein 43). I think that as a student in this study abroad experience, I have made sure to participate in experiences that would help me to grow as a global citizen. I want to leave this place knowing that I gained everything that I could through my experiences and have changed as an individual.
A digital story is able to provide our audience and ourselves a perspective on our study abroad experience. It is a way for people to connect with us on the travels we have taken and the culture we have experienced. There were many elements from the list of “twenty elements of rites of passage” that I found interesting. I think the three that stood out to me the most however were adversity or personal challenge, obligation to service to the larger community, and time alone for reflection. I have experienced a personal challenge here when taking my first dance class all in the Spanish language. It was a difficult transition to be in a studio filled with only local Spanish speakers, but I feel that this experience has taught me a lot about overcoming challenges and I have grown better as a dancer and individual. The next element, obligation to service to the larger community I think is very important. In my time here and volunteering, I have met with immigrants who came here as teenagers and have been living here for ten or more years. I feel that I have learned a lot from them through our discussions on interculturality and immigration. The last element is time alone for reflection. I think after taking this experience, it is important for many people to set some time aside for themselves, and to reflect on their study abroad experience. I personally am excited for when I go back to the United States to be able to have some time alone to reflect on my experience here in Barcelona.
I connected most with Rachel Cox’s digital story. I thought her video was interesting with the images she used and story she told. I feel as if she used similar elements to the three I am interested in. She reflects on her time abroad in Paris, and she mentions the challenges she faced, such as the language barrier. I like the way she mentioned her conversations with her neighbor and how meaningful they were in her time in Paris. She mentions how her study abroad experience has really helped her to grow. It is a bittersweet feeling that this experience is soon coming to an end, but I am excited for the person I am becoming.