When I was introduced to QU 301: Rites of Passage course I didn`t know what to think. When I hear “The Rites of Passage”, I think of ceremonies like a bar mitzvah or a wedding. However, our first workshop introduced the class to cultural ceremonies that would be defined as a ‘Rite of Passage’. Some of the emotions I experienced were amazement, curiosity, and some nervousness. I did not know what I was getting myself into, but by the end of the workshop, I knew I had made the right decision taking this course.
While my emotions ran wild with awe and growing curiosity, many of the videos reinforced the concepts of The Rites of Passage I would later learn about. The main concept that resonated with me was the liminality stage during the Rites of Passage. The liminality stage of the rights of passage can be termed as ‘in betwixt and between’ phase of a transitional journey to a new experience. When someone is going through this stage they are constantly learning, questioning, and adventuring through this new experience. In my personal life, I could connect the liminality stage to my first year in college. I was joining many clubs, socializing, and balancing home and school life. I found it to be very challenging and cumbersome because it was something I never experienced before. Along the way, I questioned many of my own values and the values of others as identified myself in the Quinnipiac community. However, I found mentors such as School of Communications Dean, Lee Kamlet, who could guide me academically through my first year. I also found tricksters, people who veered me along a dark path that I would not normally go with. I adopted and neglected many academic and personal lessons in order to find my own identity. The concept of liminality can be applied to many life ceremonies and experiences. While some can be short, like the study abroad period, others can be longer or more emotional like retirement, or death of a close family member. Overall, I felt like I could connect to this stage of the Rites of Passage theory.
The main concept that resonated with me from the workshops was the liminality stage during the Rites of Passage. The liminality stage of the rights of passage can be termed as ‘in betwixt and between’ phase of a transitional journey to a new experience. When someone is going through this stage they are constantly learning, questioning, and adventuring through this new experience. In my personal life, the first year of college was the liminality stage. I was joining many clubs, socializing, and balancing home and school life. I found it to be very challenging and cumbersome because it was something I never experienced before. Along the way, the questions many of my own values, and the values of others and I identified myself in the Quinnipiac community. In the liminality stage of freshman year, I found mentors such as School of Communications Dean, Lee Kamlet, who could guide me academically through my first year. I also found tricksters, Quinnipiac student body who veered me along a dark path that I would not normally go with. I adopted and neglected many academic and personal lessons in order to find my own identity. The concept of liminality can be applied to many life ceremonies and experiences. While some can be short, like the study abroad period, others can be longer or more emotional like retirement, or death of a close family member. Overall, I felt like I could connect to this stage in the rites of passage from my freshman year and even now.
The Separation phase is only one phase that Richard Slimbach mentions in his book Becoming World Wise. Another concept Slimbach mentions in his introductory chapter is the Separation phase. As millennials, separation is a foreign concept to us especially if we have to separate from our phones. However, the Separation phase dives deeper into the re-evaluating how students can relinquish old habits or rituals that inhibit them from positively developing from an abroad adventure. Slimbach specifically speaks about how the abroad experience can feel more like a vacation than a purposeful opportunity. One drawback from the separation phase is a person may feel guilt or sadness that they are physically away from friends and family back home. The person may interact with family and friends too much and miss out on new opportunities in their host country. Slimbach exemplifies that the study abroad experience is a great learning experience but, “Without a doubt, short-term study and service abroad carries deep personal satisfactions. But it also runs the risk of unleashing well-meaning but untrained individuals on unsuspecting communities. A flash-in-the-pan, three-weeks-for-humanity approach to education abroad raises serious concerns about the depth and quality of learning, as well as the integrity of any assistance provided” (258).The weak-mindedness of a new traveler connects back to the separation phase of the Rites of Passage because a person who is unknowledgeable about basic political and social issues may unexpectedly disrespect locals and do more harm than good. One way Slimbach talks about a successful separation phase is through the how and the why of how students separate. If done right, then students become self-reflective and self-aware during their travels.
In addition to the Rites of Passage, Slimbach details examples that coincide with the Rites of Reflection in the introductory chapter. While some young travelers or students may use their time to travel and party, other use their time to change a societal issue. Mental reflection involves how a person makes connections from the past to the present to help them clarify on current ideas to re-shape the future. Students everywhere are using their study abroad experience to change communities everywhere to bridge the world gaps. With community service trips and purpose -driven journeys, this inner drive or fervent attitude is an affect behavior and cognition of the Rites of Reflection. In the first part of the introductory, Lawerence Osbourn, author of The Naked Tourist, negatively reacted to the amount of globalization, westernization, and tourism happening in Ho Chi Ming, Vietnam. However, Slimbach testifies that”He pessimistically predicted a monocultural world depleted of authentic peoples and pristine places and, thus, of truly educative experiences” (139). His negative feelings may haven`t influenced him to act differently, but it made him reflect more on the globalization of the society. Thus his thoughts and feelings about this experience will change his perception about his future travels toVietnam, and how westernization has made the unfamiliar territory feel like home. Slimbach does say how globalization has positively and negative effects on the world. Slimbach states: “Those who view Westernization as either a dangerous embrace of corrupting values or a U.S. strategy for world domination will actively resist its local reach and influence. Islamicists, for example, ban satellite television in order to restrict global information flows” (152). Therefore, Slimbach emphasis on how the elements of globalization drive the cognitive behavioral and emotions of the individual and the community relates back the Rites of Reflection.
As I read Slimbach`s Becoming World Wise, I have chosen travelogue, Driving Over Lemons: An Optimist in Spain to will assist in my travels. This book is a travelogue for Spain as the news editor, Chris Stewart, sets out to Spain with his wife Ana to a sheep farm in El Valero. Here, he will learn how to heard sheep, which is very different from his bourgeoise life back in the United Kingdom. The reason I choose this book is that I wanted to read about an alternate life than the one I would be living soon. I thought the idea of a man selling all of his earnings to live in rural Spain was hilarious, it captivated me to learn more about his failures and achievements to adapting to a rural setting. Even thought my study abroad experience will not portray this type of lifestyle, I was intrigued by the book’s honesty, humor, and impression upon me. While I may have opportunities to meet and interact with locals, this book will give me more details and information to the Spain`s raw culture beyond the metropolitan lifestyle I am accustomed too. I am excited to study abroad, as the process has been challenging and rewarding!
Slimbach, Richard. Becoming World Wise: A Guide to Global Learning. (Kindle Locations 113-348). Stylus Publishing. Kindle Edition. E-book.
Stewart, Chris. Driving Over Lemons: An Optimist in Spain. New York, Vintage: 2001. Print.