Travel Log 13, “Connecting Rites of Passage and Digital Storytelling” by Mike Raimondo, Florence, Italy.

Our working definition of a “Rite of Passage” has since changed from the days in which children would become adults via various rituals throughout different cultures. Ancient boys would become men when they entered the ranks of their respective military. Young girls centuries ago would not be considered women until they had birthed children. In other civilizations, children would go through formal rituals or celebrations to mark the coming of age. The idea of a Quincenera, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs and other cultural celerations were once the formal initiations of adulthood. In our modern society, we see this idea of a “rite of passage” shift into a more informal mark. The authors Blumenkrantz and Goldstein cite the definition as, “A modern day rite of passage is achieved when parents and the community create and participate in experiences which are perceived to be transformative by youth and, in fact, offer them increased status within the community and facilitate their healthy transition through adolescence” (Blumenkrantz, 1996, p. 21). I found this definition to be exemplary of what we see in our culture as Americans. Rather than a formal coming of age moment, we mark the transition into adulthood with the age in which you now can indulge in “adult privileges.” Drinking, driving, voting, and other pleasures of being an adult are key moments in which a child transitions into adulthood.

The authors also define rites of passage as moments of separation, liminality and incorporation. As a study abroad student, I feel as though I better understand this idea. I am in firm belief that studying abroad was no doubt a rite of passage, in accordance with definition provided by the authors. Other then leaving for college, I have not endured much of a separation phase of life, at least not to this extent. The liminal phase of coming to Italy was a tough yet very short transition period that allowed me to grow as an individual, develop independence and ultimately incorporate myself into another culture.

Digital storytelling is a form of expression that will help be dictate my emotion on this journey. The three values I found to be the most compelling from the list of twenty were; play, time alone for reflection, and community values and ethics. I believe these will be primary themes of my digital story because they are key factors that have played roles in my time abroad.  I learned the importance of indulging in the pleasures of Italian culture without incorporating my American habits. In addition, I would like to express my newly acquired understanding for the importance for reflection and values/ethics. These two values from the list are crucial in the incorporation phase of our rite of passage.

I plan to create my digital story similar to Ms. Obierika who also studied in Florence. Her digital slideshow was the most relatable since I am currently studying in the same city. What I would like to do differently is to structure my digital story to outline all three phases of the rite of passage. I want to first go through my mindset separating, then the developments I made as a liminal, and then finish the video by outlining my strengths, weaknesses and improvements I have made abroad. I believe by doing so I will be able to create a digital story that will implement the three most important values to me, and will express the worth of the abroad experience.

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