Travelogue 13 “Connecting Rites of Passages and Digital Storytelling”, by Dejanay Richardson. Barcelona, Spain.

At the start of the course, I did not know how much of a growth experience going on a Rites of Passage would be. The Rites of Passage experience is more than just a ceremonial experience it is a living and learning experience. As I have spent the last several months in Barcelona, I have found the entire adventure as a Rites of Passage. As a an only child back at home, I had never had been given the freedom or the chance to have an experience that made me think, reflect, relate to, and ask so many questions. This because in the United States, there aren’t that many ceremonial Rites of Passage that transforms us on a deeper level. Being here in Barcelona gave me a chance to experience the Rites of Passage from the anxious separation phase to the highly anticipated incorporation phase I will have. Although there are three important parts I deeply experienced in Barcelona that are a part of the Rites of Passage.

VI. Rites of passage create expectations for socially acceptable behaviors.

At the beginning of my program, there were certain rules and regulations laid down for the students. Some of the expectations that were held for me and my counterparts was to not make too much noise after ten. After ten, locals want to go to bed and relax. Most of them do stay up a little longer on the weekends, but we had to adhere to this rule. However there were certain unspoken rules I learned about when I became more integrated into the community. One unspoken rule was that eating with a group is more preferred in Spain than alone. There were many times I ate alone out of habit or because my schedule did not align with anyone else`s. Because of this, I have had some stares or concerned looks given towards me because of my loneliness. The Spaniards and Europeans perceived this as very unhealthy and not connecting with the relationships you have built.

XII. Time alone for reflection

I allowed myself time to reflect on certain aspects at home or my personal life. I find that it was more opportune and available to me to reflect here than at home because of this cultural disconnect that we don’t have in the U.S. As David Blumenkrantz and Marc Goldstein suggests is that The Rites of Passages helps us to fill purpose with the specific roles in our lives. Without these roles we are misguided because “The lack of clearly established rites of passage in America is partly due to the ambiguity about when and how one becomes an adult in contemporary society (Arnett, 2000, 2004). The ages at which youth receive certain adult privileges (e.g., right to drive, right to vote, right to drink, etc.) are rather arbitrary and are not related to any actual competencies or maturity on the part of the individuals who gain those privileges” (2).  Young people need a guide from their community to communicate their various transitions that should mark experiential growth and lessons.

VIII. Adversity or personal challenge

My personal challenge while being abroad to come to a sense of exiting the liminal stage. It was not until later in the semester I realized that I was using this experience to learn and find out more about myself. Yet the more I tried to find myself the more I felt trying to be a part of both cultures. In the States I have noticed that we cannot stand silence or too much quiet time, but in actuality it helps to give more clarity to the situation. As Blumenkrantz states ” Creating opportunities for silence  and to spend time alone— the ninth and tenth elements—help a young person develop an internal dialogue for narrating and making sense of what is going on around them. It affords them a place to contemplate and consider the great complexities of the world and how they fit within it” (6). In Spain, many people resonate in silence if they are not with their close ones. Other religions and cultures also treasure silence as a way to meditate on one`s self or issues. Sometimes, all you need is some silence or a moment to pause in order to get through a tough situation.Even as my study abroad journey ends, my life will continue to be a rites of passage. I can do this by starting my own tradition with my kids to show them lessons that will help them grow.

I want to say that Michael Roberts’ in Mongolia was the digital story I most connected too.  On a simply visual level I much preferred the use of videos over the slideshow of pictures.  Michael’s experience showed me that even in a far away distance you can still serve your world in a big way just by traveling abroad. You bring clarity and information back to the home land for your family to learn about. I am excited to do my digital storytelling.





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