A true rites of passage has become more difficult to achieve in America due to our societies lack of community-based rituals in regards to life transitions. Being an abroad student for almost three months now, I have viewed my experience in a way I never thought I would. I allowed myself to separate from home, to then transition by detaching myself from technology, but I still need this process affirmed by family when I return home that I have gone through this and that I have changed. Then, I can finally be incorporated into the global community. In the article, Blumenkrantz and Goldstein said, “In the absence of meaningful community-based rituals, youth will define and create their own marker events based on peer or media values, many of which may be destructive both individually and communally.” They are arguing that if the structure of the rites of passage is not properly followed, then the life transition cannot be completed. In regards to study abroad, the lack of community-based rituals does present a problem for the healthy development of the Global Community. This course has given me the proper structure for my family and I to follow to ensure I successfully have my rites of passage. Others who do not take this course lack the experience and viewpoints that I have and in the end will not receive a community-based ritual for this huge life transition abroad.
After considering the purpose of a digital story, I have concluded that it’s meant to serve as a way to tell my personal growth from before leaving home till when I return through my experiences and the people I met. Its purpose is to show my family and friends in a meaningful way what I actually went through and thought while being abroad, not just the fun and exciting things I did, but also how they changed me.
Many of the elements of rites of passage that are mentioned in the text can be enhanced by the development of a digital story. Three in particular are “adversity or personal challenge”, “time alone for reflection”, and “play”.
The first element pertaining to adversity or personal challenge can efficiently be shown in a digital story because it can be told through an experience the storyteller had. So for me personally, I could use this to share how I was faced with a challenge, how I overcame it, and then how I grew and learned from that experience. Being abroad is not a walk in the park. Being as unlucky as I am, I have had my fair share of misfortunes. Each time, I just have to learn from it, grow and move on.
The second element, “time alone for reflection”, is essential in a digital story. This is when I can personally reflect on how I am feeling during each step or situation of my study abroad experience. By using this element in the digital story, it allows me to become in tune with my new found beliefs and values that I gained or have changed while being abroad. When I return home, some people may think I seem different. It does not mean I am different in a bad way, it just means I have a new outlook on certain aspects of life due to things I have been exposed to. Reflecting has allowed me to become more aware of these thoughts.
The third element, “play”, is one that I find extremely important. I believe the whole point of studying abroad is to experience things that make you the happiest you have ever been. After three months of being in Australia, I can confidently say I have experienced the best days of my life here. Never have I had such thrill, excitement and pure happiness anywhere else compared to how I have in Australia. I would not be the person I am in this moment if I did not experience the things I have during my time abroad. My digital story project will definitely allow me to enhance this element of rites of passage.
I enjoyed Rachel’s digital story about her time in Paris. I thought she was very clear in explaining her transformation by relating back to the blossoming trees. I as well have quite a similar experience with my time abroad in Australia. As I check off each item on my bucket list, I grow a little bit more and become the person who I am now. Rachel did an excellent job and it was very clever.
Blumenkrantz, D. G., Goldstein, M. B. (2010). Rites of Passage as Framework for
Community Interventions with Youth. Global Journal for Community Psychology Practice. 1 (2), 41-50.