Welcome to my story! I am a Junior Entry Level Master’s Physician Assistant major at Quinnipiac University. I was born and raised in the humble, cow-town of Ellington, Connecticut.
I chose to study abroad for a variety of reasons, the biggest including my time spent in Hawaii. Two summers ago, I spent three weeks on Oahu, volunteering as a medical assistant in a local office. English was not the preferred language, and I was completely immersed in the Hawaiian/ Filipino culture. It was then that I knew there was a distinct difference between vacationing and in cultural immersion. I believe that this is crucial to the development of an individual in the appreciation and inclusion of cultures throughout a lifetime, and something that will be unique to the abroad experience.
Over the summer, I had the pleasure of working with an intelligent, funny, and courageous young man. He also happened to have cerebral palsy, with the most severe diagnosis possible. This man, Sean, not only opened my eyes and shifted my perspectives on my overall mindset of life, but he also allowed me to seek adventure with him. As Sean’s primary caregiver, we would go kayaking and canoeing, hiking up monuments and catching sunsets, all regardless of his ability. Sean has no control over any of his limbs, is nonverbal, and is completely dependent. Sean is also a go-getter, and does not let his disability stop him. Sean helped me uncover my love for adventure and for seeing the world, and taught me to grasp every opportunity I have to follow that passion. It is because of Sean that I selected a program to study at Gold Coast, Australia, so I can adventure around one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
I believe that the Rites of Passage theory will assist me as I experience both the challenges and the joys of studying abroad. I hope that embodying the concept of death into new life will help me in a holistic approach to the time I spend with my growth in Australia. By utilizing communitas and being knowledgeable to the detrimental effects of tricksters, I think that the transition into the vastly organic and changing environment will come with more ease. These challenges presented, however, are what I seek in order to further my growth. Barbera Myerhoff stated, “Because rites of passage occur at moments of great anxiety, they are dramatic occasions, naturally or socially provided crises, when the person is most teachable.” I am a firm believer that my most prominent growth occurs when I am pushed outside of my comfort zone. This quote exemplifies these points of anxiety and crises that best provide ground for which I can expand my growth upon.