Janine Jay – London, England

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I remember watching my brothers go through college starting when I was in middle school. I went on the college tours, the parents’ weekends, and sat through every info session. I would always hear the schools mention the incredible opportunity of studying in another country. While they opted to not go on this adventure, I was ready and waiting. London called to me as my foreign twin; even though my family doesn’t know our English ancestors due to lost history, we know that we are in part English. There is a whole side to my identity waiting there that we haven’t been able to explore yet.

Having the opportunity to explore Rites of Passage Theory before I leave is a great advantage. It gives structure to an otherwise open-ended and chaotic journey. In points of confusion I can look back on it to see where my predicted “next steps” will lead me. I know that one of the hardest parts of this journey will be the separation of myself from my home. However, through the influence of Rite of Passage Theory, I can see that I will not be abandoning my identity through this process but rather growing from it. “In order to make fair and illuminating comparisons between cultures, we must temporarily suspend our largely inherited values and beliefs without flaunting or renouncing them… we must be able to think new and old thoughts, to experience new and old emotions… at a minimum, that we will have learned to adjust our own behavior so it doesn’t unsettle, confuse, or offend others.”(Simbach pg. 164) This will be the most important step in my time abroad to mediate in the transition between my life at home and my new life in London.

Knowing that I will be leaving with the knowledge of different cultures will allow me to make meaningful comparisons between the best of two worlds. I know that this whirlwind of a trip is going to force me to experience a lot of life in a short amount of time, but I know that I will be coming away from it a better person than I am today.

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