In the spirit of full disclosure, I did not intend on taking this class. I decided to take this class because I realized that I would be three credits behind, so I registered a week after the deadline. I was not very happy that I had to spend a Saturday in a classroom from 9am-6pm and was nervous about being the only sophomore in this class as well as being the only person who had not completed QU 101 or QU 201. However, I am so glad I have the opportunity to take this course. To my surprise, I actually enjoyed the workshop and learning about Rites of Passage. I feel as though the workshop has giving me many advantages to allow me to make the most of my abroad experience, compared to those who are not taking this course.
When I first started the study abroad process, I did not think about what I would be missing while away from Quinnipiac. As time went on and as my friends started to become family, I began to worry about what I would do without them. Although many of my friends are going abroad like me, they are going abroad together – I am the only one going without a close friend by my side. As my departure date nears I am starting to take more notice of the surprised look on people’s faces when I say I am going abroad without any friends. Besides the fact that I am preparing to leave my friends behind, I will also be leaving my family behind. Growing up as a twin, we have never spent more than a week apart up until college. Even now we are only thirty minutes apart, not a whole ocean away. Sometimes I worry that I will miss out or lose connections with people while I am in Italy, but learning about the rite of separation put my mind at ease. Although I still worry about it, it has become less of a burden because I now know it is all apart of the process. Many other study abroad students are experiencing the same worries and fears as they begin their own Rites of Passage.
While reading Becoming World Wise: A Guide to Global Learning, by Richard Slimbach, I was able to identify countless concepts that I could relate back to our conversation of Rites of Passage, and specifically rites of separation. “In a world that is smaller and yet more complex than ever before, our educational challenge is to understand and to value both our differences and our commonalities, our separateness and our togetherness” (Slimbach 6). This made me think of rites of separation. In order to be able to leave my old status, enter the liminal status, and eventually my new status, I must acknowledge the similarities and difference between the two cultures of Lancaster, MA and Florence, Italy. I also need to not be afraid to abandon what is familiar to me and be willing to experience something new. I expect this new culture in Florence to be vastly different from that I am used to. From living in a small farm town in Central Massachusetts with little diversity to living in a city in a different country with much greater diversity, the possibilities are endless.
Another part of the Introduction that stood out to me was the Pathways to Global Learning section. “The world becomes a living classroom – a place to watch and wonder, to enter into the experiences and perspectives of others, to communicate across differences, and to use knowledge on behalf of the common good” (Slimbach 5)This made me think about the cognitive triangle we learned in classes during the Reflective Process portion. Slimbach often mentions how global learning is more than just being present. By reflecting on one’s thoughts, feelings, and/or behaviors, more meaning can be made from the experience. I intend to do just that through not only this course, but also keeping my own personal journal. Through writing, I hope to enhance my experiences and make sense of them.
The book I have chosen to read for my travelogue is “Under the Tuscan Sun”, by Frances Mayes. I picked this book because it has many similarities to my future study abroad experience. Although I am not moving to Tuscany and buying a villa, I still will be living in Italy for four months. Therefore, the way Mayes adjusted to Italian lifestyle and how she was able to handle her separation from those back in the U.S. intrigues me. Also, I love to cook and travel, and Mayes is both a gourmet cook and a travel writer. This made me even more interested to read her book!
Mayes, Frances. Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy. New York: Broadway, 1997. Print.
Slimbach, Richard. Becoming World Wise: A Guide to Global Learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus Pub., LLC, 2010. Print.