I wasn’t sure what to expect going into an all-day seminar based on Rites of Passage. I was pleasantly surprised and actually found myself very interested in the material. This came largely from the fact that the material was relevant to not only study abroad, but to life. Something that really stuck with me was the discussion on the liminal phase. Before taking this class I had never heard this term before. It was really interesting to learn what it was and how I would be experiencing it while abroad. It’s a time when the student is neither here nor there, living between their new and old life, while trying to figure out who they are. It was discussed how having a mentor who guides, but lets you have the experiences yourself is really important to get through the liminal phase. This resonated with me because it made me think of the class differently. I went in expecting it to be extra work I would have to do while abroad, but I realized how lucky I am to take the class because it will help me get so much more out of my experience. This class, the teachers, and all the material I learn will really be a benefit in ensuring that I have the best experience and learn the most while abroad.
In his introduction, Slimbach talks about a lot of the aspects that were taught in the workshop as part of the liminal phase. “Although the potential for acquiring a truly global education has never been greater, actually achieving it requires more than simply “being there” (Slimbach). In the liminal phase we learned how important it is to step out of one’s comfort zone seek new challenges. Slimbach addresses that deep learning won’t even occur unless comfort zones are crossed. While abroad I had every intention of seeking new “adventurous” challenges but I hadn’t given much thought to challenging myself in ways that would impact me in a more educational standpoint. Thorough the course and the reading, I’m realizing how important it will be for me to do just that.
Slimbach discusses the importance of a “postjourn process because it allows one to integrate the experiences and insights learned abroad back into ongoing education and personal lives” (Slimbach). This is an aspect of the reflective process that was taught in the workshop. Both Slimbach and the workshop talked about how the journey does not stop when you return home, and to get the best out of it you should do some deep thinking after. Being able to do this upon return exemplifies how someone is a global learner and how they can continue as such. It’s going to be very important for me to keep this in mind while abroad and returning home. I tend to focus more on the physical activities and don’t reflect as much as I feel I should.
I chose the book, In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson to use as my travelogue. I actually had taken the book out from the library last week before getting this assignment (I’ve purchased one to take abroad since). A family friend of mine had backpacked throughout Australia and she highly recommended reading this book before I left. She said the book helped her learn about the culture and helped her make a lot of decisions about what to do while traveling. I read the synopsis of the book and it seems like a very interesting read that will help me through my travels in Australia. The thing I like best is that the book claims to take the reader off the beaten tourist path in Australia which is really important to me. I want to see the real Australia, not just the commercialized aspects.
Bryson, Bill. In a Sunburned Country. New York: Broadway, 2000. Print.
Slimbach, Richard. Becoming World Wise: A Guide to Global Learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus Pub., LLC, 2010. Kindle.