When thinking about the workshop we did a few weeks ago, a couple things have resonated with me. I remember particularly the video we watched about the Native American girls. The culture they are in explicitly states the different rites of passages that the girls go through. In our culture, however, it does not seem as explicit. The video made me think about some of the passages I am going though as well as other people. It basically made me become more self-aware about where I currently am in life and what passage I may or may not be going through.
Another topic that we covered in the workshop was the concept of liminality. This theory resonated with me more than the others that we have covered. I think it’s because I find myself currently in liminality. Even though I am twenty-one years old, I don’t find myself much changed from when I was eighteen and in high school. I think this experience abroad combined with my time at university will take me out of liminality and more into reincorporation. Prior to this workshop, I did not know the word for the part of my life I was in, but after that Saturday I came to the realization of where I am. It’s pretty cool. I think coming back from abroad will further my development of liminality, but it isn’t going to be until after college will I fully enter the reincorporation stage, and become a new person.
After reading the introduction to Becoming World Wise, I have identified two workshop concepts that pertain to the rites of passage. One being the rites of separation. It is very important to separate when going abroad. It can also pose to be rather challenging. The introduction talks about the westernization of the world. How even in remote Vietnam there is a flat screen television playing MTV and pop music. The last thing the author expected was that there would be something like that modern and unfit in a place like that. He goes on to say that American companies like McDonalds and Nike are everywhere, making it hard to escape that western life we are all used to. There is upside however. Rather than completely westernizing cultures, the companies are coexisting with the original cultures. He states that “the entertainment, food, and fashion industries are becoming more standardize, but without dissolving inherited tastes and traditions. The new combines with and coexists alongside the old.” I found this interesting. It makes it a little easier to separate because there is still a small sense of familiarity. It’s a thin line, though. Pico Iyer uses the words, “half strange and half strangely familiar.” Very fitting.
I read one paragraph that got me thinking about the reflective process. The beginning of it went like, “pressure to satisfy student demand can easily lead to hastily constructed programs that lack focus and clear definition.” The author goes on to say that “cocooning” occurs, and we fear stepping out of our comfort zones. I am curious to see once this is all over if I went out of my comfort zone. I wonder how the program I am enrolled in does in letting us feel comfortable in our setting while at the same time encouraging us to engulf in the foreign culture. I feel like it is a very hard thing to get right. If this program doesn’t get it right, I feel like I am the type of person to cocoon like the author mentions.
I found it a bit challenging to choose a travelogue. There was a large amount to choose from and I was not sure what I wanted to get from reading one. At first I thought about choosing a book that a had a lot to do with Spain because that is where I will be spending the majority of my time. I decided I would not find it interesting. Why would I want to read a book about where I already am? I would rather read a book written by someone who I could compare my travels too. From the reviews, The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot, by Robert Macfarlane seems like a book I would be interested in. Rather than solely focusing on the different cultures of the countries he goes to, he also goes in to the nature of each. Something I found rather unique.
Slimbach, Richard. Becoming World Wise: A Guide to Global Learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus Pub., LLC, 2010. Print.