One’s community signifies meaning to a Rites of Passage experience. Upon reincorporation one needs affirmation from the community; if this does not occur one will go back to their old self and the lessons learned and changes made will be lost. After being away for several months the reincorporation phase has had some challenges. I would consider myself again a liminal being, neither here nor there. I am no longer in Australia; however, I do not yet feel like myself at home either. I enjoyed many of the changes prevalent within Australia and being back has made me even more appreciative of them. I find myself daydreaming of the day I will be back in the country I grew to love. As Slimbach said, “One day we imagine spending the rest of our lives in our new home away from home.” (2010, pg. 204)
Sadly, that day is far into the future for me if at all. After sharing my reincorporation letter with my friends and family I felt much more at home. I was able to share with them my experiences and what they meant to me. It made me feel much closer to them, being able to share the best four months of my life with them. It also helped me to leave Australia behind. I loved every second of it but it is time to move on… for now. To help explain the concept of reincorporation I cited the quote by Lyndon B. Johnson that states, “International education cannot be the work of one country. It is the responsibility and promise of all nations. It calls for free exchange and full collaboration…The knowledge of our citizens is one treasure which grows when it is shared.” I think this quote helps explain why sharing my experiences with them is so important and is a vital part of the Rite of Passage experience. It also helps explain the benefits of a healthy reincorporation; this will allow me to grow and bring the lessons learned abroad into my life at home. My home community was ecstatic and celebrated the growth I had made abroad, which has meant the world to me. It has allowed me to look forward to the future instead of dwelling on wanting to relive my amazing experience.
In order to not loose what I gained from my experience, I am going to use the advice of Slimbach to reduce my consumption of junk food to improve my health as well as reduce my impact on my planet. Traveling across the across the globe uses tons of jet fuel, therefore, this can be one of the ways I make up for this. I will also implement other changes such as only using reusable water bottles and reusable grocery bags to name a few. I will also “discover the joy of less”. I noticed Australians as not as obsessed with material wealth, they do not always need the newest phone or tons of clothes. I enjoy shopping; however, one should only shop for what they truly need. I will live by the motto less is more.
The lessons I’ve learned through out my experience will require me to break many of the habits I have formed. I tend to be a much more quiet person; however, I enjoyed that Australians were always friendly and were always willing to help others. I would like to adopt the Australian way of life even though I know it will be quite difficult for me. However, as Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” I traveled to some of the most beautiful places on this planet but if I do not carry the lessons learned on such journeys with me then the true meaning of my time abroad will be lost. Thankfully, with the help of Slimbach, I have found several ways to achieve this.
Slimbach, Richard. Becoming World Wise: A Guide to Global Learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus Pub., LLC, 2010. Print.