Community based rituals are simply absent from the American culture, and this creates large problems in the development of our young adults. In my experience growth can be stunted or go unrecognized because of the lack of a ritual signifying a life transition. While this ritual can manifest in multiple ways it there is no real equivalent besides graduating either high school or college. That ceremony is supposed to be a cookie cutter ritual representative of your journey and growth through your education. The issue with it is it is to universal and does not necessarily teach a lesson. To contrast the American way the thing that comes to mind for me is the Australian culture for young adults. It is extremely common for university student aged kids to have lived on their own for a few years during school. Usually they will pay for themselves, buy an apartment, pay for their own food, have a job. Doing this teaches them responsibility, and allows them to learn to fend for themselves. Yet furthermore after they have reached the peak, graduation, they will continue their learning by doing what is called a walk-about; which is basically a culturally accepted and encouraged exploration of the world. This is meant to further your worldly understanding and is a community ritual that signifies a life transition.
From my perspective the American equivalent of this should be a study abroad semester. I believe that everyone should be required to take a semester abroad; it should be a part of the American education system. I think it is an incredible experience, while it can be extremely difficult that is what makes it amazing. You learn so much about the outside world and begin to understand other peoples. In this way you can begin to better understand yourself and gain an inner confidence knowing that you know the things that you like and can feel empowered to accomplish your goals.
This being said creating a digital story is a good ritual to allow for the full reflection upon your personal journey during your abroad experience. It can be representative of a life change, and allows you to realize where you were to where you are now which can be an extremely powerful tool for understanding. I will use my digital story to sit and reflect on my personal journey and growth, as well as looking to the future. When I get back to the USA I will be beginning my internship and starting my career. The following school year will be entirely dedicated to planning out the next few years of my life, as I have no real plans up until this point. I want to use my experience abroad in Budapest, Hungary as a stepping stone to launch my next area of growth and experience. I realize that I would really enjoy living and working in a different portion of the world and would love to spend and extended amount of time in another place. My goal will be to land a job in a different country on a different continent that I have never been to before. I believe this will give me an opportunity to learn and grow more so than any other job that I could obtain back in the United States.
I do not think there are really any digital stories that would speak to me more than another simply because the only thing that I will connect to is the fact that each person that comes abroad feels as though they have grown and enjoyed their experience here. Yet each person has an entirely unique form of growth that was beneficial for them, for this reason I will not feel personally connected to anyone in particular’s story. I do believe that the best way to represent the experience is through discussing how you have changed and what was important to you. A monologue of your experience is good but it is more important to talk about the personal growth and understanding you had. For this reason I am going to write as honestly as I can and describe all of the highs and the lows and what it means to travel abroad.