TL 15:″There’s No Place Like Home? Rites of Reincorporation” by Mazel Genfi Accra, Ghana

Reincorporation in the Rites of Passage theory involves how one re-establishes themselves back into their home community after their whole study abroad experience.  Every student has a different experience re-incorporating back into their home community.  Students may notice their personal growth abroad and some students may not notice it at all. In my experience, I have not really fully adjusted with my re-incorporation back to home because I am not really home. I am in Ghana with my dad that I haven’t seen in a few years, so I am going through the rites of passage without really finishing it the first time in London. I’m not really home, so I can not really incorporate myself into my home community. My friends are constantly asking me when I’m coming back and I will be able to see them for another six weeks. Being with my dad has been amazing and he’s always asking what I did abroad. It’s not the same though, I have been waiting to tell all my friends the crazy experiences I’ve had. I can’t tell my dad when I got my nose pierced and the piercing fell out the next day in my sleep. The only good thing is that I have more stories to tell about my experiences in Ghana in addition to my experiences abroad. It does bring me joy when I show my family members the pictures of the places that I’ve been to. Their faces light because they have never seen monuments like  the Colosseum or Big Ben and for them to know someone who has been there makes them proud.

 

Talking to my friends about what has happened at home has been bittersweet. I’m sad that I have not been with my friends and family and missed all these events that they have told me about. In the end, I am glad that I’m not home. There’s certain situations that have taken place that I know that If I was there, I would have not approach the situation with the growth that I have obtained now. Slimbach states, “ Having struggled to overcome so many “dragons”, both within and without, you now look at yourself and your natal culture differently” (205) Even though I have yet to see them, They can sense the change in me by the way I talk and my reactions to certain things that they tell me. In Ghana, it’s weird that I fully adjusted to the area even though I am going through the Rites of Passage process again.

 

I decided to share my reincorporation letter with my dad. My dad always related my experience to his experience to when he first came to the states. In my letter, I talk about the experiences that I have had. The good and the bad. I told him why I haven’t really been excited to go out since I’ve been in Ghana because I feel like I have traveled so much that I am tired. I want to just sit, relax,and take in everything that I have been through.  He became understanding after a while and stopped bothering me for a while about going out.

 

Before I left, I was pretty optimistic  I finished last spring semester earning a spot on the Dean’s List and had an amazing semester being an Orientation Leader. Even though I started the semester with a good outlook,  I still found myself at a crossroads because junior year is the year where you figure out what you want to do in life. I currently still do not know what I want to do in life. I am still figuring out myself. However, since coming back from London, I have a better sense of myself and the path I want to be on. I know what traits I have to let go, tone down,fix, and or strengthen. One habit/trait  that I think that has changed since my experience and I would like to continue change is my confidence. Before leaving, I was never really confident in myself or my decisions. And, that is always because I always chose to be the “wallflower”. My overall experience has changed that about me. I am more outgoing now, and I try my best to stand out more. I make it my goal that every day speak up and talk to others more. I think it will help in the long run.

 

The quote I choose to end this journey off is with “Life is a roller coaster, scream or enjoy the ride”. London has been amazing, but it had its ups and downs. I have cried and laughed there. I’ve made friends and met people I consider family now. I have completed and lived a dream/goal that I’ve had for so long and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

 

TL 11: Half the Sky by Mazel Genfi, London, England

Half The Sky was an eye opener and explaining it to others started a conversation that I’ve never had a lot. The documentary showed a lot of things to the treatment of women. It showed stuff people are still struggling to accept: that women are oppressed.  The documentary showed that women potential is usually taken away before they even reached their prime.  Most of the oppression, comes from the centuries old thought that women are inferior to men. Young women going to school is a rarity and families rather them learn to domestic work or even sex work to bring remittances back home. Other communities even still practice female genital mutilation, a practice that has dire consequences to those who participate in it.It was stated in the documentary that females are being treated as second-class citizens. Females are seen with no value and forced to reap the consequences from it.

The information that was provided made me thing even broader about my privileges.  It is powerful to hear the facts of how women are oppressed around the world because it sheds light on how half of the population is treated. Women In some cases, they are risking their lives to give young girls and women a chance to have a future when the odds are against them. This documentary raises awareness of the injustices that occur in the world and as sad as it is, it is necessary and fundamental to see this and understand the concepts that are being discussed. This raises awareness to the fact that the greatest challenge in empowering women is breaking the stereotypes that have been established, women have perpetuated most of which.

The story that touched me the most and made me think critically was the story about the Indian Brothel.It talked about how the caste system still plays a big role in Indian society especially in the world of prostitution. Even though despair was a theme in it, there was a sense of hope involved. Susimita life was already determined because of her mother’s profession, but her mother was trying to change that so she can receive an education.With the proper support, She was able to change that and stop herself into getting into a lifestyle that wasn’t the best for her.  Even though there aren’t a lot of girls who are fortunate like Susimita, her situations creates a precedent for them as a result of this opportunity. Throughout the movie, we see the progress and growth in Sushmita’s education. And. as we see that progress, we see the hope and optimism beginning to glow on her face.

This documentary really made me think about what I have as a person. As much as we Americans fight for the equality of women in our nation, other women do not have that privilege at all. I am blessed to have an education and have the opportunity to break gender norms and barriers. Not all girls are in that situation. It hurts my heart to know that as much as we think that the world is developing, it really isn’t. Realizing this makes me want to do something about it or try to help the cause of education of women.

Travel Log 14: “Global Connections and Rites of Separation ” By JonCarlo DeFeudis. Seville, Spain.

In Chapter 2 of Becoming World Wise: A Guide to Global Learning Richard Slimbach profoundly states, “If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also into this world within.” (p. 54) In my case the “world within” which Slimbach highlights, was a sense of belonging which went beyond being an American citizen. This being my last week before my departure for America, I found myself pondering my polarizing sojourn and story while abroad… These internal questions go hand in hand with what Slimbach calls “The Story We Need”, an idea which Slimbach holds that students time abroad should embody a loom, weaving together ideas and realizations beyond regular circumstances, eventually creating a unique fabric of moral, intellectual, and spiritual values.

As for my own loom, it has been steadfast in weaving away ever since I wrote my first Travelogue in May. Since I arrived in Spain I have never stopped wondering how my actions might influence my new world and how I might make leaps in my understanding of the world beyond my fingertips. What ultimately came out of my sojourn for such answers was a glimpse into that world within; insight which has been a precious to me. I have come to see that my purpose for making this journey has been not just to travel for wanderlust but to get acquainted with cultures before I could only cite facts about. My semester abroad brought me up close and personal with the ideas and people that had been a world away until now. I learned that what comes with spending time in a world, like an alien, is the wonderful ability to explore and learn new things with vigor; there are infinite locals, destinations, spontaneous occurrences, traditions, and conclusions to find out there. Now, because I have been abroad, as my rite of passage ends, I feel awoken to the idea of learning of strange customs in this beautiful light; no longer am I scared of strange customs, but rather intrigued and excited. And this idea I have come to learn not only applies to being abroad, but also back home too. There is so much we leave untouched in our day to day lives in America, there is much to seek and uncover on our own soil.

Slimbach pushes the student even further as he stresses, “If we view the world as signifying nothing and going nowhere, a place where we simply exert ourselves to secure personal advantage, study abroad will only serve to decorate our resume or satisfy our wanderlust. But if we define our purpose in the world as promoting what is good and just, those same sojourns will be oriented towards comprehending the world in order to remake it. Mere knowledge about the world is not sufficient as its own end; it is always situated in particular values and oriented towards ends beyond itself. This is why our overarching objective cannot merely be to become more ‘globally competent’ as important (and difficult) as that might be. The question is, Globally competent for what purpose?” (Slimbach, 42).

That question, “For what purpose” is not an easy question to answer. All I can say is that, personally, I found purpose in that my transformation from the beginning to the passage, until now has been more than I ever expected, I have found purpose that in each lesson I learn abroad brings me closer to having more connections and understandings to the world. The world is more than just myself and America.

As my departure draws near, I realize there is the process of separation once again, where I prepare for my rejoining my original culture. When I think about all the things I’ve done in my time I am proud to have made local friends, in Rosa and Julio. They are two incredible inspiring friends I’ve made. This past week I’ve made my goodbyes with Sevilla and my neighborhood in Los Remedios by wandering in the streets everyday. It’s a good way to remember this beautiful city, walking around on the sidewalks always offers glimpses into the simple life of the people of Sevilla. The city’s vibrant people and vibe is something I won’t ever forget. As Christmas is coming up I bought a few vintage American forest fire items for Julio, as he looks forward to becoming a Forest Firefighter in the future. As for Mrs. Rosa, I’ve gotten her traditional Christmas flowers. This ending is bittersweet as they come, but I’ve been prepared for this, I know I can’t stay forever and a part of me eagerly awaits returning to my loved ones back home. That does not mean I won’t be leaving loved ones behind in Sevilla… A comforting thought for myself is that I will return to this city eventually, I have made that promise to myself. Even more comforting is that all the life changing ideas and insights I have made abroad, I get to bring back with me.

 

Slimbach, R. (2010). Becoming World Wise: A Guide to Global Learning.

Travelogue 15: “There`s no place like Home? Rites of Reincorporation” by Dejanay Richardson. Bronx, New York

When I landed at the John F Kennedy Airport in New York City, I knew my trip had come to an end and that I would have to reincorporate myself back into the regular routine. However, the fact of the matter was that I did not know what that would mean now. A few weeks before I would set flight, I thought about what it would mean to go back home. As I tried to incorporate myself into my home country`s lifestyle, I found a big reverse culture shock happening. During the last school sessions, one of my classes described what we may feel and experience a part of our reverse culture shock. During the study abroad time, I had been constantly readjusting and trying to assimilate to a different culture. However, reverse culture shock is a lot like readjusting and assimilating to my regular life back at home. My reverse culture shock in its first phase included the obvious, shock of being back in America and how my trip was officially over. I was happy to be back home, but I had felt like a part of me belonged somewhere else. This phase included my struggle to stop confusing Celsius for  Fahrenheit, Kilometers instead of Miles, and pulling out euro coins for change.

This was the exterior of my reincorporation phase, which in turn led me to question what the bigger value of reincorporation was really about. In my mind, it was about both the positives and negatives about returning home that was going to get me through this process. This was my chance to tell something to my friends and family all that I have experienced and learned. On the other hand, this had a big effect on me because it would guide me through the break and think about how to adapt better.  As Slimbach states in the Chapter 8 “The Journey Home” I experienced ” The feeling of simultaneously being “in two minds” often highlights an underappreciated truth: that “home” isn’t just a physical space we inhabit but a lifestyle we construct. It’s a cherished set of values, relationships, places, and rituals that we learn to assemble wherever we are. “No one goes home,” explains Craig Storti (1990). I wanted to keep certain traditions without breaking others, which includes coming together for big lunches and dinners and spending more quality time with my friends. My biggest learning lesson from this was how I can contribute the daily routine from traveling and while studying abroad back in the US. Keeping up with my Spanish would be one way to keep some of the traditions, cooking some of the tapas would be another way. Overall, it is my new found perspective on studying abroad that has convinced me that there are other ways to think about life and how our Rites of Passage can be a way to connect to our culture as well as others.

One of the things I find difficult in my Reincorporation phase is the boredom and sadness I have been battling. Since being home, the intensity of hearing new languages meeting people and traveling have temporarily come to a halt. Although I may not have another opportunity to study abroad, I know I will travel again some day -even though it may not be the same. I have tried to fight this new found boredom by watching more travel channels and shows. Some people might dispell this activity as a big negative because it only shows the “tourist” beauty of the country or islands. Yet some shows travel off the beaten path to find those stories and anecdotes that are told less to show that traveling can be an emotionally enriching activity as you get close to the people that you know.

When I came back to the U.S. my mother saw a slight difference in me. After I had read my letter about my reincorporation she was really proud that I could take the opportunity to travel. A lot of people in my family have never been outside of the United States, but she marveled for the fact I found a new sought independence in traveling. She saw that I could speak more Spanish, even though I oppose that statement, and that I am more relaxed about life. I know that I can bring all of my stories to school, and the ever complex question “So how was Barcelona?” will pop up. However I could tell many stories about how it was, but I want to tell everyone what it meant to me and how it actually made me more of a global citizen. I find myself more interested in global affairs as well as minority affairs overseas, for a long time these two topics have been important to me but my passion for them have become stronger. Hopefully, my college will have more opportunities for me to be involved with this, but I know I can be a responsible citizen by spreading this to my family and friends.

Slimbach, Richard (2012-03-12). Becoming World Wise: A Guide to Global Learning (Kindle Locations 3797-3799). Stylus Publishing. Kindle Edition.

 

 

 

 

Travel Log 15 “There’s No Place Like Home? Rites of Reincorporation.” By JonCarlo DeFeudis. Holliston, Massachusetts.

My return back to the states was a grueling 18 hour trek consisting of a two large suitcases, a handful of crumpled plane tickets, a red-eye bus ride, and 3 airports, and 2 flights. I guess that’s why they say you have to go through fire and hell before the skies clear. I wanted to be done and get home more than ever that day, (December 21st, a day I won’t soon forget). Although that evening before I left, all my bags packed and my heart set on a different continent, I drew myself back to the place I had come to call home one last time. It was a surreal sendoff; Christmas music serenaded our last dinner together at the residencia and Rosa was as bittersweet as we all were too. Many of closest friends had already departed and the rest were due to leave the next day. I however, was left in no man’s land leaving at 12AM for a bus to Madrid to catch a flight. It was quite fitting to leave that way, by myself … betwixt and between as I arrived. And before I left I hit the bar one last time and along with friends we picked a few lines from my journal and reminisced of our semester. At that time, I truly felt all the connections I had come so far to make were painfully being severed. Although deep down I knew I wouldn’t ever forget those friends and experiences I had been through. The exhausting journey home abruptly brought the roller coaster to a halt. I stepped forward of the plane in Boston at 4:45pm on Wednesday, I was finally back. My Rite of Passage had just one more step; Reincorporation.

There were many open arms and welcomes waiting for me. As Slimbach warns this can be deceiving because as you attempt to explain all the crazy changes you’ve undergone, a funny thing happens. You realize it’s nearly impossible to put all the experiences of your journey with words. Slimbach speaks volumes on the process of returning back to reality in this passage,

“Returning home is supposed to signal a welcomed end to the force of life ‘in the field’. Home is where familiarity dominates, whether it’s the people, the language, the foods, or the routines of everyday life. It’s where we don’t have to think before we act, where we don’t have to struggle to ‘adjust’. That’s the theory, anyway. And the theory plays lout quite well for many (maybe most) sojourners” (Slimbach, 203).

Nobody can quite connect to you like your communitas and they are away back in their own communities too. I felt this bizarre feeling plague me; I had so much to tell my family and friends, but found it mind-numbing to explain what I had gone through in a profound way. As the days have passed I am only now able to form so well ordered thoughts about what happened.

A part of the reincorporation rite alludes to being acknowledged by peers on one’s return home. That is easy enough, everybody wants to know how it went and discussions with your reacquainted friends and family work to show off what you’ve done and accomplished. Furthermore, giving my Reincorporation Letter to my Mom was a good start to me getting used to back to being home. Although there are so many things to consider again. Jobs, money, friends you haven’t seen in awhile, TV shows you missed, next school semester… But what’s more paramount to the process of Reincorporation I realized was taking that big step to rejoin with your previous American identity. You know… the one you basically abandoned upon entering the foreign culture months ago. Yeah, that one.  Slimbach again mentions that this step of rejoining your home culture can sometimes be more difficult than leaving,

“Coming home can actually take as much getting used to as going abroad ever did, and maybe more. Whereas we anticipate having to adapt ourselves to differences abroad, we don’t expect the same as we set foot back on native soil” (Slimbach, 204).

There are so many things that are different in the culture you learned about and now that you’re back you are questioning the differences, maybe even finding day to day life boring. Well something that stood out to me upon reading the rites of reincorporation chapter was the urge to not ‘close the chapter’ but instead use it as a platform for transformative possibilities. Slimbach relates this to Joseph Campbell’s protagonist in his 1968 novel, The Hero With a Thousand Faces, “[To] Come back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man” (Slimbach 203). My personal process of merging back with my American identity went relatively unperturbed, somehow. I still have an urge to go sit at the café and watch the people pass by for a couple hours, but that is replaced by the rediscovered ability to cook my own breakfast and watch my long-missed morning basketball highlights once again. Replacing my abroad habits with my old habits is doing a fair job of helping me forget about missing Sevilla. Nevertheless, I am not just forgoing all my cherished memories. I am beginning to put them to good work. Getting back to work since I returned, at CVS I’ve adapted my style slow down what I’m doing instead of working at a lightning pace; it’s something I observed in Spain. Now I’m not sure how much my boss likes this, but at least I feel less stress on myself!

I guess all said and done I’m aiming (note that I am still in the process of reincorporation, it’s only been 8 days since my return), for that elusive ‘integrative returnee’ style Slimbach refers to as a form of a reincorporating sojourner. It’s a style Slimbach describes as,

“[Having the] greatest potential for personal change […] [and] When asked the inevitable question, ‘How was your trip?’ their reply moves the conversation beyond a mere travelogue of what they saw and heard and felt. They also speak of new world understandings and self-discoveries- and how both are being synthesized into a revised identity and lifestyle” (Slimbach, 211).

So far, I can see all the gears turning inside my self as the two, new and old identities join together, but still, putting all that into words is something mighty tough. Either way I’m constantly questioning myself and how I could be approaching things as I learn to live at ‘home’ again. In my final analysis, I can say my final step is something I could pondering for long after my return. At the least for now I can say my journey as a sojourner in the culture of Spain sparked something in me that has caused me to have a whole new approach to life. I can’t quite explain this but I know I understand how life is lived over there and somehow, I am trying to apply that to living back in the states. Perhaps I have more journeys ahead of me before I come to see everything in completion… but for now I am content with being back home amongst my friends and family, enjoying the familiarity and old habits I love so much. All along underneath I can still feel my subconscious thinking in a Spanish logarithm it created months ago.

 

Slimbach, Richard. Becoming World Wise: A Guide to Global Learning (Stylus Publishing, LLC., 2010).

Travel Log 15: “There’s No Place Like Home? Rites of Reincorporation” by Katheryn DeMarey. Hampden, MA

The word ‘home’ once seemed like a safe haven, the spot where we grew up and our parents now reside…but the closer my return flight came, the more daunting the word ‘home’ seemed. Home is a funny term because we all created new ‘homes’ in all of our foreign study abroad countries. Do people have more than one home? Is home where you were born, where you grew up or where you feel the most comfortable? I don’t think ‘home’ is very applicable to where I am in life. The term home for me is technically Hampden, Massachusetts… but when I look further… my heart tells me that home is Firenze, Italy.

Taking a full step back, the saying ‘home is where your heart is’ is scarily accurate. When I was younger, home was with my parents. When I had begun college, home was at Quinnipiac. When I began studying abroad, home was in Firenze. I find that each part of these different ‘homes’ offer me loads of new opportunity. At Quinnipiac subconsciously I would find myself referring to my dorm room as ‘home’ when we all can agree that dorm rooms don’t offer the same things our first homes do. Studying abroad was different…maybe because Florence DID offer me the same things that my first home provided me with. I was able to grow and explore, I had two great friends living in the same house as me, and I was able to still communicate with family to stay a little bit up to date. Right now, my heart is in Firenze but in a few years my heart will be with a new apartment in a different city or maybe even back to the country side. The feeling of happiness is ‘home’… so for right now, Florence is where I belong.

The concept of reincorporation seemed a little odd to me when I was first departed for my trip. I figured that going abroad and coming home would both have smooth transitions. I thought I would be able to appreciate the opportunities I was given but then quickly continue to move forward in my life, but I now understand why this last phase can be challenging. I realized that I found flaws in American society, flaws in my family and friends because it seemed as though they were both very narrow minded. I found myself less contempt with the life I was returning to when I thought I would be much more appreciative. For these reasons, reincorporation is a much more crucial part of returning to life here in the states than I once thought it would be.

After writing and presenting my reincorporation letter to my dad, I found that it was a perfect way to get myself back on track. The reincorporation letter brought my mindset back to America and helped me realize that there are a lot of things to appreciate here in the states. The quote I chose to include in my letter was “It’s better to look back on life and say: ‘I can’t believe I did that’ than to look back and say ‘I wish I did that’”. I decided to include this specific quote because it’s a simple life motto that I tend to make decisions by. When I decided to study abroad I wanted a change of pace, an eye opener and experience I would never forget. After talking to a few dozen people who regretted not studying abroad in college, I knew I had to make the jump. Studying abroad was a great adventure, one that I know I’ll be able to look back on and say “I can’t believe I did that”.

Travel Log 15: “There’s No Place Like Home? Rites of Reincorporation” by Casey Keohan. Duxbury, MA

I have never been so disappointed to leave somewhere before. Australia has truly become a second home to me, and watching my apartment disappear out of the window of the bus was one of the most difficult goodbyes I have ever experienced. I have now been “home” for five days, and am still a little disoriented by all the changes: $1 bills, driving on the right, and the most difficult one of all—winter temperatures. The separation from my new home is certainly more extreme than the separation I experienced when I first embarked on this journey, partially because of the seasons and partially because I know I will probably never find myself back in Gold Coast with all the same people ever again. So while it may be a “see you later” to the place and the people, the experiences I have had these past four months will never be replicated.

Writing my reincorporation letter was easier than I thought, as I had discussed what this transition was going to be like with a few of my friends from Australia. However, conveying the messages I needed to was not so simple. I am planning to share this letter with my roommates, but want to wait until I can share it in person. I have shared the contents with my family as well, who understand that this experience has provided me with more life lessons than any classroom. I shared in my letter that I have become what is referred to as a “marginal”. Slimbach describes these people as questioners, often asking “why” to things generally accepted. I shared the following quote in my letter in an effort to convey what differences they may be noticing as I transition home: “Despite the perils and conflicts, being suspended between two cultures confers the rare ability to reframe our own sense of “home” by understanding the ways others imagine it. The long, slow, and hard work of acquiring cross-cultural understanding ultimately finds its payoff in our ability to think and live from a hybrid consciousness, and then to use this special aptitude to make a positive difference in the world” (Slimbach 227). My family did their best to understand my message, but there is so much about this experience that I have been unable to put into words. Something just feels different—like the place I have called home for twenty years is no longer my one and only home. So far, this personal growth has not been recognized by anyone in my home community. I understand that this recognition is important to a successful right of passage, so as time passes I will seek to express this change more openly to my friends and family. I hope that they will still be supportive of this change, and that I will be able to find a new place for the new me in my old community.

It has been hard to not become an “alienated returnee” as I sit in the cold missing my life in Australia. But I know these four months have changed my outlook on many things, and I did not embark on the experience to spend another four months moping about being home again. So I am vowing to carry the new things I have learned—the “gems”, as Slimbach calls them—forward so that those around me can also benefit from this past semester. Gold Coast is a very health conscious and environmentally conscious place, so in order to bring this “gem” back with me, I vow to reduce junk food consumption, and to encourage my family and friends to do the same. Junk food is not only detrimental to our health, but to our environment (think of all those plastic wrappers!). I also vow to “discover the joy of less”. With Christmas approaching, I have never been less excited for Christmas morning. I will be happy to spend time with my family, but no longer feel the need to add to my collection of useless and unnecessary gadgets. For the first time in my life, I really truly feel like I have everything I need (except maybe plane tickets back to Australia, but I should give this place more of a chance I guess). So I vow to keep this momentum going, and use my time and resources to better the world around me, instead of my closet. I will turn the heat down a few degrees, and live without air-conditioning whenever possible. I will minimize my time in the car and carpool whenever possible. I have seen first hand this past semester that this world is a beautiful place, and I want the next generations to be able to see this. Some of my current habits have not taken this into account, but I will work on this for the sake of my global community. I hope these four months will still influence my actions for the rest of my life. As Miriam Beard once said: “Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”

 

Travel Log 15, “There’s No Place Like Home? Rites of Reincorporation” By Mike Raimondo. Hamden, Connecticut.

Home. It is a place where you feel most comfortable and where you desire to rest at the end of the day. Home may change multiple times throughout your lifetime, and I believe abroad has made this clear. I come from an average suburban town on Long Island and have little familiarity with city life. Being dropped in the center of a city across the Atlantic Ocean was clearly a new experience and required quite the learning curve. As I went through my months in Europe, my mindset and familiarity with cities began to change. By the last week, I had zero desire to return to suburban life where 10 minute drives are required to get anything. Italy had become “home.” I am most definitely going to miss walking down my apartment stairs and walking across the street and grabbing a gelato, panini or anything I can imagine. But the biggest challenge in the present is going to be reintegrating myself into life in America again.

The reintegration process is one that will require some time. I still believe at this moment I have not fully grasped that I am not returning to what had become my “home.” I still think it will be another week or so before I accept the fact and begin my new life. The hardest part of this is attempting to deliver the experience to the dozens of people who ask the “how was abroad” question. It is such a rewarding, different and non-relatable experience that it is impossible to give them an answer that covers the scope of what abroad meant to me. In addition, it is sad to talk about it because it is so fresh that I will not be going back. I believe that the reincorporation period will eventually change this sadness into appreciation.

While sharing my letter with my parents and roommates, they both had different reactions with similar meanings. My parents sympathized with the challenges of trying to leave a great experience, while encouraging that I try to see it as a learning experience. My roommates at QU reacted in a more defensive way, saying that we should try to top the experiences I had abroad. Use abroad as a learning experience to better the rest of college. Both of these reactions I found were telling me to use what I learned abroad for the good and apply it to enhance life here as a cultured individual.

In reference to returning home Slimbach writes, “our world back home will appear changed in proportion to how much we have changed through our journeys… travel often serves to awaken us to parts of our native world that we hardly recognized before” (212). This is the epitome of how I feel. I feel foreign in comparison to my friends. I feel as though I now see flaws in society that I had never realized before. Traveling does in fact open our eyes to the good and bad parts of our own home society.

In terms of habits, I feel as though I have developed some while altering others. The old habit of eating unhealthy or eating fast/junk food is no longer a part of me. I long for fresh vegetables and meats that I had daily in Europe as opposed to processed foods. This is one that was changed. One that I feel I developed however is the willingness to spend money on a whim. Abroad, I never hesitated to go out with friends or buy souvenirs, but now that I am home this is a habit I must change.

One quote I feel represents my emotions at this time is “I know where I am from, and I got used to this” by Nayvadius DeMun Wilburn. This is exactly how I feel meaning that I know I come from America, and I know the roots in which I derive, but I have become so accustomed to my new life it will by very difficult to adapt back into suburban college life.

TL 10 : Encountering Globalization by Mazel Genfi, London, England

Before coming to London, I was used to the idea of Globalization. Now, since being here, I feel like I’m experiencing a different type of Globalization.  Globalization is the process by which businesses and/or organizations develop influence or begin to operate on an international scale. Globalization is so present in London & that sometimes I find it extremely. weird.  No matter what neighborhood, I’ve been in I see the same things: KFC, Starbucks, and McDonalds.  It actually feels suffocating sometimes because, I feel like I’m not experiencing a full rounded study abroad experience.

While walking around London, you see all the familiar brands from back home. And, when I think I’m going to drink the same thing: NOPE. It completely tastes different. Drinks such as Coke are made with real sugar in Europe and the UK, while back in America it’s made with high fructose corn syrup. Robins states that “with mobility, comes encounter. Global encounters and interactions are producing incentive new cultural forms and repertoires.” (240).Companies switch up their recipes and products to target certain demographics It’s so weird to know that KFC is so popular here, when actually it is not that great in the US. Then again, you sometimes see what is popular in the states become a phenomenon here in the UK.  

When you see things like Mcdonald’s and other chain restaurant, you see it  kind of stick out like a sore thumb. Robins states a “dimension of global change has been sought to dissolve the frontiers and divisions between different cultures”(242). This philosophy is mostly caused by large corporations and is known as “McDonaldization”. These large businesses are taking over the culture of different countries and watering it down to sell their products. It’s so annoying to realize that’s happening because it takes so much away from the abroad experience. So wherever I go, I make sure I eat and shop local as my way of feeding into the culture.

After watching the T-Shirt Travels video, I still don’t think Globalization is so bad after all. It just has a few bad aspects. The clothes we don’t want are helping someone else’s livelihood. The only thing is that their culture kind of  being taken away. Globalization has its ups and down. Now realizing, it’s kind of weird knowing that somewhere in Ghana, somebody is wearing my old highschool uniform because I always give away my clothes not realizing what is being done with after it’s out of my position.

Travel Log 14 “Global Connections and Rites of Separation” By Mike Raimondo, Florence, Italy.

The time has come to say goodbye to the experience of a lifetime. With only a short time left in Italy I must remember to leave time to reflect and appreciate the places I have come to love. The idea of living globally and out of our comfort zone is initially difficult but eventually becomes a tool to make us stronger individuals. I feel as though this experience has not only broadened my horizons but also allowed me to learn about myself. I discovered potential I never knew I had. Living abroad allowed me to learn about the world from a whole new perspective. This is what I believe Slimbach meant by “global learning” and how it can carry us into the “world within.” He is trying to explain that once you have experienced global learning, you no longer are an outsider looking at the “world around you” as if it is a whole separate entity. The world around us suddenly becomes ours. Interacting with the people that are native to my host culture have allowed me to understand the place I’m living in, but also have given me a newfound respect for these generous people. Slimbach emphasizes the importance of relationships when he writes in regard to generosity and hospitality, “such displays of warmth and generosity give expression to the natural human ability to recognize essential sameness, beneath and despite real differences” (57). I believe that this perfectly emphasizes the very idea that we are essentially one, we just need to open ourselves to the opportunity to recognize this fact. I have developed strong bonds with people that have assisted me in the separation, liminal and reincorporation phases, many of whom are local to Italy. I am very happy to have made these relationships, some of which I hope to keep for a very long time.

Saying goodbye to the country that so graciously hosted me for four moths was extremely difficult. Saying goodbye to my friends was equally as difficult. In order to have a proper goodbye, we decided to all go to a local bar by the name of Duane Bailo. This is a local Italian bar operated by two young men by the name of Alessandro and Vincenzo. These guys are both mid-20s and speak very good English. This was a key factor in forming such a special relationship with these guys. My friends and I came to this bar and had a large toast to say farewell to the city, the experience and the people we have met. The “affect” at this point in time is very emotional and solemn. I know it cannot possibly be goodbye forever but the unknown is always intimidating. This has led us to behave in a very reminiscing manner. We walk around Florence with a camera and a smile, taking as many pictures as possible to remember the experience, although they can never do it justice. I believe that reincorporating will not be as difficult once I return to New York. Leaving Italy was very difficult but once I begin the reincorporation phase I believe I will be okay. I must remember to thank those who made the experience possible and have supported me through the last semester. Without those around me I wouldn’t have had such a meaningful traveling experience.

A quote I have chosen to outline my experience is by Frank Sinatra, “Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention.” I find this quote perfectly emphasizing the mindset one must have when coming abroad. It is a great way to exit your comfort zone.