In this course, we, as mentors, play a significant role in the student’s study abroad experience. Why??? Because, according to traditional Rites of Passage theory, it is imperative that someone who has already gone through this transitional experience, guide others who are only just going through it. A mentor…a trustworthy guide…is the most crucial component to the success of a life transition.
The mentor is not meant to be a close friend, but rather someone who gives instruction to the individual as they navigate through the liminal experience. They probe the individual to reflect on challenges…on experiences that push them out of their comfort zone. The mentor must represent the values of the community (in this case, the Study Abroad and University communities) and pass them on to the individual.
The relationship between the mentor and the student is meant to be reciprocal — the mentor investing in the student, and the student respecting the mentor…or else the relationship is null and the Rites of Passage not successful. We are so proud of all of our students and love the opportunity to be a part of their journeys.
Mark Tortora M.A., is the Assistant Director for Education Abroad at Quinnipiac University. He first studied abroad in Scotland, during his sophomore year at Quinnipiac University. He and his wife, Laura Tortora M.S. CCC-SLP, began collaborating on the application of traditional Rites of Passage theory to the study abroad experience while living abroad in Ireland from 2010-2011.
“I soon realized that no journey carries one far unless, as it extends into the world around us, it goes an equal distance into the world within.” – Lillian Smith