Travel Log 13: “Connecting Rites of Passage and Digital Storytelling” by Samantha Prevot. Notting Hill, London, England.

David G. Blumenkrantz and Marc B. Goldstein’s study of modern day Rites of Passage affirmed my belief that the term is used too often to describe life moments and milestones that do not really fit the definition of a Rite of Passage. This is especially true about American society, where it is common to refer to events such as a child’s first kiss or an adolescent getting their driver’s license. These are exciting milestones in life, but Blumenkrantz and Goldstein define a Rite of Passage as “community-created and community directed experiences that transmit cultural values and knowledge to an individual (or individuals).” (Blumenkrantz, Goldstein 42). They mention this in their study, but I immediately began thinking about my Bat Mitzvah, which took place in October of 2009. I was only 13, which seems too young to be considered a woman, but for me I was just considered an adult in my Jewish temple community and I felt a sense of belonging especially amongst the rest of my Hebrew school classmates who had already gone through the Bar/Bat Mitzvah process. I do agree with Blumenkrantz and Goldstein that although some Americans still participate in these religious ceremonies, overall there is a general lack of clear Rites of Passage in our society. I agree that the ages in which it becomes legal for people to vote, drive, drink, etc. are a bit arbitrary and generally it is a bit ambiguous in regards to when an adolescent is truly considered an adult. If that is truly an underlying cause for increased rates of binge drinking, drug use and teenage pregnancy, then maybe we as a society should find ways to reestablish clearer Rites of Passage for young people as they transition into adulthood because those behaviors are dangerous and potentially life threatening.

Blumenkrantz and Goldstein also compiled a list of 20 elements of Rites of Passage, and the three that I think can connect most to my future digital story are adversity and personal challenge, silence, and time alone for reflection. Adversity we may face while going through a Rite of Passage, “challenges us to provide “teachable moments” capable of searing into the emerging adult’s mind essential information related to values and ethics that inform and guide expectations for behavior.” (Blumenkrantz, Goldstein 46). I have learned a lot during my time in England, but it was through the toughest times that I learned the most. For example, just a week ago, I was walking to the Underground from my school when a motorcycle drove up onto the sidewalk behind me and one of the men on the bike grabbed my phone out of my hand. I have never experienced anything like that before, and although it was such a negative experience I learned so much from it and it is tough times like these that I may choose to use as a foundation for my digital story. In addition, silence and time alone for reflection somewhat overlap. Blumenkrantz and Goldstein write that silence “makes the ‘call to adventure,’ the internal alarm clock awakening them to the coming of age process, almost inaudible. Creating opportunities for silence and to spend time alone—the ninth and tenth elements—help a young person develop an internal dialogue for narrating and making sense of what is going on around them.” (Blumenkrantz, Goldstein 46). I have always been a person who enjoys the company of others, but I also crave alone time where I can just reflect and get lost in my thoughts for a bit. That is when I have my best ideas and when I can decompress from the hustle and bustle of life. I have been trying to keep up with a journal while studying abroad and it is during my alone time at night or just while I’m on the Underground or traveling that I like to write my thoughts in it. I’m hoping these can help provide ideas for my digital story.

The keys to a digital story are “showing” people your experience instead of “telling” them about it, as well as “encapsulating and emotionalizing” your story and your experience in a way that resonates with people and sticks with them long after they’ve finished watching your digital story. I think Rachel Cox did this extremely well in her digital story about her study abroad experience in Paris. She not only used a wonderful metaphor comparing her growth as a person to the growth of the trees as the seasons changed from winter to spring, but she also included a personal story about the growth of her relationship with her elderly neighbor who only spoke French. This, along with the emotion with which she narrated her story and the pictures she included, gave her story depth and emotion that resonated with me and I’m sure with many others. This is the kind of writing I hope my digital story has. As a journalism major and a person that just loves to write in general, I have spent most of my life learning about stories and falling in love with them. I hope I can create the same effect with my own personal story.


Travel Log 13: “Connecting Rites of Passage and Digital Storytelling” by Sam McGrath Cork, Ireland

A huge problem in American society in the last couple decades has been the growing prevalence of youth binge drinking, drug use, and pregnancy. Drinking, smoking, and sex are all activities that the youth affiliate with adulthood, and they choose to participate in these activities to make themselves seem more mature and of age, when in reality some are not ready for such behaviors. The American youth are, to say the least, confused of when they can be officially an adult in the eyes of society.

Youth: Is it after I get my license and can operate a motor vehicle?

Society: No you still are unable to participate in our government system.

Youth: I’m 18 and now have the right to vote and fight for our country, am I an adult now?

Society: Of course not! You can’t even sit at the bar and have a drink!

This goes on and on until one turns 21 where there ceases to be any more levels of age to conquer, but by then the damage has been done. The youth has been confused for so long that they start participating in adult activities at a young age and try to become a part of their community before they are ready leading to the bad activities that we see growing in the American youth. They see that around the globe in different countries, people the same age as themselves are allowed to participate in these activities legally, so the youth decides to participate illegally. Although they are the same age there are different circumstances for adolescence in other countries to participate in these activities. In other countries that allow this activity the adolescence are seen as adults and have a mentor and support from their community. In America though the community, because of its illegality, looks down on the youth participating in these activities. In the eyes of the community it is illegal and the youth are not legal adults.

Arnold van Gennep describes a rite of passage as community created and community directed experiences that transition cultural values and knowledge to an individual. There is nothing like this in our society, there is no real sense of adulthood for the adolescent. The youth in the last decades are stuck in a sort of purgatory between adolescence and adulthood, not quite sure when they are officially changed. This creates a disproportion between cultures around the globe on the topic of adulthood, forming more unnecessary distinctions between the cultures and the global community as whole.

Although I may not have had an official rite of passage in America, there have been many elements out of Blumenkrantz
and Goldstein’s 20 Elements of Rite of Passage that have occurred while I have been in Ireland. 3 of the 20 characteristics in particular have stood out for me during my time in Ireland and are things that I would like to incorporate into my digital story, these being play, time for reflection, and connection with nature. These particular things have been a huge aspect of my time in Ireland and things that I wish to illustrate to my friends and family.

In Ireland I am always on a constant search for unbridled joy or the “craic” as they say. With such great people and great things happening each weekend in Cork, it’s not hard to find. This type of play has enabled me to hang out with people from all walks of life, allowing me to better my social skills with different cultures.

Although I am always looking forward to playing in Ireland, I also revel in the time that I can take in silence and reflect on where I am in life. This time sometimes doesn’t happen as much as I’d like it to back home and I always take the time to appreciate being alone and in silence when in occurs here.

Since I have been in Ireland I have also been taking in a lot of the nature around me. Ireland is where my heritage is so it’s amazing to see where my ancestors have walked before me and great to see the natural beauty of the country.

Although these elements of rite of passage are very different, for me walking has been the common link between them. I walk everywhere in Cork, whether I’m going into town with friends, or whether I’m just going to class or grocery shopping. I rarely if every use the public transportation system because walking offers so much. I am able to connect with the people I am walking with instead of having brief conversations as we go from one destination to the other. When I am walking by myself it also gives me time to reflect on the world around me and my place in it. The silence of walking is much needed in between the hustle and bustle of different activities and gives me the joy of clarity instead of the more expensive joy of convenience.

Walking will play a central theme in my digital story because of how much my life in Cork has revolved around it. I’ve seen how many people only look forward to the final destinations of their journeys instead of enjoying the journey itself and I want to bring to light that journey.

Caitlin Murphy’s digital story also brought to light the journey part, as she utilizes her bike throughout her experience in the Netherlands. She expressed wonderfully how scary it was at first in a new country but how she was eventually able to thrive in her new environment. She was also able to use her bike as a metaphor for her experience in the Netherlands and I hope to do the same with walking to illustrate my experiences in Ireland.

Travel Log 13: “Connecting Rites of Passage and Digital Storytelling” by Bryan Riemer. Cork, Ireland

I believe the definition of a rite of passage was stated very well by the Global Journal for Community Psychology Practice in which they said, “A modern day rite of passage is achieved when parents and the community create and participate in experiences which are perceived to be transformative by youth and, in fact, offer them increased status within the community and facilitate their healthy transition through adolescence” (Blumenkrantz, p.43). The most well-known rite of passage in America is definitely an individual’s 21st birthday. This is the age at which you are legal to gamble, smoke and consume liquor in America and it is seen as a very big deal by both family and friends. In Europe, turning 21 is not as big of a deal considering you are legal to do the activities stated above at the age of 18. Now I personally will not be turning 21 in Ireland, but some of my American friends who are also in Ireland are turning 21. The Irish understand that Americans turning 21 is a big deal and they will say happy birthday but I am not sure how I would feel about not celebrating my 21st birthday in America where it means so much more.

While reading the article by Blumenkrantz I also started to think about my digital story. As I was reading through the twenty elements of rites of passage there were a few in particular that really stood out to me. The first one that caught my attention was number twelve: time alone for reflection. During my time here I am taking a very light course load compared to what I would be doing at Quinnipiac and have had a lot of free time on my hands. Since I have never had this much free time I wasn’t sure what to do with it at first, but after a week or two I began to get into a routine. Part of that routine is to sit at my desk and write down how I have changed as an individual and how I have changed the community for that week. When individuals do something that will better themselves or those around them. They do not realize it at first, the individual has to sit and think back on what they did and why they did it in order to fully understand how it has benefitted themselves or the community.

Another element of rites of passage that pertains to my journey abroad is number eight: adversity or personal challenges. When I first got to Ireland back in August I thought it was going to be a difficult transition because I have never been that great with change. On arrival I definitely felt some nerves and anxiety but nothing as bad as I was expecting. I was so prepared for the worst that when everything went smoothly I fit right in to my new home.

A third element of rites of passage that I can personally relate to is number four: you can only bring someone as far as you have been yourself. Before coming abroad I was trying to get advice from my older brother about what it would be like considering he has already been abroad. All the information he told me while I was in America didn’t necessarily stick because I could not experience it first-hand but once I got to Ireland all of it made sense. Now that I have been abroad I feel as though I can assist other who are thinking of going abroad in the future by giving them sound advice.

After watching the three digital story examples I can really only relate to Rachel Cox, Paris, France journey. She begins her video off by saying how she was lost and nervous which is exactly how I felt when first arriving in Ireland. She then proceeds to talk about how she has made friends with her neighbor and how she was able to speak more French then she had ever learned in school. Rachel then talks about how she took in the nature around her, which I can relate with considering how beautiful Ireland is in the fall. As I watched the video I kept thinking how this could be me and how much insight I got into how my video will look.

Travel Log 13: “Connecting Rite of Passage and Digital Storytelling” By Ashley Moreau, Cork, Ireland.

It’s hard to believe that it is already November and that my study abroad journey is 2/3 of the way finished. It has been quite the journey thus far and I think that the rest of this month, and my three weeks here in December, will prove to be the same. Exploring my study abroad experience through the lenses of rite of passage theory has been really meaningful but also very helpful. The lack of these ‘community-based rituals’ during transitional periods during American youth’s lives is staggering. It is hard to say how this lack of ceremonial rites of passage has influenced my development from youth into adulthood. I don’t know what type of person I would be had there been more specific ceremonies to celebrate my transition to being an adult, but I would like to think that I would have turned out very similar to my current self. I have a great support system between my family and friends, so I have been fortunate enough to say that I have had a smooth transition during most changes during my life, including my experience abroad. For others who aren’t as fortunate as I am, I could definitely see how the lack of these intentional events could be detrimental to their growth as an individual. The classic example that I can think of is the freshmen in college who hasn’t had any freedom their whole life and then goes crazy the second they get away from home. As the articles discusses this point, saying, “ In the absence of meaningful community-based rituals, youth will define and create their own marker events based on peer or media values, many of which may be destructive both individually and communally.”

From viewing the PowerPoint on digital storytelling, watching some examples, and my personal thoughts it seems to me that the purpose of a digital story is to describe an experience in a meaningful, articulate manor. One of the “twenty elements of rites of passage” is time alone for reflection. This element is enhanced by the creation of a digital story because in creating this project, it will require me to sit down alone and reflect greatly on my experience abroad and how the whole journey affected me. Further, I have noticed that this class in general, through our weekly readings and posts has successful achieved this element nicely of having us individually reflect on our experiences. Another element is the opportunity to demonstrate new competencies and status. This digital story is a perfect way for us to demonstrate our new competencies learned while abroad to our family members and communitas. Not that we should use it to brag about how we feel we have grown as individuals, but rather to celebrate different feats that we had while navigating foreign cities, different languages, and different cultural values. A third element that can be resonated nicely through a digital story is giving away one’s previous attitudes and behaviors. Creating a digital story is a perfect medium to show the transformation of my attitudes on the global community throughout the semester and how this has influenced me.

Viewing the digital stories was interesting because they were all unique and sent different messages to me as the reader. The one story that really connected with me though was Rachel’s story about her journey in Paris. I like the way that she incorporated a metaphor into her story and was very introspective when telling her story to us, it felt like I could connect with some of the same transformations that she went through as an abroad student. Further, I thought that her photos were stunning and very artsy, something I can’t promise in my digital story as my mind doesn’t quite see the world in that light. The essence of her experience seemed to be about her connection with her neighbor and how their conversations with her were able to grow each time they chatted about the trees outside, just as she grew as an individual through the experience. I am excited to begin brainstorming an idea for my digital story and to look through all my beautiful photos and videos taken throughout the semester.

Rites of Passage: Connecting Rites of Passage and Digital Storytelling, Madeline Eldredge, Cork Ireland

A rite of passage can have many different definitions depending on who is being asked. It may be an event such as a graduation or a religious ceremony. I find this article interesting because it outlines the various thought processes of why people choose their “rite of passages.” I have many friends who view their first communion as a rite of passage but I also have friends who viewed getting their driver’s license as a right of passage. In my opinion, a person can experience as many rites of passages as they wish depending on what is important to them. The absence of community-based rituals may make it difficult for the global community to truly understand their basic ways of life.


I chose this image to encompass the mixture of feelings we all encountered upon arrival and how we’ve all overcome them in different ways.

I think the main purpose of a digital story is to show family and friends the internal struggle that we endured while adjusting in another community and how overwhelming it may be. From the article, it shows the paradigm shift, the community values and ethics, and adversity and personal challenge. We needed to learn about the culture in order to become genuinely, and respectfully, accepted into it. For many students, this may be their first time leaving the country for an extended period of time. For others, it could be a walk in the park. It will be interesting to compare each of our digital stories to see how we all dealt with the personal challenges.

The story that left an impact on me was definitely Rachel Cox’s digital story about her study abroad experience in Paris, France. I thoroughly enjoyed how she assimilated and metaphorically used the blossoms in reference to how she figuratively grew and became a stronger, more aware person. She critiqued her mistakes and, most importantly, left her zone of comfort, which allowed her to meet new people, try new things and broaden her overall Parisian experience. Rachel Cox reached a concise articulation of her experience by not adding too many various details and only using the details that she felt meant the most. The way her voice changes as she tells how she felt she changed during her study abroad experience pulled me in as a viewer and I could wholeheartedly understand everything that she explained. Rachel refers to the blossoms on the trees and around her apartment building when stating that as the blossoms opened up, so did she. She became more aware as a person to the small details encompassing her life and feels that she became a stronger person because of them. Rachel seems like after all that she experienced, she has developed into a more, well rounded human being in the global community. She created a communitas with those surrounding her and was caught in the liminal stage but, thankfully, “blossomed” and met her neighbor whom she will never forget. Although I thought Rachel’s digital story presentation was amazing, I think she could have used more of the terms outlined in our course objectives and course discussions. An overwhelming sense of emotion engulfed me when watching Rachel’s digital story. I can completely relate to everything she encountered and we tackled our struggles similarly.

image from:

Travel Log 13: “Connecting Rites of Passage and Digital Storytelling” by Jenna Paul. Cork, Ireland.

I believe that I have gone through many different types of Rites of Passages in my life. I think that some are bigger than others and also that some are more apparent than others. For example, at 13 years old, I had a Bat Mitzvah. This is a ritual in the Jewish religion where one goes through a ceremony to signify that they have become of age in the Jewish culture. There are years worth of preparation for this day, but overall the experience is truly amazing. I remember my Bat Mitzvah so vividly because I worked so hard to get to that day and I wanted it to be perfect. Although it wasn’t the easiest process at times, the end result is something you can feel proud about for the rest of your life. This type of Rites of Passage was very clear that when it is over, I would become a woman in the Jewish religion. Although that doesn’t mean much in my everyday life, I knew that I was making my family proud by going through this process. I can now understand the meaning behind it better today and I am truly so glad I went through that Rites of Passage.

Another Rites of Passage I went through was moving to college across the country. Thinking about it now, that seems absolutely crazy and I can’t believe I actually survived that on my own. I moved away from family and friends to a place where I knew absolutely no one. All of the comfort of being in my hometown surrounded by familiar places and people was gone within a plane ride. Now, for some people, they might say they “moved” away to college and they became independent. I think that going through this Rites of Passage I soon realized I can’t just feel homesick, call my parents on the phone and have them drive a couple hours to come get me. I knew the next date I was going to be home because I had a plane ticket bought months in advance. I think that right there is the difference. If you have the comfort of being able to just drive back home or get back into the comfort zone in your life, it’s not as big as a step away. That is why I agree with this definition from the Rites of Passage as a Framework for Community Interventions with Youth, “A modern day rites of passage is achieved when parents and the community create and participate in experiences which are perceived to be transformative by youth and, in fact, offer them increased status within the community and facilitate their healthy transition through adolescence” (Blumenkrantz and Goldstein 43). It is about stepping out of your comfort zone into a new life that you have never experienced before. A perfect example is our journey here while studying abroad.

The three elements of rites of passage that I have chosen for the development of my digital story are paradigm shift, connection with nature, and time alone for reflection. I think that these three elements will be a great main focus to be able to tell my story. A paradigm shift is a great way to show growth in myself from the start, which led to the connection with nature as well as time alone for reflection. I think my story will be able to flow greatly with these three elements.

The digital story that I connected with the most was by Caitlin Murphy and her journey in the Netherlands. I like how she used the bike as a central theme to share her experience. Although it was a little short and could have used a little more emotion, I think that she did a great job showing and telling her stories and experiences while abroad.

Travelogue 13: Connecting Rites of Passage and Digital Story Telling. By Brian Costello

I’ve never really thought about how American culture does not have defined rites of passage. The only rite of passage I can think of is becoming 21 and being able to legally drink and purchase alcohol. However, after reading this study I see how that is not necessarily a rite of passage. The study defines a rite of passage as a “community-created and community directed experiences that transmit cultural values and knowledge to an individual (or individuals)” (Blumenkrantz and Goldstein 42). I do not agree with this definition of a rite of passage and the suggestion that there has to be definitive rite of passages established in American culture for our youth and other key life transitions. I feel that creating certain rite of passages in America is a bit totalitarian, because it suggests that you are not free to act in a certain manner or be treated in a certain way until you reach a certain age or align with attributes that show you are worthy of that certain rite of passage. I would define a rite of passage as a moment in one’s life where he or she becomes more aware of something to the extent that it alters the way they think, feel, or act. With this definition it makes a rite of passage feel more organic and natural, and makes you feel as if you earned your stature instead of automatically getting it at a certain age. Thrusting someone into more responsibilities than they are used to before they are ready, can be very detrimental to their psyche. Most of the time we do not realize when a rite of passage occurs, because it is hard to recognize changes by yourself, it takes the community to let you know that you have achieved a certain status. Now with that being said I do agree that there needs to be some recognition from the community to let you know that you have developed in your thoughts, emotions, physical characteristics, and actions. Once we receive these comments from the community we have to reflect to reaffirm them. Personal reflection is key because we have all gone through rite of passages, but we just don’t realize it until we are able to reflect. There are very few rite of passages that are instant, and then there are other rite of passages that take time to occur. A personal example was when I realized I became more independent. This is actually a fairly recent realization that took years to be recognized and is still developing and growing. When I was young my father would always help me with my homework every night. He would get home from work check what I had done so far to make sure it was correct and then help me finish the rest. This occurred up until eighth grade because once high school came he was expecting me to be able to do all the work. When high school came around I was able to do most of the work but I still needed help with certain problems, concepts, etc. It wasn’t until my sophomore year in high school until I was doing my work independently mostly due to the fact that my father had fallen ill and could not physically help me. This moment in my life was just the start of the journey for my independence, because now I had my academic independence where there was no one to help, or no one to say “no you’re doing it wrong.” It was all on me. With my mother and father constantly being at the hospital I also became independent in other ways, such as cooking my own meals, walking to school, and most of all spending time by myself. My parents were very strict in what I could do socially and limited me in ways that made it near impossible to socialize. I can’t say I was prepared for this type of independence based upon the circumstances, but hey I didn’t have a choice. After my father got over his sickness it was time for me to be sent to college where I would get a taste of social independence. Going to Quinnipiac was a big change for me, I had no curfew, no preposterous rules preventing me from socializing, I was finally able to socialize on my own time my own way. I had finally achieved social independence.  Fast forward two years and here I am in an entirely different country separated by thousands of miles from my parents. It’s easy to say that both me and my parents have gone through a rite of passage over the years, but it is still far from over. The only aspect I am still dependant on for my parents is financially. I am still not financially independent, but I plan on being in the next few years. I left out a lot of smaller, but easily as important parts in my story, but I have lingered too long on this one example. The main point that I want the reader to take from this is that a rite of passage should not be bestowed or forced on someone, but instead should happen organically. You may say that I was forced in to my rite of passage, but to me an unforeseen event is considered organic and natural because you never know what lies ahead in life. In this example I really didn’t realize how independent I became until this current semester. I needed time to reflect on how far I had come physically, emotionally, and mentally and my journey is still far from over.

The three traits that I have chosen are paradigm shift, adversity or personal challenge, and time alone for reflection. I believe that these three traits would be a good theme for my digital story. A paradigm shift would be a good starting point to show personal growth, which was caused by adversity or a personal challenge, and then ends with a moment of reflection to see what where and started and where I ended up. I feel that this would be a nice flow for my digital story and would help create a central or main theme that relate to these three traits.

The one digital story that I connected with the most was the one done by Michael Colson. It had the main theme of community that he conveyed through his original thoughts of what a community was and then showed how being abroad changed his definition of a community. He did this by describing the different types of people he met and despite their opposing opinions on certain issues they were still able to become friends and create a global community.

TL 13 – Connecting Rites of Passage and Digital Storytelling – by Leah Chernick. Paris, France.

According to Blumenkrantz and Goldstein, contemporary use of the term “rite of passage” has been obscured from its true meaning. Most coin the term rites of passage to a special experience or a moment with meaning, but what Blumenkrantz and Goldstein define a modern day rite of passage is achieved when “parents and the community create and participate in experiences which are perceived to be transformative by youth, and, in fact, offer them increased status within the community and facilitate their healthy transition through adolescence” (Blumenkrantz & Goldstein 43). Blumenkrantz and Goldstein argue that there is a lack of clearly established rites of passage in America due to the ambiguity as to when one becomes an adult in society and how. Due to the absence of meaningful community based rituals today’s youth defines and creates their own events based off of their peers and the media to mark important moments in their lives or so called rites of passage. Blumenkrantz and Goldstein remind us that a rite of passage is not just any milestone in one’s like such as drinking alcohol for the first time, a first kiss, or getting your license. Yes, studying abroad can be considered a rite of passage for many college students today, but it is important to remember the three stages of rites of passage separation, transition, and reincorporation. The absence of community-based rituals does present a problem for the proper development of the Global Community, because we conceive moments of meaning in our lives as rites of passage when they are not considered to be rites of passage, leading to ambiguity.

A digital story is a first person narrated video that combines one’s recorded voice, images, music, and other mediums. Its goal is to combine the art of story telling with a multimedia dimension. The purpose of a digital story is to shift the lens using the proper setting, details and events to tell your story with the experience. Storytelling adds purpose by having a meaning or moral to the story. A student who has spent the semester studying in a foreign country my digital story will demonstrate how I have grown during this experience from before to during to after the semester. It is important to share this digital story with members of my communitas and home community for them them to appreciate and understand how this experience has allowed for personal growth in my life. A digital story is the proper way to present to my home community my experience because it will better allow them to acknowledge my personal growth.

Three of the “twenty elements of rites of passage” I hope to use to develop my digital story include time alone for reflection, rites of passage create expectations for social appropriate behaviors, and play. Time alone for reflection is something I have done throughout my experience abroad. It is important to stop and reflect on your own thoughts, on your day, and on your experience as a whole. I find my self-reflecting most on the metro ride home from class everyday. Although I am not alone on the metro, it is a quite time in my day where I am usually alone and can sit and reflect without being disrupted. Throughout my semester I have also matured and experienced much personal growth. The element rites of passage create expectations for social appropriate behavior is something that I can relate to. Studying abroad in Paris has changed the way I behave in public and social settings. In general I have observed that the French act more mature than Americans. I believe that I have matured a lot with my social behavior due to the pressures of wanting to fit in with my surroundings. The last element I related to the most was play. In the reading, play is described as the, “opportunity to help individuals find their “bliss,” those activities that they can immerse themselves in with great passion and from which they receive unbridled joy.” My love for walking and wondering for pure curiosity of new things in Paris can be considered my play. Paris has so much to offer and I have so many things to still cross off my bucket list before my time here is gone. I love to wake up early on the weekend and just walk around without having any particular goal or purpose in mind other than for mere exploration and curiosity, which I describe as my playtime.

The digital story I connected with most was Rachael Cox’s story. I connected with this story the most not only because she studied abroad in Paris, but also I really connected with the way she described her experience with the Paris weather as she blossomed through her semester. She really connected it well with the stages we go through during rites of passage in a poetic manner.

Travel Log 13: “Connecting Rights of Passage and Digital Storytelling” by Ariel Olivieri. Dunedin, New Zealand.

I completely agree with the idea that American society lacks these rituals. In my life personally, the community acknowledgements that I have received involve participating in the middle-school spelling bee, graduating 8th grade, making honor-role or high-honors, winning the state championship for women’s varsity basketball, volunteering in a foreign country, getting accepted to college, and graduating high school. Completing all of these things impacted me personally, and the community acknowledgement was an added bonus, however each of these things I would consider a “moment with meaning”. Thus far, I do not feel that there was any one moment in my life where I felt like I had finally become an adult, and I still don’t feel that way. I have attended one quinceanera and several bar/bat mitzvah and witnessed my friends transform into community-accepted adults, and I was jealous that I never got to celebrate something like that.
Each one of my birthdays was nothing but a marker letting my know that I was one year older, and I used it as an excuse to throw a party or do something special with all of my friends. And I feel like this is true for many of todays youth. Unlike me, some students are never mentioned in the town paper or are never acknowledged for completing something worth noting, and this causes them to give up. If no one cares about what someone is doing, or if no one acknowledges the achievements of an individual that person will give up and succumb to drugs or violence. This is a huge issue that is facing American society today.
The three components that relate to both my study abroad experience and my digital story are: program success relies on relationships, adversity or personal challenge, and time alone for reflection. The first one is extremely important because everyone needs another individual that they can lean on in times of uncertainty. In my digital story I will mention that it was bonds between other people that kept me going when I missed home or was upset. The second, adversity or personal challenge, is also important because in order to change, you must face a challenge. Everyone has something to overcome, and by overcoming it, an individual can grow. This will the theme of my digital story. I will talk about how my challenging journey up the Mueller Hut Track relates to how i view my study abroad trip. How it was a challenge that I overcame. The final one, time alone for reflection is, in my opinion, the most important aspect. Everyone needs time to reflect in order to correctly process everything they have gone through. This allows them to form opinions and make decisions with a clear mind. Reflection is a time to truly understand everything and without, the person may not fully understand the situation or their feelings about it.
The digital story I most connected with was Caitlin Murphy’s story Break Away, who studied in the Netherlands. I enjoyed how she used the metaphor of the bike as a way to describe her trip and how personal the metaphor was. I also enjoyed how cohesive the project was. All the pictures seemed to flow with one another and the music in the background fit it perfectly. Also, I can relate to the story that she described which allows me to understand her perspective. I feel reassured someone else felt the same way while they were abroad, that I did.

Travel Log 13: “Rights of Passage and the Art of Story Telling.” By Kayla Vitas. Sevilla, Spain.

When reading Blumenkrantz & Goldstein (2010) article about Rites of Passage as a framework with youth I thought a lot about our two workshops before departing abroad and our course as a whole. To be honest, before taking QU301, I really did not know the true meaning of rites of passage. “The lack of clearly established rites of passage in America is partly due to the ambiguity about when and how one becomes an adult in contemporary society” ( Blumenkrantz & Goldstein). Just like many others and as Blumenkrantz & Goldstein talk about, a rite of passage is not just a milestone that most people go through as they grow up, such as having a first kiss, getting your license or getting your first job. The assigned reading explains the three necessary stages that an individual goes through in order to label something as rites of passage. Being educated on these three stages; separation, transition, and incorporation has helped me and will help me in the future on how to get the most out of my experiences and how to deal with my emotions when passing through the phases.

Digital stories are created in order to show an individual’s personal growth over a period of time. They are especially important because they allow others around you, such as your parents, friends and the community, to acknowledge and understand your individual change in a creative way. Watching digital stories makes me excited to create my own story about not only the memories I have made abroad but also how I have positively developed as a person.

When reading the twenty elements of Rites of Passage, so many thoughts ran through my head. The three elements that stood out to me the most and that I plan on adding in my digital story are: Adversity or personal challenge, giving away one’s previous attitudes, behaviors etc., and time alone for reflection. Throughout my three months abroad, I could list over a dozen challenges that I have faced. However, these challenges have always had a positive outcome because I was able to gain a new value or skill. One example of this was my previous fear of flying. Before coming abroad I would often prepare myself days in advance before I knew I would be flying and it often seemed like the end of the world when stepping onto a plane. Now, I am more independent and able to fly alone (which I would have NEVER done) and I am able to experience new places and things. The second element that I plan to use in my digital story is number 15, giving away one’s previous attitudes, behaviors etc. Looking back on it now, I was not always the most positive person in negative situations. I often thought the worst of things and let the negativity take over. However, I have been able to let go of the pessimism and I am always looking at the positives in every situation. One example of this is when my friends and I missed our bus back home from Madrid and had no choice but to sleep in the airport. Although it was not an ideal situation, I told myself that worse things could have happened and I am fortunate enough to even be traveling to different countries. Finally, I will incorporate element number 12 into my digital story. This element talks about setting aside time in order to reflect on personal values, actions and beliefs. Before coming abroad, I rarely set aside personal time for myself. However, in Sevilla I often find myself taking walks alone the river or even just sitting outside on my balcony and thinking about how fortunate I am to be able to have the opportunity to study abroad. Looking back on it, I could have avoided a lot of stress at Quinnipiac by going for a jog alone or sitting in my room and reflecting on different things that have happened. When returning back to America, I am going to incorporate this element into my life, which will not only benefit myself in stressful situation but also give me a greater appreciation for life.

Although I enjoyed watching each of the three digital stories, I was able to connect the most with Rachael Cox’s story. From the beginning, she caught my attention and kept me wanting to watch and learn more about her experience abroad. She did an amazing job explaining her feelings and emotions and how they contributed to her experience. I was fascinated at how she used blossoms to explain her growth and transformation as an individual while she was in Paris. The pictures and videos that she chose to go along with her words were also very powerful. I was able to picture everything she was saying as if I was also having the same experience as her. When creating my digital story, I am going to think about Rachael’s story, in order to portray my powerful message to people who watch my story. I found that the passion in her voice made the digital story much more meaningful. I could tell that she was proud of her journey and she wanted people to know the differences she made not only in the community, but also herself.