Travel Log 14: “Global Connections & Rites of Separation” by Samantha Prevot. Notting Hill, London, England.

In Becoming World Wise, Richard Slimbach says, “If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also into this world within.” The “world within” relates to our inner selves; our ideas, impulses, and so on. Slimbach says our “world within” is invisible to others and has a great impact on our social relationships and our relationship to the natural world. Slimbach also says, “The sudden vulnerability we experience as we arrive in an unknown place…renders us acutely aware of who we are, or at least of who we’re not.” Studying abroad is a learning experience, and throughout the past three months, I’ve found this out for myself. When I flew to England in January, I could only imagine where the semester would take me, and I came out of the experience a wiser, more well traveled person.

Before coming to London, I had never flown by myself before and suddenly, here I was flying by myself across the Atlantic Ocean to spend an entire semester in a city that I had only spent one week in before four years ago. Since then, I have traveled to two other countries, Sweden and Ireland, as well as to other parts of England like Stonehenge, Oxford and Brighton. Traveling on my own, or with one or two friends who are my age, gave me a new sense of confidence. In general, I think I’ve found a new sense of independence. I have lived “on my own” at Quinnipiac for the past couple of years, but being here in London took that feeling of being “on my own” to another level. My parents were no longer two hours away and able to answer my calls whenever I needed them. Now, we had a seven-hour plane ride and a five-hour time difference separating us. This was the longest period of time I have spent without coming home, and because of that I think I built up more confidence in myself and became more independent and less reliant on others. It’s hard to explain, but I just think in general I became more in touch with myself, with my “world within” as Slimbach says. Traveling to new places, studying in a brand new university system, and living in a strange city gave me time to reflect and I think I’ve grown and learned more about who I really am and what I want from life. I have also learned valuable life lessons from experiences such as having my phone stolen. Through experiences like these I have become a stronger and wiser person.

In addition, I think studying in London has helped my growth as a member of the global community. I’ve always been open to learning about different people and cultures, and being in a diverse city like London has helped me meet so many new people not only from England but other places around the world. Getting to know them has helped expand my knowledge of the world and has developed my open, positive attitude towards others. I also think, as I have mentioned, volunteering helped reopen my eyes to the joys of helping others and “fighting for similar social values and basic human rights” as we described in our definition of global community. I am definitely bringing this restored outlook with me when I return home and I am also bringing with me a newfound feeling of global awareness and a stronger feeling of global citizenship, as well as a stronger desire to travel and see the world than ever before.

Tomorrow, I am getting on a train to Paris with my mom and leaving London behind. The girls that I live with, and have become very good friends with, are all leaving too either for home or for other countries that they have planned trips to. We have talked many times about how time seemed to go by so quickly and how sad we are not only about leaving London, but also about leaving each other. We have formed such a close bond in these past few months as a communitas, going through the same Rite of Passage journey. We have made so many amazing memories together and now we are all going our separate ways and returning to our respective parts of the United States. As a group, we have tried to spend as much time as possible in the last couple of weeks, going on our last few outings to dinner, shopping, etc. before our semester is officially over. Today, I went to see major landmarks like Big Ben and Buckingham Palace for the last time. Thinking about how these are my last few hours in London for who knows how long puts a knot in my stomach. But at the same time, I keep thinking about my family and friends that are at home who have been missing me while I’ve been gone and I can’t help but get excited about returning to them. I also think about my home, New York City, specifically my town of Rockaway Beach and I get so excited about being able to go back there and see all of the places I’ve missed going to while in London. I can’t wait to get back and roam the streets of Manhattan, or just walk on the beach near my house. I also can’t wait to see my friends and family and tell them all of my stories from my adventures abroad. I know there will be an adjustment period where I will feel weird not taking the tube every day, seeing famous London landmarks on my way to class, seeing my friends that I’ve made here, eating in London-only restaurants, or simply just walking down the street to Tesco. But once I am settled in again at home, I will be so happy and I will be able to look back at my time in London fondly without being sad.

There is a quote from Kate Douglas Wiggin that says, “There is a kind of magicness about going far away and then coming back all changed.” This is so meaningful to me at this point in time because I can tell I’ve changed since leaving for England in January, and it excites me that I get to return to New York as this new and improved version of myself. I also think about all of my friends and family back home and if they have changed at all either, in addition to whether they will be able to notice the changes in me. My mom is visiting me right now, and she hasn’t brought up anything about me seeming different to her. I wonder if she’s thinking it, but isn’t saying it out loud. I am excited to continue traveling with her and try to show her parts of my new, changed, “world within” that right now seems invisible to her. As sad as I am about ending this chapter of my life, I am just as filled with anticipation and excitement about what lies ahead for me now that I’ve had this life-changing experience.

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Travel Log 2: “Looking Behind and Looking Ahead” by Samantha Prevot. Belle Harbor, New York

As I watch the countdown I have on my iPhone tick down into single digits, and now I am officially less than a week away from departing for London, I am beginning to feel overwhelmed in addition to my excitement. I look over at my suitcases that haven’t been unpacked from moving home from Quinnpiac and I think about all of the plans I have in the upcoming days, and I can’t help but break out in a sweat. But, unfortunately, I had to take a break from thinking about my trip to be at the sides of close family friends who had lost someone.

My dad’s best friend from childhood lost his father, and it was like I had lost a grandfather. As I went through the two days of the wake and the funeral, I knew this would be the last time that I see my dad’s side of the family before I go abroad. Saying goodbye to my grandma and my aunts was easy because I don’t see them very often, but my dad and uncle live together and I see them quite often, so I knew that would be much harder. And I knew reading my separation letter to them would be even harder. My dad and uncle are not normally emotional; seeing them cry at the wake and funeral of their friend’s father was not something that I’m used to seeing. I knew that they wouldn’t be as openly emotional about my letter so I took this into mind while writing it. While writing, I tried to emphasize the fact that I know they are not so excited about me leaving, what exactly rites of passage and separation are, and just how much studying abroad means to me.

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photos with my dad and uncle from the photobooth at my cousin’s quinceanera

I made sure that I sat down with my dad and uncle before leaving their house for the last time and emphasized that this was important to me and that they had to take it seriously, as they often joke about things. To illustrate what rites of separation are, I thought it would be helpful to use the diagrams we were shown on the powerpoint at the workshop in December. I figured if they could see it instead of just having it explained to them, my point would be made more effectively. My priority was making sure that they understood that separation is good and that they can help support me through my journey in a way that doesn’t necessarily keep drawing me back in to the structure and safety of home. I told them that instead of trying to make me laugh with jokes about the things I’m doing abroad, they need to make me feel heard and validate what I’m going through. Then, I wanted to help them understand what studying abroad means to me, so I read them this quote from Miriam Beard: “Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” This quote simply and effectively explains what the study abroad experience means to me. It’s more than just going to class in a foreign country; its about me feeding my desire to travel and see the world, as well as a way for me to immerse myself in other cultures and through discovering new places, discover new things about myself. Ultimately, my dad and uncle were very understanding, although they still joked around a bit, and promised to keep being two of my biggest supporters and help me in any way they can while I’m gone. It felt nice to get somewhat emotional with them because usually they deflect and act like the stoic men they are.

While that experience eased some of my worries about going away, I am still somewhat overwhelmed. Mostly because of the amount of packing I have to do and the friends and family I have to say goodbye to. For me, the moment of saying goodbye is harder than the separation itself. I am a very emotional person and in those highly emotional situations, I get easily worked up. I know that as I spend my last days with my friends and family before my trip, I will probably be upset and probably be crying. However, once I step foot on the plane I know I will be completely overcome with excitement and anticipation. My nerves most likely come from the fact that I have never been away from home and totally on my own for this long of a period of time. Even when I’m at Quinnipiac, I’m home at least once a month, so that will be a big adjustment for me. Despite that, I also think this will help me become even more independent and strong, which is something I look forward to. For me, a successful experience abroad will be one where I become immersed in my host culture and discover things about myself like a newfound sense of independence.

So as I finally start packing and as my departure date creeps up on me, I know that when the time comes I will be ready to face the challenges that lie ahead of me and embrace my new life abroad. What I think most prepares me is my open-mindedness. As Slimbach says in Becoming World Wise, “…we must be able to think new and old thoughts, to experience new and old emotions, at a minimum, that we will have learned to adjust our own behavior so it doesn’t unsettle, confuse, or offend others.” I am certain that I will be able to healthfully separate from my home community and use my open-minded nature to help become integrated and adjusted in my new environment.

The photo I chose to describe my journey to date is a picture of the boardwalk in my hometown of Rockaway Beach/Belle Harbor. This boardwalk, like me, has been through many hardships but has always come back stronger than before. The sunset represents that although my time at home is ending and I’m leaving all that is familiar to me, I will remain optimistic and always see the light on the horizon to help get through any challenges and make the most out of all of my new experiences. The beach has also always been one of my favorite places to think and reflect, and I know I will be doing a lot of reflecting while abroad. Overall, this photo is the perfect demonstration of how although I may feel overwhelmed and nervous at times, I will always look on the bright side and use my strength to get past any hardships and only have good times on this amazing journey I’m about to embark on.

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Works Cited:

Slimbach, Richard. Becoming World Wise: A Guide to Global Learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus Pub. LLC., 2010. Print.

Travelogue 2: Rites of Separation, Looking behind and looking ahead- Mitchell Trulli North Reading Ma

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page” – St. Augustine

This quote means a lot to me because of my family motto “carpediem” which means sieze the day. My family has always encouraged each other to try new things and never miss an opportunity that is presented to us. Traveling abroad will allow me to sieze every travel opportunity I can cheaply and effectively which as stated by this quote is necessary to experience as much as possible. I shared my separation letter with my mother and father at dinner time. They are funding the trip and have always encouraged me to travel abroad as they did, they are worried that they will not have contact with me for long periods of time and I clearly outlined in the letter that I will keep in contact but cannot have that be a hindrance to my experience. I am fully prepared to engage in this opportunity and travel abroad, I am very excited to sieze this as I have no strings holding me back and I will be able to fully immerse myself easily and quickly. I will measure my travel abroad success through a plethora of different points. Firstly I would like to travel as much as possible, if I can reach at least five different countries I can classify this portion a success. I would also like to befriend multiple foreign nationals, which will require me to learn Spanish. This may be the most challenging part of my travel abroad experience as I have taken Chinese for the past 4 years and have little to no Spanish fluency. I have started to learn basic Spanish online and have downloaded software to help me learn as quickly as possible.
I will absolutely have to learn to deal with the unexpected as easily as possible. Luckily I have a few very good friends traveling abroad with me, which will help a lot. Friends are my main line of support and having a few good ones around me and living with me will make the whole experience seamless. The only thing that will be difficult to accept is what I have heard about the attitude of men towards women in clubs in Spain. I have heard that the attitude men have is considered disrespectful to Americans. Although I can understand that it is a different culture and I am a guest in their “home” so I am supposed to immerse myself into their culture and accept their ways of doing things.

I chose a picture of a skier at the top of a mountain because my journey is just beginning. All the preperation to get me to this point is the applications, packing, planning is the chairlift up and now I am ready to start my journey. I have the whole ride down that will begin with a plane ride over and I don’t know what to expect, but I am more excited than ever.

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Travel Log 2 “Rites of Separation: Looking Behind and Looking Ahead: Expecting and Accepting the Unexpected” Athena Rine, Northport NY

While thinking about this whole separation process, I remembered one of the quotes given to us in the workshops, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” –Lao Tzu. I think writing my letter of separation was my “single step” in the direction of separation. I wrote my letter to the people that have been with me and there for me since before day one, my parents. I shared it with them in my living room when my dad came home from work, when they were both willing to listen with no distractions. I was absolutely dreading writing this letter and sitting them down to talk because I knew it would be a very emotional time. Being that I am the eldest child my parents have always been extra protective of me. They always have my best interest in mind and they are always trying to keep me safe. Needless to say, letting me venture abroad is a huge step for them. In order to avoid any freak-outs or them not taking me as seriously as I would like, I made my letter more of a conversation so that I could assess their feelings and concerns as I went along and answer questions to make sure we were all on the same page. I started the conversation with a brief summary of what I learned in the workshops and tried to explain the ROP diagram to them along with all of the steps I will be taking in my journey, specifically separation and its importance to my study abroad experience. I told them about my plans to limit my phone and social media use and asked them to abide by my wishes to not expect daily phone conversations. I thanked them for their support, for helping me to grow and mature into a new version of myself, and for giving me this phenomenal opportunity to do so.

My father in particular was a little confused about how my study abroad experience would change me as a person. I summed up the importance of this rite of passage with the quote “I didn’t know how much I didn’t know because I didn’t know how much there was to know.”-author unknown. I think this quote really helped him to comprehend how valuable stepping out of my home community and comfort zone is. By the end of our discussion he understood how my points of view would change due to my exposure to a new country and a new culture.

I really thought this conversation was going to hold me back from my separation, but I was surprised at how accepting and understanding my parents were to my plans. Our dialogue ended with them telling me how proud they are of all that I have accomplished and that although it will be hard for them to let me go, they really feel that I deserve this experience and that I am ready and prepared for it. Hearing that they believe in me made me feel more equipped than ever to take the next step in my journey and begin packing for my departure.

For me, a successful education abroad experience would consist of great grades and lots of fun. One of my main goals of this trip is to be able to balance schoolwork as well as free time and adventures. I have always put school before everything, and as important as I feel school is, I want to make it my second priority during my time abroad. You only get to experience this once in your life and I want to make it four months that I will remember forever. So that means taking risks, doing things I wouldn’t normally do or be able to do in my home country, trying new foods, seeing new places, making new friends, and just letting go and stepping out of my comfort zone. I’m obviously not planning on letting my grades slip, but when it comes down to staying in and doing schoolwork or going somewhere I’ve never been, I want to make myself choose going out nine times out of ten. This isn’t going to be easy for me because it will be a real change-up from what I am used to, but I’m going to give it everything I have. In order to keep track of this goal I am going to keep a journal of all of the “out of the ordinary” things that I do on this trip so I can really gauge how much time I spend doing new and exciting things. I would consider myself unsuccessful if I were to focus too much on either school or fun. I hope to achieve an acceptable balance between the two.

To be completely honest, I don’t know if I am ready to face unexpected challenges but I am definitely willing to try. Getting on a plane to study abroad is like signing the terms and conditions to accept and expect the unexpected. I won’t say that I am going to deal with all challenges in the best way possible and I might find some harder than others, but I am confident that I can get through whatever comes my way and I won’t let it bring me down or effect my experience too much. I plan on being as calm, open-minded, and easy-going as possible in order to let the small stuff roll off my back so that I can focus on the big picture and all the positives this opportunity is bringing me. I think taking on these challenges will help me continue my successful separation and allow me to further accept all of the new people, places, thoughts, and cultural aspects that come along with living in a new country.mixed-facesI chose this image to describe my journey to date because I have so many mixed feelings about leaving right now. Sometimes I am excited and ready to go, others I am sad about leaving my home, family, friends, and boyfriend, and other times I question whether study abroad is the right decision and if I can actually handle it. My emotions right now are like a traffic light with all three colors lit. I am nervous but I am confident that when I arrive in Spain and settle in to my new room with my new friends things will work out for the best. I just can’t wait until the anticipation and anxiety about leaving is finally over.

Travel Log 14: Rites of Separation. Madeline Eldredge, Cork Ireland

Richard Slimbach’s statement, “If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also into this world within” (54), is completely accurate in relation to the time that I have spent studying abroad in Cork, Ireland. Had it not been for the prompts presented in QU 301 each week, I do not think that my time abroad would have been as fulfilling. I would have been in Ireland but I would not have been paying attention to the minor details that later became great experiences or unforgettable moments. There is a significant difference between “existing” and “living” and I think that is what Slimbach is somewhat trying to convey by this statement. We are immersed into a new culture but we will only grasp the culture and really understand the details if we allow ourselves to. Becoming immersed to the point of truly understanding the culture that surrounds us can be achieved by letting go of any fears and becoming more vulnerable to fully observe and take in the culture. The following statement made by Richard Slimbach exemplifies this point: “ Our journey may be filled with much outward movement, but we are mostly traveling inside ourselves, to destinations never quite arrived at when we’re surrounded by sameness” (55). If we did not let ourselves become vulnerable, then one never let the host culture fully engulf them to really understand the deeper concepts.

I feel like I have a deeper understanding of what it means to be a global community citizen since I have been in Ireland. I think that the documentary “Half the Sky” really encompassed what it means to be a global citizen by seeing people volunteer their time and efforts to make a change in another culture by trying to understand them while incorporating their own cultures as a comparison as a method of resolving the issues at hand. Moving forward, I will use my understanding of different cultures and the ideas associated to them with an open mind. I think too many people close their minds off to different ideas because they seem “strange” or it’s not something they would agree with. This, I feel, is the root of the ongoing racial issues in America.

Although I have made many new friends here, the one person I really “clicked” with was a girl, Sarah, from California. We have planned to have our own “farewell” brunch this upcoming Saturday as well as an entire day of walking around Cork City Center to re-experience each other’s favorite spots. This will help me to better understand her transitional phase when she first arrived as well as tell her about mine and then we can compare experiences.

As the time for my departure nears, I feel extremely overwhelmed. Friends who have previously studied abroad told me that time will fly while I am here but I did not realize how fast it would go by. So far, I have tried to visit my favorite places in the city and spend as much time as I can outside and away from my laptop and phone. I think beginning the process of the Reincorporation phase will be emotionally difficult knowing that it is the end of an incredible journey. On the other hand, I will take everything that I have learned abroad and from this course to complete the Reincorporation phase and the Rite of Passage process and to, ultimately, conduct a comparison of how I was before I departed America to how I will be when I arrive in America.

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I chose this picture and quote to explain how the Rites of Passage process is more than just a “beginning, middle, and end.” Each stage entails a different experience for each person and, for me, I learned more about myself and what I am capable of in the “middle stage” or “liminal stage” where I was neither ready to be here nor was I ready to go home yet. It was when I felt the most vulnerable but also learned the most.

image from: http://media.bridgesandballoons.com/Images/2012/07/The-Journey-is-the-Destination2.jpg

Travel Log 2: “Looking Behind and Looking Ahead: Rite of Separation” By Alexandra Borges. New Bedford, Massachusetts

There is only a handful of days before I depart and I’m going to be very honest, I’m still anxious and still a bit nervous, but I am getting more excited. This is to be expected. Aside from this, I’m feeling a little sad obviously because I’m leaving my mom and family. This summer wasn’t exactly the best and my family and I were dealt some very difficult hands. Despite my grandmother suddenly falling ill and the sudden death of my younger brother’s significant other, my family has come together. These changes came rapidly and I have had to adapt to them at the same pace. Now, you may think what does this have to do with me leaving, but I wanted to share this with you so that maybe, even if a little, you can understand my feelings on leaving. I’m sure everyone’s experiences were different, but I know that it’s okay to experience these emotions. I know it can be difficult, but remembering the different things we discussed about reflection, behavior, and reaction it helps piece things together.

I wrote, more little jotted down, things to discuss with my mom about me leaving over breakfast this Monday in the backyard enjoying last of the summer sun. We talked about how we were going to communicate, what day I would call during the week, and where I would be staying. We looked at maps of where I was staying and how far everything was, I was lectured about safety while abroad. For once I wasn’t going to say much, but rather listen to her words and take them with me. It’s not that I don’t know about safety, but I know it makes her feel more at ease and may help with the separation. I know me leaving is going to be really hard on my mom this time around. I mean both my younger brother and I are off in college, which isn’t much different from last year. However, I was the closest to home so, if my mom was feeling down or missed us, she would come visit me. However, now that both my younger brother and I are so far away, it’s definitely going to be tough. We talked about it a little, how she was going to get lonely, but she kind of brushed it off probably to make me feel less worried. I’m sure we will discuss it some more. Fortunately, I know my mother very well so, I spoke to my godmother and aunts about spending time with her and keeping her company. The Christmas holiday is going to be really different, it’s going to be the first time in all my 20 years where I will not be spending it with my family. I told my mom straight up that it was going to be a bit difficult on both parties and that I would talk to her more about my plans once December comes around. I know we will most likely continue discussing more things up until I depart Monday. Although I gave my mom a letter, it was typed. I know she really likes handwritten letters so, I’m going to write another one to her and give it to her the day I leave. I think I may continue to write to her while abroad, it’ll make her happy, I think, to get them every so often.

Aside from discussing everything, I finished up packing. Can we all take a minute and reflect on how hard it was to pack all the stuff you needed into 1 suitcase, 1 carry on, and 1 backpack. Let me tell you, you guys probably already know, that was interesting for sure. I know it’s going to be double the fun packing to return home. On a serious note, even though it was difficult, it was definitely an interesting experience and although cumbersome, I enjoyed it.  I don’t know how it was for you guys, but once I was packed everything set in, it got super real, real fast. I was excited, but I was feeling kind of melancholy at the same time. It was very bittersweet.

I mean as I sit here and type this up I feel sad, but more so I feel selfish. I wanted to spend a lot of time with my family and I got it, but the circumstances were poor and not in the best quality. On top of that everyone’s been running around trying to take care of my grandmother, which I understand and I’ve helped plenty. I just wanted more time to spend with them. It’s just hard because I want to be more excited, but if I do I feel like I shouldn’t be. Obviously this is silly, it’s normal, and I know it’s all a matter of perception so, before I get set in a sad kind of funk I stop myself and take a step back. I’m clearing my head, thinking and then reacting. If I reflect on the past and make peace with everything that has happened it makes it easier to take the next step. Being too emotional, especially during time of separation, can hurt more than help. I want to do this in a healthy manner. My family knows I’m a very private person when it comes to showing my emotions, I take after my grandmother. I mean I’ll tell you I’m sad or whatever, but when it comes to crying I’ll do it on my own time. Not going to lie I will most likely cry the day before or day that I leave, which is good. Crying is healthy and it’s good for the soul. I don’t plan on keeping everything in, that just gives you a headache.

Okay, enough of feeling sad. Moving on to other stuff. I’m not as nervous as before, I was put in contact with other students who will be on the group flight with me, so I am more at ease. I am still a little nervous for the plane ride though, it’s been quite some time since I’ve been on one. My younger brother says it’s a piece of cake, but between you and me that’s only because he’s a seasoned veteran of travel. I’m glad to already be making new friends who are undoubtedly going through the same thing, that makes the departure a little less daunting. We’ve been in contact with each other, discussing things that maybe we could do as a group once we get there and what types of things we are all interested in. With that said I am getting more pumped and excited as the day approaches!

I’m really looking forward to the abroad experience. I’ve already looked at some class descriptions and they seem difficult, but then again I wouldn’t want to breeze through them. I’m definitely looking forward to the challenge, it keeps me focused on my goal. Ultimately, I want to take in this experience, to adapt and change the way I look at things, to learn in a new way. I want to be able to improve upon myself and be able to learn from what I’ve experienced, to take in the new and make it something my own. I really do hope and believe that I can accomplish this. I want to embrace the culture and maybe if all goes well be able to understand/speak Welsh. I don’t want to come back unchanged and begrudged at all the things I didn’t do. I don’t want to pass up great opportunities simply because I was too caught up with things that were going on back home. I want to, if for the moment, be cut off from the disease of social media and get lost in exploring the new world around me and create another piece that develops my character. As Thomas Merton said, ” The purpose of education is to show a person how to define himself [herself] authentically and spontaneously in relation to the world”.  This is precisely what I am looking to do. I want to discover the person I truly am and be able to show it to the world I once knew.

But let’s be honest for a moment, we know it’s not going to be easy. I mean I’ve always been pretty independent since I was young so, I’m not too worried about that. I’ve also been really good about adapting to my environment so, that I can thrive and grow. With that said, I am going to be cooking for myself the entirety of my stay, 4-5 months.I’m collecting the last few recipes to take along with me. That’s not too bad, but being a Portuguese cook there are somethings that I’m to have a hard time finding. Doing groceries every so often, preparing lunch for the next day, and  having the energy and will to accomplish it all after a long day of classes. That is one step to complete independence. I’m hoping when I make some Welsh friends they can teach me their favorite dishes. I am actually looking forward to creating new dishes and possibly even learning how to prepare Welsh dishes so, I can make once I come back home. I’m a big eater so, I’m really excited to try the different Welsh dishes. Another challenge is how to get to school. Where I am to live, I am exactly 1.5 miles away from either campus, you can walk, bike, or take a bus. Even the shopping centre is 2-3 miles away.  I have no problem with walking, but I’m definitely going to plan, once I get there, on the best route to take. It’s going to be interesting with the unpredictable weather in Wales especially during the winter. Also, from my research and whatnot, it’s a lot colder in Wales than it is here, so I can’t help but wonder if my Massachusetts winters have prepared me. I can’t wait to experience that. However, even when thinking about these challenges, I have confidence that I will and can overcome them. I’ve always been the type of person that when faced with a known challenge or even and unexpected one, I “go with the flow” and figure out how to solve them. I’ve always been very quick to think on my feet so, I am hoping that will help me with the challenges I come across. I’m also relying on my determination to help me make it through and accomplish all that I want to do while abroad.

I hope everybody has had a safe flight and I look forward to hearing about your adventures!

The journey between who you were, and who you are becoming is where the dance of Life really takes place. Be the Change. - Barbara De Angelis

The journey between who you were, and who you are becoming is where the dance of Life really takes place. Be the Change.
– Barbara De Angelis

Travel Log 2: “Looking Behind and Looking Ahead: Rites of Separation” by Doug Beebe. Long Island, NY

Now that there are less than 3 days separating me from me “touching down in London town” everything has begun to feel so real. I’ve gone the entire summer telling everyone I know that I will be studying abroad in London and how excited I was, but not actually feeling all of the excitement because it was so far away. Now that it is so close I have had a whirlwind of emotion, from excitement to sadness that I will be leaving everything I love behind. This feeling is what will help me to really separate from my family and friends because if I am able to “get it out of my system” before my flight and allow myself to worry about other things instead of leaving everything I’ve ever know.

My separation letter that I shared with my parents and sister was a pretty generic one; one that stated how we would communicate and that this journey was as much theirs as it was mine. I expressed that me leaving was a way for both of us to fined our true selves without each other, a way for us to recreate a piece of ourselves and then share that experience with each other once we were reunited in three months. While I shared this with them, I also shared a quote by Mark Twain: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do that by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” This provided them with an understanding of how I wanted to experience the world and say yes to this amazing, once in a life time experience. It also helped me to give them a challenge while I was away. I gave them the challenge to try new things and explore Long Island and the small town we live in to the fullest. While I am out gallivanting across Europe I wanted them to have a similar experience but not missing out on anything while they are still at home.

As I shared my letter I also told them, and shared with many of my close friends and relatives, that along with making these travelogues I would also try to make a blog that will keep everyone informed on what I am doing and how my travels are going. I felt that this will allow me to spend more time exploring and immersing myself in many different cultures that skype calling 15 people and telling the same stories over and over again.

The thought of having a successful study abroad comes with many different layers. I feel that there is no real way to not have a successful time abroad because you will learn so much about yourself just by being wherever you travel to. I feel that my success will come from my personal growth. I have lived in the same small town for my entire life, went to a smaller college with minimal diversity, and have been surrounded by people just like me for as long as I know. This abroad experience will be something that will open my eyes to the IMG_3400world and grow individually. I have always been a pretty independent person, but being abroad will help me learn how to tolerate other cultures while also living and being in charge of myself by myself.
The picture I chose to share is a picture of the most important people in my life, my mom and sister. They are the people who I will miss the most while I am gone and the hardest to say goodbye to when I leave.

Travel Log 2: “Rites of Separation: Looking Behind and Looking Ahead: Expecting and Accepting the Unexpected” Brenda Kittredge, Tolland CT.

Preparing for the final separation can be a daunting task. As I wrote my separation letter for my family, I mulled over exactly what I wanted to say and how I wanted to present it. I finally decided to sit down with my parents this past Sunday and share with them my ideas about separation and the changes I would undergo in my time abroad. Sitting at our kitchen table and having a serious conversation about why I wanted to embark on this journey and how it would impact my life, helped facilitate a wonderful conversation between my parents and me about what both of us need to make this journey successful.

As the final departure approaches it is essential to think about what I truly desire out of this study abroad experience. If there is one thing I want this study abroad experience to be for me, I want it to be a challenge. This is not to say that I want everything I encounter to be extremely difficult, but I want to grow and learn from this experience. That means I want my trip to challenge me intellectually, emotionally, and socially

I want them to push me to become a better student and learn in new ways. I hope that this experience teaches me to think outside of my normal course of thought and push my mind to be more creative. The academic travel experience that we go through is a great opportunity to take your learning outside of the classroom and apply it to the real world. The challenge intellectually will stretch outside the classroom as well. Simply traveling to various countries will push me to enhance my directional and communication skills, as well as promote a better understanding of my surroundings.

I desire to use this trip as an experience to grow emotionally. As Slimbach says, “Rather, we allow ourselves to be affected by our host culture in ways that yield new insight, fresh perspective, and richer cultural comparisons- the ‘brick and mortar’ for constructing a better life, whether on an individual, national or global level” (p. 164). It is so important to prepare emotionally to enter into a new cultural and want to grow in your time there. This is the perfect opportunity to reflect on my life and evaluate where I want to go and who I want to be.

Finally, I want this trip to challenge me socially. It is easy at home to hang out with a small group of individuals who have common interests and share a similar way of thinking. Since Franklin is such a small school, you get to know many people very well. There are people from over 35 countries just in the entering class. I want to meet people from various other countries and learn about their customs. It is a wonderful opportunity to embrace the diversity that all of the students bring to the table. Since Franklin’s campus is mixed with the city of Lugano it is also a great way to get to know the local culture. I want to get involved in the community and meet local students, as well as local residents. Being in the city will allow me to go and explore the language and customs of my surrounding area.

Twpid-tumblr_n5xpgytcdv1s50vogo1_1280he combination of my desire for challenge and sense of adventure are two traits I feel will help me in my new environment. I want to take this opportunity to try anything new and take full advantage of my host culture. This is an opportunity unlike any other and I hope my time here will help me to grow and experience new things.

Travel Log 2: “Rites of Separation: Looking Behind and Looking Ahead: Expecting and Accepting the Unexpected” by Jared Walsh. Lincoln, Rhode Island.

2 days! My departure date is quickly approaching and I’m not sure how to react. On one hand I’m beyond excited to explore the world and experience a new culture. On the other, I am admittedly feeling a bit uneasy and nervous, for am I a homebody at heart. That mean, old, nasty separation phase is upon me and I’m hoping I can fight it.

In order for it to be a healthy separation I need a strong support system at home. On top of that, I need that support system to be understanding of my situation and what I’m going through; they need to be able to grasp the concept that for a healthy separation, I’ll need to do just that: separate. This past Tuesday most of my family (direct, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents,) all went to out to dinner to celebrate birthdays, the end of the summer, the beginning of a new school year for all the kids, and my going away. We’re a very close family that keeps in contact on a weekly, if not daily basis. After we ate all we could and had a bunch of laughs, I felt the time was right to share with them my separation letter. After all, they are the ones I am closest with and separating from them will be hard. I started by discussing the QU301 course and the purpose behind it (they all loved the idea)! I gave them a brief synopsis on the various phases in the Rite of Passage theory and how separation marks the beginning of my journey. I explained that having a degree of separation from my home life is going to help me grow independently and help me to become a better person, a better member of the global community. I have a feeling that it’s going to be harder on my mother and grandmother than it is on me.

I shared two quotes that really stood out to me as being meaningful and pertinent to the situation. The first quote by Marcel Proust discuses a concept that I’ve looked at in previous QU seminar classes and QU English courses: looking at situations through a different lens and against the grain. His quote, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in have new eyes,” quite directly states the importance of viewing travel as adding on an additional lens in your life glasses rather than adding it as a checkmark on a piece of paper. I explained that I needed to remove my “home” glasses in order to fit myself for this new lens and, as part of that, limit my contact with them during this separation. I also discussed a quote by Lao Tzu, “When I let go of what I am I become what I might be.” I used this quote to rationalize this idea of separation; I need to separate from my current world to improve myself. Both my parents and grandparents, who call/text me regularly will definitely hold me back from separating in this way. I think they will have a difficult time not contacting me, which will tempt me to do the same. As with most other students, having my smartphone with social media on it is also going to prove to be a challenge.

To me, having a successful education abroad experience is going to consist of two main things: becoming more independent and becoming immersed in the Spanish / Catalonian language. While coming to QU has certainly made me more independent, living in an apartment separate from the school in a foreign city with no meal plan is going to bring it up a level. With my independence, I will start with little steps – cooking my own meals, exploring a new part of the city alone, and eventually traveling to another country by myself. Immersion in the local language is also something that I am looking forward to and will use to characterize my success. I hope to be able to hold a conversation with a local by the end of the semester!

Sign-questions

The picture I chose is one of a signpost with signs pointing in every direction and labeled with all sorts of questions. My mind right now is racing, for I leave in just a couple of days and still have a lot to do and people I want to say goodbye to, etc. I’m trying to piece together a lot of things and get my mind in the right place to prepare for this Rite of Passage, all while continuing to work long hours. So, as of now at least, I find myself feeling a bit dazed, overthinking things, and trying to keep myself busy. I’m a bit all over the place for the time being, which is why this picture is fitting. After I land in Barcelona I think that will change and I will become more settled and relaxed.

Travel Log 2: “Rites of Separation: Looking Behind Looking Ahead: Expecting and Accepting the Unexpected” by Kristen Sullivan. Hamden, Conneticut

Preparing to leave for Spain has been completely different than I imagined. Because I am an Orientation Leader at Quinnipiac, I have to be at the university during the week before my departure. It was extremely stressful to pack one suitcase of my “reject” clothes that weren’t coming with me to Barcelona, as well as all of my stuff for abroad. I was leaving home a week earlier than expected so it really forced me to think about my separation letter and the importance of separating from my family. Being at Orientation and away from my family this week has forced us to begin to separate, but in a place that we were all familiar with. It is helping us transition into the next, and much bigger, separation. As I was writing my separation letter, I mostly was thinking of ground rules and important things I wanted to relay to my family, but it also helped me think about the things that would hold me back from transitioning from the liminal phase. A huge setback for me is the fear of missing out. I always want to be in more than place at once and with the people I love. I think a way to combat this is to stay off of social media, texting, and Skype as much as possible and embrace where I am.

In order to stay off social media and technology I have decided to not have an extensive phone plan while I am abroad. It is imperative for me to plunge right into the Spanish culture and make Barcelona my new home. Staying off my phone while I am outside of my room will be a huge part in doing this. This will keep me from getting my “fear of missing out” and will help me to avoid any type of home sickness. I’m going to try new things and fill my time with all that Barcelona has to offer. I never want to live the same day twice because that isn’t really living. Saint Augustine sums this up perfectly saying, “The world is a book and those who do not travel only read one page” (Saint Augustine).  I never want to be stuck in one place I want to travel to learn, grow, and discover. I want to go out of my way to discover things I never knew about or thought I would like and make the most out of my experience.

In my letter I talked to my family about all of these things and why they were imperative to my experience. Without separating I won’t fully be able to go through this rite of passage. I’m so blessed to have such a tight-knit family, and it makes saying goodbye so difficult, but through the letter I was able to convey everything that was important to me and why the use of my phone was especially important for me to move past the liminal phase and the feelings of being “betwixt and between.” I ended the letter with the cliché quote that, “I’m so lucky to have something so good that makes saying goodbye so hard.”  As I begin this journey I need to make a healthy separation from my family and life at home. Slimbach states, “Instead of indulging a sentimental longing for an irrecoverable past” we need to move forward in our new situation and use it to experience new things” (Slimbach 4).

I chose to put in a picture of me and my family from two weeks ago when we went to Niagara Falls. This is 11903820_980175215337631_6885935425583732281_nwhere I presented them with the letter of separation and we spent the last weekend together as a family before I leave. My mom and dad said to me as I was leaving, “We are so lucky you are able to have this adventure. Take advantage of every opportunity.” I can’t wait to show them everything I have learned and discovered and to start this journey.

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