Rite of Passage

Essay by melissaknott August 2009

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Part I - Rite of PassageFor both genders, the rite of passage will be one of separation from peers, family and home for a summer abroad. Female is 14, Male is 13; siblings from same household. Parents together, upper middle class income,Through their school, both have been invited to participate in a Summer Abroad Program in France, living with separate French families in a medium sized town, and taking summer classes with other American students at the local university. The idea of the program is to expose American students to other cultures, improve their foreign language skills, and to learn social and communication skills in a unique environment, far from the comforts of home. For the purposes of this study, we will name them John and Mary.

In their own environment, both adolescents are social, each having a small group of friends that share similar interests: Mary is interested in drama and music, plays in the school band and orchestra, and is very outgoing; John, while being bookish, enjoys swimming and individual competitive sports, does play in the band, but is only mildly interested in musica.

The strength and changeability of peer relations:. In adolescence, peer relationships play a more central role within their emotional and cognitive structure than ever before. Negative peer relationships can lead to anti-social behaviors, but also to the contribution of learning about relationships, sharing of emotions, and learning to be an independent adult. Peer culture refers to the manner in which social groups promote normative behavior, both internally and externally for children and adolescents. Mary and John have known many of their peers throughout elementary school, and while there are variations and changes in one-to-one relationships, and certainly a greater emphasis on learning to date, there is also a familiarityBy summering in Europe, John and...