Study Abroad Photo Contest Winners Announced
And the winnerS ARE...
Best Overall, Corey Alpert
Holi festival in Brisbane, QLD
I had a very unconventional study abroad experience. I studied at the University of Queensland for two semesters, plus the Australian summer in between (and a winter in New Zealand). My first semester was wracked with loneliness because I was far away from my family for the first time. I had lived in Brisbane for a while as a kid, but my family had since gone back to the US. So I dove in with both feet.
I took three massive road trips while I was there. The first went all the way up the eastern coast of Australia to Cairns. I fell asleep one night in the car by a beach, and I woke up to kangaroos jumping across the beach. The second was through the Outback. I got in a really nasty car crash in the middle of the outback, the escape from which involves a 10 hour train ride, a lot of red sand, and Skinny Love by Bon Iver. The third was to Adelaide, which also involved a bit of Outback driving, but it was far less eventful.
I also got to work at a few festivals. I stage managed at Woodford Folk Festival, where I got to see nearly 100,000 people join us to celebrate New Years.
In all, it was one of the best experiences of my life. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Category: Best Story
First Place, Sidney Cutter
The name Senegal comes from Wolof sunu gal meaning “our boat,” a reminder that we— the people of the world— are all in the same boat together and should constantly be helping each other. This mindset is reflected in the Senegalese culture and people who are all so welcoming and sharing.
Second Place, Kelley Kennedy
Christmas Market in Edinburgh, Scotland in December 2016. All of the Christmas markets I visited were wonderfully multicultural spaces where I met other Americans as well as people from all over Europe. On the same night this photo was taken, I met two German students with whom I travelled in Edinburgh for a few days, and together we hiked rocky trails and tried our first sips of real Scotch.
Category: Most Artistic
First Place, Stephen Cupschalk
I was on a study abroad trip with my French 209 and 210 classes. We were part of a program between two schools called Raison d'Etre: A Transatlantic Learning Project. This photo was taken during our trip to Paris lasting from March 3-13 (spring break). The photo is a reflection photo of the Notre Dame Cathedral that is framed by the arch of a bridge that goes over a walkway next to the Seine river.
Second Place, Alessandro Berloffa
“Window to the Highlands.” I studied abroad in Spring 2016 at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. This picture was taken from atop Dun na Cuaiche which overlooks the town of Inveraray. At the top of the hill sits a stone monument which is little more than a small room in which I took this picture. The hike to the top was quite memorable and the view only made it more so. This trip was significant to my study abroad experience inspired me to go hiking more to see the natural beauty of Scotland rather than spend my time in the bustling city of Glasgow.
First Place, Brooke Troxell
Here is a picture from my study abroad experience last spring in Australia. This picture is of the Hamelin Pool stromatolites in Shark Bay, Western Australia. I chose this picture because the first conclusive, fossil evidence we have of life on earth are stromatolites – a type of microbial mat – from 3.7 billion years ago. These pioneers survived in shallow, salty pools exposed to extremely high level of ultra-violet light pumping the first bits of oxygen into our atmosphere. There are only a few spots left on earth where stromatolites can exist and one of the best examples is Shark Bay, Western Australia. Lots of people like to marvel at sharks and crocodiles at how they have remained relatively unchanged for thousands or maybe even millions of years. But when I stepped onto the boardwalk at Hamelin Pool in Shark Bay, I was transported to a world even more ancient. I could see the earth over three billion years ago: hot and salty with almost no atmosphere but nevertheless, against all odds, tiny organisms converting the harsh rays into hydrocarbons and oxygen in an environment so inhospitable that over the course of 3.7 billion years only one other type of organism has been able to co-habit. Visiting the Hamelin Pool stromatolites was easily the highlight of my semester abroad and one of the most memorable experiences of my life. It was surreal to translate a picture in a textbook to a real-life experience. The stromatolites were similar to the pictures I saw in class but they varied in color from the shore to the deeper parts of the bay which is often not shown very well in pictures. I learned from information at Hamelin Pool that this is because the structures closer to shore are more directly exposed to sunlight and have risk of desiccation so they produce special compounds to help protect them that the structures in deeper water do not need.
Second Place, Julia Hogan
This photo was taken while I was hiking in the Cairngorm mountains in Scotland. I travelled to Aviemore to hike alone, and because my phone was dead, I had no way to contact the outside world. I spent three days in the snow covered mountains and hills, among breathtaking views. I walked through farms and fields, wherever I decided to go. This photo was taken on the top of one of the Cairngorms, with the rest of the ridge in the distance. The stack of rocks is called a "Cairn," where people leave a stone in memory of their time there. Though I didn't add to the cairn, I thought about how we all carry cairns of the places we go inside of us. At that point I'd been to almost nine countries, entirely alone. And each of these countries had a separate imprint on me.
Third place, Abigail Hardee
Location: Huangshan (The Yellow Mountains) Anhui Province, China (黄山，安徽省，中国）
First Place, Jordan Wayburn
This photo is from the Taronga Zoo in Sydney Australia where I spent last semester. I took it on my second day in Australia and before I'd even gone to my university. It just represents perfectly what I got out of Australia: wonderful wildlife as a focus, with real-life cities and culture that took me in as a background.
Second Place, Rebecca Steptoe
This photograph was captured from the top of the Galeries Lafayette department store in Paris, France in May 2016. This photograph captures so well how my preconceived notion of what Paris was like was shattered when I actually went there. I had a fantasy of Paris as this romantic, fanciful city filled with ornate old buildings, little cafes, and of course, the looming Eiffel Tower. And, in one sense, Paris really is all of those things. However, standing atop of a department store in the middle of Paris and looking out over the city gave me a completely different perspective. I realized, standing atop of a mall, looking across a city plastered with celebrities faces on ads and tour buses filling the streets, that Paris is as much of a product of modernity as any other large city. Just because they speak French and drink a lot of espresso doesn’t mean that Parisians are somehow stuck in a romantic pre-modern vision. I think the the cloudy and grey the sky in the photograph helps disintegrate that romanticism as Paris as this perfect place. Additionally, I also love in this picture how small the Eiffel Tower looks. It seems like every picture or conception of Paris is centered on that tower, so seeing it offset and cast in a diminutive light helped me appreciate the many other architectural beauties of Paris in captured in this picture alone. Going to Paris helped me see it as a real city, a city filled with real people who have way more in common with me that I originally imagined. Paris is more than the Eiffel Tower and some baguettes, it is where history and the current collide to create something much more visceral than just some antiquated, romantic city.
First Place, Neil Sauter
This picture was taken outside the Rootes building (where I lived for the year) on the University of Warwick's campus in Coventry, England. It was from the very end of the academic year in June, when my time abroad was coming to a close and I was really beginning to reflect on the experience as a whole and the impact it had on me. The picture itself is significant because it is not only a group of some of the closest friends I made while abroad, but one of the most diverse groups of people I have ever had the pleasure of spending time with. From the top left to bottom right of the photo there is an American born woman who's family moved to Italy and was schooled in England, a Portuguese woman who was schooled in Zurich, myself in the top row middle, a Dutchman born in Singapore who lives in Dusseldorf, an Italian woman, an Australian exchange student who was born in Singapore and who's parents now live in Cambodia, and a Russian woman who was schooled in England and who's parents now live Riga, Latvia. I met this group of friends in the first week I spent in England, and over the course of the year we only grew closer. The fact that I could meet such an interesting and diverse amalgamation of people was one of the most amazing facts about my time abroad, and it really broadened my cultural horizons.
Second Place, Jessica McMinn
I am currently studying abroad in Hong Kong for IBCE. This picture was taken over Christmas break when I went with friend to visit her grandparents in New Delhi. Going to India has been a lifelong dream of mine and I was lucky enough to get to go to her cousin's wedding while there. It was the most colorful and cultural ceremony I've been able to attend. Being able to go to India for Christmas was a true expression of what we call the 'IBCE spirit' and the family we become. I had only met this friend three months before she invited me to come home with her. Despite my inability to speak Hindi and her family's limited English, they embraced me with open arms and endless love. Being able to live my wildest dreams, and do so with new friends is just one of the perks that is the crazy ride of IBCE.
Third Place, Melaina Dyck
Altiplanic Lagoons in the northern Atacama Desert, Chile. September 12, 2015
The Altiplanic Lagoons were my single favorite place I visited while studying abroad for six months in Chile. At more than 4000 meters above sea level, the environment around the lagoons is a sharp contrast to the warmer desert below. The intensely blue water rimmed by towering volcanoes is breathtaking--quite literally, it took a few minutes to adjust to the lower oxygen conditions. Like nothing I have seen anywhere else in the world, this place is forever engraved in my mind.
Above: A kangaroo in Cairns, Australia by Corey Alpert