Round 5: Vote for Your Favorite Photo!
Top 3 Entries Move on for a Chance to Win $500!
The polls for round 5 are now closed. The top 3 vote-getters have become finalists for our $500.00 college scholarship to be awarded this spring!
Check out all of our Spring 2013 finalists right here, and thanks for participating!
Vote for Your Favorite Photo!
- Mary Farr of Kennesaw, GA; photo of Nice, France (20%, 350 Votes)
- Victoria Russo of Latrobe, PA; photo of Florence, Italy (20%, 348 Votes)
- Andrew Noonoo of New York, NY; photo of Seoul, South Korea (19%, 333 Votes)
- Kathryn Shaw of Martinez, GA; photo of Nagoya, Japan (11%, 197 Votes)
- Katherine Trudeau of Saranac Lake, NY; photo of Dharamsala, India (10%, 170 Votes)
- Catherine Woodyard of Ellisville, MS; photo of Tataouine, Tunisia (9%, 164 Votes)
- Ivana Valenzuela of New York, NY; photo of Tongariro National Park, New Zealand (7%, 115 Votes)
- Kimberly Sanchez of Toledo, OH; photo of Lisbon, Portugal (4%, 87 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,764
Where this photo was taken: Nice, France
In one of the most fortunate summers of my life, I was able to travel to France with a group of students from my high school. We flew from Atlanta to Nice, France, and then traveled upwards to Avignon, and finally, to Paris. On a breezy summer day, our group headed out to Gardon river, which is traversed by an ancient Roman aqueduct. The photograph is of this aqueduct, known as the Pont du Gard. I was blown away by how incredibly preserved the old structure was. I was also shocked by the chill of the river as I jumped into it from a nearby cliff. But perhaps the most integral part of that day, and maybe of the entire trip, was making the realization that I felt more at home, more alive, in the South of France than I ever had in the States. This notion is what made me change my intended major from Biology to French, which in turn drastically altered my career path. Now, my ultimate goal is to spend my life in France, which I may have never known had I not been floating beneath the Pont du Gard that day.
Where this photo was taken: Seoul, South Korea
Prior to the 1945 division of Korea into zones of American and Russian occupation, it was long known as the Land of the Morning Calm. As such, I believe this photo of the “Secret Garden”- taken within the grounds of Changdeok Palace in Seoul, South Korea- justifies the claim. Such tranquility is deceptive, for driving only a few hours north of Seoul will bring the high tensions of the Demilitarized Zone into perspective. Perhaps now, more than ever, the people of North and South Korea must achieve solidarity to realize the tranquility for which their land is named. In 2008, I was living in South Korea as a soldier in the United States Army. During this time, I visited Changdeok Palace- largely ignorant of its history and significance within Korean culture. Now, as an East Asian Studies major, I plan to study abroad during the Fall 2013 semester at Yonsei University in Seoul. I will replace ignorance with knowledge and perhaps use images such as these to bring unification to North and South Korea. There is nowhere I would rather be than Seoul, South Korea!
Where this photo was taken: Florence, Italy
Freshman. Florence. Food. Il primo piatto was everything new. I went to my first college class and drank my first legal beer. I was surrounded by strange language. I stopped on every sidewalk taking in the scent of fresh bread rolling from bakery doors. Il vino and la pasta. The beginning. Il secondo was everything I learned. I finally realized that lui was a pronoun, not a person. I had a mamma and two fratelli. I picked up insults and hand gestures, I watched calcio, celebrated holidays and lived their lifestyle. I hung my clothes outside to dry and latched my balcony doors at night. I ate their food; the cow brain, liver and tongue. La carne and la verdura. The main course. Faccio la scarpetta. I’m the bread that soaked up all my semester “meal” had to offer. I made a great group of friends. I volunteered to read books to kids and interned with UNICEF. I studied Michelangelo and Artemisia, Machiavelli and Aristotle. I traveled Italy. Pasta alla carbonara. Pici con ragù di cinghiale. Risotto alla trevigiana. I came home with three months of experience and culture to digest thanks to la cena, la mia famiglia, l’Italia.
Where this photo was taken: Lisbon, Portugal
As I stood at the hilltop citadel of Castelo de São Jorge, I realized how important this unique sight will be to the rest of my life. As I carefully peered over the edge, my heart sank to see such architecture bearing a beautiful union of history and modernity. If only this photograph could capture the sounds, smells, and true essence of Lisbon that I was so fortunate to witness. There I met others from around the world, which served as a sweet reminder of humanity and solidarity. My experience in Portugal allowed me to break out of the classroom routine and gain a new globalized perspective. Immersed in a new language, I experienced parts of Portuguese culture first-hand that no textbook could ever give me. This photo is now a reminder of how this experience has changed how I see myself and my interaction with the world. I am so glad to have visited Lisbon and hope to embark on more adventures as I study abroad this summer in the Dominican Republic.
Where this photo was taken: Nagoya, Japan
I find it difficult to find just one photo that encompasses my feelings for studying abroad in Japan. Everything here takes my breath away, and every moment is like a dream come true. I still have trouble being able to fathom that I made it so far. I’ve met wonderful people, learned exciting new things, and viewed some of the most beautiful and famous scenery in the world. The photo I chose is of Kinkakujis Golden Temple in Kyoto. It is plated in real gold and is one of the most photographed landmarks in Japan. I especially enjoy this photo because it is not from the most common vantage point, which in a way represents how I usually see the world differently as well as being a foreigner in this magical kingdom. Everyone should have an experience like this at least once in their lifetime. Ive been blessed with the opportunity to live out my wildest dreams 24/7 for nearly 10 months.
Where this photo was taken: Dharamsala, India
Halfway through any great adventure you look introspectively and wonder to yourself, why in the world am I doing this? Halfway through study abroad I was stricken by homesickness and anxiety. During this period, I happened to be in Dharamsala where I stumbled upon these prayer wheels. Dharamsala is city of Tibetans who are living in exile. Tibetans aren’t the only ones seeking refuge here, however. I spent one evening cooking and playing slapjack with brothers who recounted the beauty of Kashmir, their homeland from which they are unable to return. I felt overwhelmed with gratitude for the home I knew I could return to, as well as alleviated my homesickness. Everyone I met was in the process of “creating” a home through community and compassion. I knew that I could do the same. The Tibetan prayer wheels are inscribed with the mantra “om mani padme hum.” This mantra is meant to help cultivate generosity, pure ethics, tolerance, perseverance, concentration and wisdom. I’m not a spiritual person, but I have adopted this mantra to say to myself in times of frustration to remember the generosity of the people I met and try to recreate their kindness.
Where this photo was taken: Tongariro National Park, New Zealand
This photo truly captures what the Tongariro Alpine Crossing meant to me. I signed up to complete this 19.4-kilometer trek during my visit to New Zealand because I was told that completing this hike was an amazing experience. This photo shows one of the few times I looked back during my climb. Considering that this walk was filled with unpredictable weather conditions and steep climbs, I was mainly focused on moving forward, but in this instant, I was able to appreciate how far I had come. In that moment, I understood this experience as a metaphor for my college experience. I have heard my family say that life is about the journey, not the destination, but being the goal-oriented person that I am, I did not understand them. Even though I was about half way through, I looked back because I knew I would not have the opportunity to hike Tongariro again. In the same way, I will not get to experience college in the same way again, therefore I need to stop and appreciate the journey, without worrying too much about the destination. Completing the Tongariro Alpine Crossing was a profound experience that I will never forget.
Where this photo was taken: Tataouine, Tunisia
To explain why this photo makes me glad I studied abroad, I need only to describe the context. First of all, we were in the Sahara desert. Yes, that khaki blotch in Africa–we camped there! Secondly, we were riding camels. Technically, they’re called dromedaries, but they’re only one hump away from being called camels. Thirdly, we were wearing real Tunisian garb (for which we had to pay two dinar; apparently it’s made to keep us safe from the sand storms; worth it). Lastly, we were in Tunisia! In the city featured in every Star Wars movie! In Africa! Thanks to the Sahara, dromedaries, Tunisian garb, and Star Wars, Tunisia made studying abroad worth it ten times over.