Studying abroad can be a life-changing experience for undergraduates, as they expand their perspectives in an increasingly interconnected world. This year's winners of Bucknell's International Photo Contest, which took place during International Education Week, Nov. 14–18, submitted photos that they say reflect the impact their international experiences had on them.
The U.S. Department of State and the Department of Education started International Education Week in 2000 as a way to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange. Now it is observed at schools and campuses in more than 100 countries. Bucknell celebrates the November tradition annually.
"Our aim is for the entire campus community to gain a deeper appreciation of our interconnected, global world," said Anita Casper, global education adviser. "We recognize the many international events that happen on campus during the entire month of November, which include student organization dinners, arts and cultural programming and events with an academic focus. This year the Office of Global & Off-campus Education coordinated 'Viewpoints on Immigration from Abroad,' a panel discussion that presented a personal side to this complicated issue as students, staff and faculty shared their stories."
The photo contest has become an important aspect of the week, said Jennifer Figueroa, director of International Student Services, whose office coordinates the contest. "The annual International Education Week Photo Contest allows us to publicly appreciate and celebrate the artistic expression, learning and cultural appreciation that can happen through travel," said Figueroa. "Our students submit photos taken outside of their home country, and they remind us to explore other cultures, learn from each other and embrace the unknown."
This year's winners were chosen from 93 entries in five categories: cityscape, animals and wildlife, nature, people, and culture and traditions. See their photos — and the stories behind them — below. Photos will be on display in Bertrand Library through January.
Winner – Cityscape
Nono Fan '20, undeclared management
Studies abroad in: United States
Photo taken in: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
"As an international student from China, I am now studying abroad. I love traveling and have been to many different countries. I think this experience lets me accept different cultures and people easily. I am always curious about different countries and cultures and want to learn more about them in my future study."
Winner – Animals and Wildlife
Payton Kirkpatrick '17, biology
Studied abroad: Spring 2016, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
Photo taken in: Wanaka, New Zealand
"My study abroad experience was very important to my education at Bucknell. By studying abroad I got to experience what a different educational setting was like, and better engage with the aspects of Bucknell's educational system when I returned to school the following fall."
Winner – Nature
Khoi Le '18, computer science
Studied abroad: Summer 2016, Kyoto, Japan
Photo taken in: Kyoto, Japan
Winner – People
Morgan Robison '17, markets, innovation & design and studio art
Studied abroad: Spring 2016, Semester at Sea
Photo taken in: Mui Ne, Vietnam
"Studying abroad is an essential component to who I have become today. As someone who loves to learn, studying abroad made the world my campus, and although there is no way to make that not sound cliche, it is the truth. I felt the widest and most intense range of emotions and found commonalities with those who have lived very different lives than my own. It exposed me to what is really important, and it impacted how I want to spend my time after college. It gave me the push out of the nest I needed to know there is still a great unknown to navigate, and it opened my heart to do so fearlessly."
Winner – Culture and Traditions
Alexa Presto '17, interdepartmental
Studied abroad: Fall 2015, Semester at Sea
Photo taken in: Sahara Desert, Morocco
"Studying abroad on Semester at Sea allowed me to acquire a perspective on the economies, challenges and conflicts affecting developed and emerging nations. I had the opportunity to learn how many of these economies look at sustainability and harness energy with their natural resources. When I returned to Bucknell, my experience brought an international perspective to my continued studies in real estate and sustainable urban development, as well as to my conversations with my professors and fellow students."