When “You had to be there” just isn’t enough, a picture is worth a thousand words.
For students studying abroad, their insights and adventures into foreign lands are often self-photo documented.
Before last semester, SRU students studying abroad shared most of their photos from their trips with family and friends, until International Services graduate assistant and student affairs major, Tess Crispin, 23, and the International Services staff at SRU noticed that many students that had studied abroad returned back to campus with several noteworthy photos from their trips. From this, Crispin and the Office of International Services came up with the idea to sponsor a study abroad photo competition for students photographing their study abroad experiences.
“It was our way of welcoming home our study abroad students,” Crispin said. “So many students came back from wherever they studied with so many excellent photos, and so we really wanted to reward them for that.”
Crispin said the contest is still a work in progress, but it has started to spark some interest among students.
“We started the competition last semester,” she said. “So we’re still working out some of the details. But the way we pick the winner is by allowing students who are interested in being part of the competition to submit their photos to the International Services office. Then the staff votes for their favorite photo, and the winner is announced.”
The winner of this semester’s study abroad photo competition was junior business management major Will Cassidy.
While studying at Victoria University in Australia, Cassidy, 21, said he enjoyed his outback adventure, meeting new friends and taking plenty of pictures along the way.
“The two guys in the picture with me were both German exchange students,” Cassidy said. “We had been backpacking together for several months and one day we rented a four-wheel drive vehicle on Fraser Island in Eastern Australia and decided to take a spur of the moment picture for our families. It was our last week together and we just wanted to have fun and relax.”
Cassidy said the picture was taken for the boys’ families who were most likely experiencing snow. Cassidy’s photo was a change of scenery for his family.
“So we got some Santa hats and wrote ‘Merry Xmas’ in the sand,” he said. “It was to kind of make our families jealous since we were on the beach for Christmas time.”
Cassidy said he enjoyed his time spent in Australia and studying at Victoria University. Among some of Cassidy’s favorite Australian activities were scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef and sailing around the Whitsunday Islands.
“Spending the holiday season in Australia was certainly a different experience for me,” Cassidy said. “But I really enjoyed it.”
Ringing in the New Year in Perth, located in Western Australia, was also one of his favorite experiences during the trip, Cassidy said.
He said it’s too difficult to name the best part about the trip, but some of the things he enjoyed the most included rock climbing at Grampians National Park and Mount Arapiles in Victoria, Australia. Cassidy said he also enjoyed spending time in Western Australia at Coral Bay, north of the city of Perth, and at Byron Bay, located to the northeast in New South Wales, Australia.
One of the most memorable activities in Australia was the Zombie Shuffle in Melbourne around Halloween time, Cassidy said. He said it was very similar to the Zombie Walk held nationwide in America that most are familiar with.
When asked to describe his favorite part of the trip, Cassidy was indecisive and said the whole trip itself was unforgettable.
“Taking the trip to Australia was well-worthwhile,” Cassidy said. “The memories I made and the people I met while studying abroad were an experience of a lifetime.”