Tellus: (tel’us), n. 1. [Latin] earth, soil, and the land; a country; the world. 2. a collection of Willamette University student’s insights, stories, photos and thoughts from their experiences studying abroad.

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Tokunoshima, Japan »

This is a picture of me and a few friends on the highest point on Tokunoshima Island Japan. The guy on the right is actually a Willamette alum, who I met by chance during my stay there. It was about an hour long hike to the top in which we had to be weary of the “habu” (poisonous snakes) that lived in the surrounding forest.

Chilangolandia aka Mexico City »

On Top of the World »

During my mid-semester break in Perth, Australia, a group of 14 students, including me, road tripped 14 hours up the coast, to hit Karijini National Park. It is one of the most beautiful places in the middle of the outback, with lots of gorges and hikes. This picture was taken at the top of Mt. Bruce which is the second tallest mountain in all of Australia. It took us two and a half hours of serious hiking to make it up there. It was quite a feet, but the journey and the view at the top made it all worth it. There was no other moment like that the entire trip for me. It reminded me that hard work, laughter, and good friends can get you anywhere in life. Whether it be a job, a personal accomplishment, to just a really tough hike, it was completely worth it.

Wales »

This image was taken in Snowdonia in Wales and is possibly my favorite picture from my time abroad. Although I studied in Leicester, England, I took a trip out to Wales with some friends and we decided to do a hike in Snowdonia. Winds were blowing furiously and the ground got marshier as we went, but the views were spectacular and the isolation from technology and industry was indescribable. My friend took this photo of me on my camera while I wasn’t paying attention and I love that it captured a moment of peace in the midst of all of the chaos of being abroad in a completely foreign place.

Kutna Hora… A creepy history but a beautiful town »

Kunta Hora is famously known for the bone church, Sedlec Ossuary. This ossuary is a small Roman Catholic chapel that contains 40,000-70,000 bones that were placed in a decorative arrangement. The reason for the mass amount of bones was due to the exhuming of skeletons and staking them in a pile in the chapel. Between 1703 and 1710 Jan Santini Aichel designed the new front entrance to the chapel in Baroque style. In 1870 Frantisek Rint was employed by the famous Schwarzenberg family to make a masterpiece from the mass pile of bones.

The town of Kutna Hora is an adorable town in central Czech Republic. We had a wonderful day exploring not only the Ossuary, but two Catholic churches and the mysterious streets around town. Above are some highlights from our day trip and the beautiful town.


That’s me eating snails as a tapa in the bar right by my apartment. I was with my host mother and compañera de casa, totally in love with the newness of it all. Studying abroad was all about trying to things, eating new things, going to new places. I think you can tell by my face that I was pretty excited. Sometimes it was difficult to adjust, but then you remember you’re in Spain, and it’s going to be okay. There are so many tapas to eat.

Turkey »

A mid semester excursion from Istanbul to the south of Turkey for some deep water soloing was a highlight of my time abroad. Affordable domestic flights and over night buses made seeing the country easy and practical. Few things rival a week of climbing on the Mediterranean coast.


The Alhambra and Sierra Nevadas are important and famous landmarks of Granada, Spain.

Hallstatt, Austria »

Hallstatt, Austria

Pinhole Photographs in Rome, Italy »

These images were taken near the art campus at John Cabot University in Rome, Italy. Both were taken as part of my pinhole photography class, so both were shot with pinhole cameras. I made my camera from a small 6×9 inch wooden box with a hole the size of a pin cut into one side.

Photographing ancient buildings and structures throughout my semester abroad helped me learn to observe all of the small details present in structures in Rome. The first photo depicts 3 statues along the top of a church adjacent to the art campus. This inside of this church was extraordinary; however, every single church throughout Rome was comparably decorated and similarly beautiful. Studying fresco painting in close proximity to these gorgeous structures was pretty magical because if I was stuck on how to depict something in my class, I could walk next door and closely observe the work of masters who lived centuries before.

The second photo is of a street performer outside of Castel D’Sant Angelo. This ancient castle was where cardinals, priests, and the pope met before the Vatican was erected. Now a museum, it is a popular tourist destination. In Rome it is common for street performers to gather outside of famous landmarks and popular tourist sites. I remember the day that I took this photo, it was an ordinary day in class, but looking back on it now, the fact that I got the opportunity to take this picture is remarkable. Using a primitive form of photography to document these sites and structures helped me improve my observation skills and my ability to “see as an artist.”

I feel that both of these photos capture the degree to which I felt inspired (very) while studying in Rome. In the next 10 years, I would love to be granted to opportunity to return and create more art.