Tellus

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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Kerry excursion »

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This photo was taken during our excursion to Kerry. We were lucky enough to have great weather during our drive along the Dingle Peninsula, regarded as one of the most beautiful places in the world. For me, the drive along Dingle Peninsula really solidified that it was worth it to study abroad.

London Study Abroad: First Week »

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I took this picture during my first week in London. The tube was always an interesting adventure. Someone once told me, “Theatre is a journey. Even if you take the same route to work every single day of your life, the journey is always different”. This is something I finally understood what this meant at the very end of my study abroad experience, while riding the same line that I took almost every day to Piccadilly Circus in central London. It didn’t matter if I left at the exact same time as the day before. I learned something whenever I was on the tube from the people taking the journey with me.

 

One day, I stepped onto the tube and there was an old man and his dog. The old man was sound asleep through the jerking train and the talking people. The dog in his lap kept his nose right under his owner’s chin, as if to check in, to make sure he was okay, to keep him from waking up, to help him rest.

Another day, I walked onto the tube an there was a folk band. Falling, tipping, crashing into each other as the train rolled on unforgivingly, they played tenaciously and happily for the passengers. They didn’t have a hat out for coins. They didn’t have a sign that announced who they were. They simply were playing beautiful music.

On my last tube ride, I looked around the packed train and noticed how small I was, how little I knew. I noticed how much of a gift this entire experience was. I realized how fortunate we are to have other human beings in this world to learn from, to grow from, to teach us compassion, to illuminate darkness, to keep us from falling asleep.

 

-Mary Rose Branick

London, Fall ’15

Abbey’s Time in Granada, Spain »

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This picture embodies Granada for me. The beautiful Mudejar style (mixture of arabic and western Christian styles) is all over Granada which reflects the complex history and influences of Southern Spain.

When in Zurich: Never Judge by First Looks (Especially on Parade Day!) »

My first couple days in Zurich were spent in my apartment, resting from my travels and adapting to the time change. Finally, I decided to venture out into the city – about half an hour from where I lived on the outskirts of town.

I was met by quite a shock.

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The people were dressed in the most bizarre outfits. Many of them walked in groups, all dressed in the same theme. These outfits ranged from men in tutu’s to sadistic cupids to Hulks to clowns. The diversity and creativity was incredible. My thoughts were “wow, the Swiss fashion is really out there!”

Another shock was the street lavatories – totally in view of anyone passing by.

After a few hours, I realized that this was in fact a parade. As it later turned out, the Zurich Street Parade is the largest annually in the city! There were over a million people (compared to the 850,000 population).

This really taught me not to judge by first looks!

It turned out the Swiss actually dress very conservatively, preferring not to stand out too much from the crowd, so in fact this was completely opposite of my initial thoughts.

The Roman Facade »

This is an image of the ancient forum in Rome, Italy.

This is an image of the ancient forum in Rome, Italy.

This image is significant to me because one of the biggest lessons that I learned during my time studying abroad in Rome is that there isn’t anything ‘ancient’ about the ancient Rome that people would see around them in the city. I learned in my sociology course on Rome as a modern city that the physical landscape of Rome, and especially of the ‘ancient’ parts were shaped with a political purpose. Almost all of the parts of ancient Rome that I could see were excavated and reconstructed. So, if parts of the temple and the forum were reconstructed, then they’re not exactly ancient still, at least not physically. It is actually the idea of Rome as ancient and it as an eternal city that is significant. This knowledge completely changed my perspective of Rome, and if anything, made the city even more interesting because the whole place is a contradiction of old and new that is blended together.

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Nearing the end of my semester, here I stand at the top of “Parque Güell,” in Barcelona, Spain. I had discovered that my friend from my hometown was living in Madrid. She is a very special friend to me. We have competed together for years running track. She would beat me, I would beat her, then we would go run a 4×400 at conference and state and beat everyone. She ran at Brown, I run at Willamette, and still to this day with work-out and compete with the help of one-another when we are back home…Apparently we do that regardless of where we are in the world. After three days of non-stop exploring the city by day and indulging in the night’s festivities we continued for a fourth day which consisted of getting churros and chocolate at 6 am, sleeping for three hours, climbing to the top of Montjuic, getting lost, encountering a band of jazz players playing for a massive group of people who asked us to sing with them, making it to the Picasso museum by 3p.m. on the dot so we could enter for free, to then hike up to Park Guell because we wanted to “challenge” each other and not take the bus, to then go shop for an hour, get our last meal together and part ways–her bus leaving at 11p.m. and my flight leaving at 6:30 a.m. the next morning.

Worth it.

 

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Milford Sound Extravaganza »

This is an image of Milford Sound in Fjordland. I went with a couple of friends just before finals started, and it was the last big trip I took in New Zealand. It involved kea parrots landing on our car and trying to steal the mirrors, boats, penguins, almost getting snowed in, sore butts from all the driving, lots and lots of singalongs to songs we would never admit we actually knew, tramping, learning how to put chains on a car, gorgeous sights, and getting absolutely soaked from all the rain, fog, and waterfalls. The best form of procrastination! And a wonderful send off as well. 

Our last trip to Dublin »

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This is a photo captured at the Cliffs of Moher in Galway, Ireland with my six other close friends I made while abroad. It is significant to my international experience because it was our last weekend trip we took while abroad. We had only been able to take three trips where our whole friend group could go, which was seven people, so it was pretty special to be on our last trip all together. In order to do this, we had to take a bus tour that picked us up at 6am. We anticipated that it was going to be raining and windy and cold up there but boy we were still caught off guard. The rain was sideways and the mud was thick but it did not take away from the beauty of that place at all. Managing to get this picture was quite an accomplishment simply due to the fact that we all don’t look like a mess. I believe this photo is very indicative of how our friendship, and most of our weekend trips were all semester. We were, by no means, any of the same people and many times we would argue about petty things on trips but in the end we were able to put it together and make great memories together.

That time I went to the driest desert in the world »

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I chose this picture because it was one of the best weeks of my life. My best friend from study abroad and I went to the Atacama Desert for spring break and it was amazing!!! The desert goes on for miles and miles and we got to explore a lot it. We went to 3 different valleys, climbed to the tallest sand dune to watch the sunset, went on a geyser tour and went star gazing! We also got to hang out with a bunch of people from our group and it was a chance to explore the beautiful country of Chile. Studying abroad was one of the best experiences of my life, I will never forget it!

An Unexpected Family »

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This picture was taken when my friends and I decided that we all really needed a vacation so we all piled into a couple cars and drove to Queenstown. It was a spur of the moment trip and was one of the most fun trips I have been on. I miss my NZ family!

There and back again »

This is at the beginning of the Camino de Santiago in northern Portugal. While it was a great physical challenge (114k in 4 days!) it was a very memorable and fulfilling experience.

TELLUS Submission. Hong Kong »

My film camera malfunctioned and accidentally took all 36 pictures in one frame. The surprising result was a multiple exposure of all the images, each being a different scene of Hong Kong. Within the image, you can spot different snapshots, some being easy to notice and others hidden among the chaos.

My film camera malfunctioned and accidentally took all 36 pictures in one frame. The surprising result was a multiple exposure of all the images, each being a different scene of Hong Kong. Within the image, you can spot different snapshots, some being easy to notice and others hidden among the chaos.

I miss you already »

Coming back from my semester in Japan has been harder than I  expected. I miss my host family very much and I couldn’t have asked for a more fulfilling experience. This is us at Mount Fuji in November. If you’re interested in studying abroad in Japan and have questions feel free to contact me. IMAG1471

An unforgettable trip with unforgettable women »

An unforgettable trip with unforgettable women-

I never imagined joining a sorority would help me while I was abroad, but it turned out that through our similar interests I found 5 amazing women abroad that turned into my best friends and travel buddies for 3 months, and helped change my world. This photo was taken on our very first adventure together, a weekend in Firenze, Italia after hiking 500 feet up the Duomo.I will forever remember embarking on our first European trip with people I had just met, and who turned into people I will never be able to forget.

 

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Life Cycle 2.0 »

We think death is morbid, but its actually not! It’s the other reality of life. For me, it was a little beautiful to see both sides of the life cycle. The Galapagos were an incredible experience that made me really appreciate seeing the life and then even finding the beautiful things in the things that are not living.

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R(h)ome »

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This was one of my first trips that I took to the Roman Forum during my abroad trip in Rome. It was a very hot day but finding out that the Forum was only about a 20 minute walk from my apartment made me incredibly happy. Looking back on my travels I realize now how integrated the Forum became in my everyday life in Rome. I always passed it on the bus coming back from the aiport from my out of country travels, it was a consistent meeting spot for my friends and I before we started our weekend adventures, and just like that it became one of my most fond memories of Rome.

The Talland School- Ampney Knowle, Cirencester, UK »

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Three horses later, after two hours in the saddle in a freezing cold arena, I was tired and sore, but so happy! True, I definitely wasn’t the best rider of the bunch, especially since I wasn’t British (they’re the best *of course*) however it was still an awesome, unexpected experience to join in on a hunt seat class in a foreign country.

 

This chance to ride at the Talland School of Equitation, located just outside London, had literally come up at the last minute.  It was already October and I hadn’t ridden once in the past two months in an effort to adjust to life at university in France.  As great as studying abroad was, I had missed it.  So, in spite of my failure to plan ahead, I decided to just do it and hop the train the England. I had nothing to lose, besides missing a French class or two… There wasn’t anyone who could go with me (or who had the interest) so I went alone. To my surprise, it wasn’t terrifying or terrible, granted I soon discovered the benefits of traveling with friends: if you do get lost, at least you’re not the only one stupidly wandering around asking questions. Oh well, between the good graces of God and the kind people who helped me find my way: a Chinese exchange student, an Oxford student, an older Willamette grad and a jolly ol’ British Riding Instructor, I made it to Talland! So, whether or not I land a real ‘professional’ job after Willamette, at least I’ll have a few connections abroad in the equine world 🙂

10 Days Unplugged and Keyed In »

 

Atacama Desert, Northern Chile

Atacama Desert, Northern Chile

During my semester abroad in Chile, I was lucky enough to have time to explore the very long and diverse geographic country. This particular photo was taken during the week we had off of school during “Fiestas Patrias” which is Chile’s independence week celebration. Myself and five other students took off to the Atacama Desert in Northern Chile for 10 days of camping, hiking, exploring, rock climbing, bonding and bumming around in a van. Completely away from all forms of technology (apart from some awesome driving music), I was able to really get in touch with the beauty that the land had to offer. Sometimes, I find that I get so caught up in the day to day responsibilities of being a student, that I loose sight of the bigger picture. I had never visited a desert before, so what a slap in the face to visit the driest place on Earth. However, my expectations of a desert were not met. I was blown away at the beauty of such a place. The colors constantly changing, the immense power of complete silence, so much so that if one held their breath all you could hear was the pounding of ones own heartbeat, the diversity of the land from mountains, to lakes, to sand dunes, and back to caverns and hot springs. I fell in love with the Atacama Desert, and came back to my studies rejuvenated and able to enjoy the ‘little things’ that much more.

Soccer game in Angers, France »

This picture was taken at a "football" game in Angers. One of my French conversation partners had an extra ticket and I was lucky enough to go with him. This year was the first time that Angers was in the first league in France, and they were ranked #2 behind Paris for quite a while! The game was extremely loud for being in such a small stadium (compared to the ones here in the US) and the fans were slightly crazy (we heard about knife fights happening). Although the match ended at 0-0, it was an amazing experience that made me feel like a true Français. Allez le SCO!

This picture was taken at a “football” game in Angers. One of my French conversation partners had an extra ticket and I was lucky enough to go with him. This year was the first time that Angers was in the first league in France, and they were ranked #2 behind Paris for quite a while! The game was extremely loud for being in such a small stadium (compared to the ones here in the US) and the fans were slightly crazy (we heard about knife fights happening). Although the match ended at 0-0, it was an amazing experience that made me feel like a true Français. Allez le SCO!

Nigardsbreen Glacier- Jostedalen, Norway »

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This picture is of the time my friends and I hiked Nigardsbreen Glacier one Saturday morning in October.  This was the first time any of us hiked up a glacier, so it was fun, exciting, and kind of scary all at once!  We had a harness, rope, crampon on our shoes, and an ice pick.  After getting used to hiking with all of this strange gear, the journey went a lot smoother.  This picture is significant to me because it is with my closest friend I made being in Norway.  We were about halfway up the glacier and thought this was a perfect spot to take a picture.  The whole time, we were in awe of the beauty of this place!  This adventure is in the top things I did abroad and something I will always remember.

We were so excited and happy the whole time!  We also kept saying we couldn’t believe that we were hiking a glacier.  It was such an on-top-of-the-world feeling.  I would love to go back to Norway and hike this again! When I look back at my pictures from this trip, I still feel all the feelings I did when this was happening. We were inspired to take this picture to try to capture everything that was happening- the great friends, breathtaking view, and amazing experience. Also, our friend had a really nice camera, so that was a bonus.

Irish Culture »

“St. Patrick’s day is about drinking, duh,” that is the response I got when asking my Irish housemates what this holiday was celebrating. One of their friends chimed in saying that St. Patrick was some guy that helped with some religious stuff. With that detailed description of St. Patrick I stopped my questioning and joined in on the festivities. This holiday was like one I had never experienced before. Read the rest

Roy’s Peak »

This is a picture from my very first hike in New Zealand and my first weekend leaving Dunedin. We began the day waking up in a house that was being rented by a couple wandering hippie types who were being kicked out of the place that morning who were all trying to figure out their next step. Our next step was up to Roy’s Peak. We began hiking around 10am, fueled by black instant coffee and two day old sandwiches from a bakery. The hike was a solid uphill climb for a couple hours. After the first hour a couple of us ditched our boots due to blisters. Despite a couple thorns in our feet and painful steps on the rocky parts of the trail, our quest was successful. Above is mine and my flatmate’s view at an elevation of over 5,000 feet where we stood shoe less and awe-struck. This day was the first of many adventures and many memories.

Istanbul Marathon 2014 »

This picture resonates deeply with my time abroad. I ran the Istanbul Marathon almost a year ago today and still feel a sense of excitement from the experience. The marathon is the only time of the year that one can cross the Bosphorus straight on foot, and it is the only marathon that crosses two continents, Europe and Asia. It was a pretty surreal moment when you are out on the Bosphorus bridge with tens of thousands of people and could actually feel the bridge swaying from the weight of all the people running.

Study Abroad Experience in Dunedin »

This is a picture that was taken over holiday break on the Kepler track in New Zealand. Hiking on a mountain track above the clouds was an amazing experience. The trip was made even better by my two roommates from in New Zealand and my friend Madeline from Willamette. There was no other group I would rather spend a week traveling with. It was the perfect combination and great views with new and old friends.

This is a picture that was taken over holiday break on the Kepler track in New Zealand. Hiking on a mountain track above the clouds was an amazing experience. The trip was made even better by my two roommates from in New Zealand and my friend Madeline from Willamette. There was no other group I would rather spend a week traveling with. It was the perfect combination and great views with new and old friends.

Karinjini National Park »

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This photo accurately sums up my absolute awe for the natural beauties of Western Australia.

Although much of my experience in Perth, Western Australia consisted of the beach, studying, and being enveloped by my residence’s ominous planned activities, I was fortunate enough to embark on a ten-day road trip spanning from Perth all the way to Karinjini National Park, traveling roughly 1,500 km just one-way with twenty other international students. Read the rest