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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Stumbling Across A Painful History »

Holocaust Memorial Tiles in Berlin

It was spring break. After spending two and a half months in Galway, Ireland, I set off to Berlin. I spent four days in the city before I stopped and looked more closely at the metallic stones I glanced dotting the street as I rushed to and from the tourist spots. I was stunned as I read the stones, realizing that all over the city small memorials dotted the streets, markers of those taken from their homes in the Holocaust. I immediately snapped a picture, and found myself taking dozens more as I took the time to stop and read everyone I stumbled across. The memorials were incredibly moving, and taking the moment to stop, to witness the significance of such a seemingly small thing, a cobble stone in the street, gave me an entire new way of seeing the city. As I appreciated the incredible city that Berlin had become since WWII, walking over the stones was a constant reminder of the past, a subtle nudge, almost subconscious, that pushed me to think, “never forget, never again.” It was a moral statement that for those who stopped to look at the stones and understood what they walked across, was a constant reminder of how the city should be, and the moral values it must always uphold.

When I returned to Ireland, I found myself noticing and pursuing information on small statues and monuments that I had walked past in Galway, but never really thought to understand. I soon found that in and around Galway there were monuments to remember the women abused and mistreated in the Magdalene Laundries, and for those who had been victims to other horrendous abuses of the Catholic Church. Slowly, as I walked past the monuments every day, no longer with ignorance to their meaning, I felt my view of Ireland changing.  I could feel how the monuments for those in Ireland who truly understood them and drove past them everyday, could provide the same subtle reminder as in Berlin, a constant undertone of morality that reminded the Irish to never forget about the wrong done by those who would claim moral authority over the country. Those monuments, even with the most subtle reminder, made their message heard when Ireland passed their referendum on Gay Marriage. The moral consciousness of Ireland had changed, due in no small part to the constant reminders, however small, that prompted the Irish every day to remember the moral failings of the past.

 

Flashback Friday »

A photo of me in Anger, France! :) This photo was taken on top of the castle in Angers and was our first excursion as an AHA group. It was a wonderful experience and a great opportunity to meet new people. I think this is my favorite photo of my entire time. Enjoy!Anger, France

My Trip to Bali. »

Waking up at 2 a.m., climbing a volcano to watch the sunrise over the mountains and ocean in Bali, Indonesia. I will always remember the life long friendships made, the places I'v been and the memories I've made.

Waking up at 2 a.m., climbing a volcano to watch the sunrise over the mountains and ocean in Bali, Indonesia. I will always remember the life long friendships made, the places I’v been and the memories I’ve made.

Wandering around Europe »

Pre-study abroad I’d always considered myself to be a meticulous planner. I like to be able to have a plan before jumping into anything, which can be a good and a bad thing. The travel partners I met in Germany definitely changed that for the better. There were days where I would take the bus to the Hauptbahnhof and jump on a train because I was bored and get off at a stop that looked or sounded interesting and because I could. I stayed with a girl that visited my high school for 4 weeks in Münich because it meant being able to go to Oktoberfest without paying an absurd amount for a youth hostel. One night at a party I was talking to someone I just met about going to Paris the next morning, and she enthusiastically agreed. It never happened, but the possibility of it was incredible. I felt like the entire world lay at my feet and I could get there from the bus stop outside my apartment. I definitely caught a case of the travel bug.

A phrase that really stuck with my in my adventure was “you can never get lost if you don’t know where you are going”. So when my friends and I would travel, we usually spent the first day wandering around a new city and we always stumbled upon really amazing things that we might not otherwise have experienced had we had a set plan. My friend and I went to Hamburg simply to eat good fish, and it was definitely a mission accomplished. In one weekend we had sushi/cooked fish 4 times. While we were there, we took a day trip to Lübeck, and we were looking for a coffee shop and ended up walking right into a Lübecker Mazipan store by accident. My mom bought Lübecker Mazipan every year for Christmas to put in my brother and I’s stockings. It’s the little things sometimes that make the most lasting impact.

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The beginning of the biggest adventure of my life. All of the fear, excitement, adrenaline, confusion and curiosity had finally led me to the place I had dreamed of being for so long. In this photo I had just discovered that there was a castle in the center of my temporary home…Bienvenue a Angers!

An International Meal, Angers France »

An international meal with people from 10 different countries!  Studying abroad not only lets you experience the culture of the country you're in, but also the cultures of people from around the world.  Study abroad not only gives you a better perspective of the country you're visiting, it gives you a global perspective.

An international meal with people from 10 different countries! Studying abroad not only lets you experience the culture of the country you’re in, but also the cultures of people from around the world. Study abroad not only gives you a better perspective of the country you’re visiting, it gives you a global perspective.

A New Thanksgiving Tradition »

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This picture is a shot of the food I made with my flat on Thanksgiving while I was in London. One reason this photo is meaningful to me is that, although my flat mates were primarily not American, we all came together and spent the day in the kitchen cooking to prepare an “American” Thanksgiving. I loved how excited they were to contribute, and as this was my first Thanksgiving celebrated away from home, it was nice to have a new family of friends to keep the tradition alive. I also feel it is representative of what made my study abroad experience so meaningful: the relationships I formed with new people. All the new sights and experiences wouldn’t be the same without the people who were there with me. And my flat mates did a perfect job of making it feel like home. We became a little family. And in the same way my other American flatmates and I are shared our culture, we learned about theirs as well. Which was truly special.

 

12 Apostles, Melbourne Australia »

12 Apostles Rock Formation  on the Great Ocean Road in Australia. An unforgettable and amazing site that I'll never forget and am so glad I was able to see it on my experience abroad in Australia.

12 Apostles Rock Formation on the Great Ocean Road in Australia. An unforgettable and amazing site that I’ll never forget and am so glad I was able to see it on my experience abroad in Australia.

Kawagoe Festival »

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This is a picture of a Japanese festival movable shrine called a Mikoshi. This picture is from the Kawagoe Festival. I had read about Mikoshi before but this was the first time I’d seen one in use. The people on it play music and dance. It was my first Japanese festival and I enjoyed it a lot. The food there was great. It was a lot of the same stuff at a variety of vendors. Food included chocolate covered bananas, okonomiyaki, takoyaki, yakisoba, yakitori, and a lot of other stuff. This took place along a normally busy road and it was shut down for days. I was impressed with the scale of the event. In my opinion, there is not really anything in America that is equivalent to a Japanese festival but the atmosphere of it is a little similar to a county fair, mostly in regards to food and stalls.

 

 

 

Grateful for the Simple Things »

One of my favorite times while abroad in Morocco was when I spent a short vacation in the Pre-Saharan Desert. I went for a few days with friends from school to spend four days in the desert. We spent the days riding through the dunes with our camels, and the nights singing and dancing around the bonfires. Our campsite consisted of ourselves, our camels, and the tents. In the mornings we woke up early, 4am or so, to climb to the top of the highest dune nearby and watch the sunrise over the dunes. In the weeks before my trip to the desert I had been had been struggling a lot. I was having a really hard time abroad, and during this trip and especially in this moment I realized how important it was to take a step back, appreciate the simple things, and realize how lucky you are to have the things you have in your life. I had never seen something so simple and beautiful. My experience as a whole in Morocco was amazing. Although I faced a lot of challenges, I also learned to appreciate a lot of simple things and be grateful.