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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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

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