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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10 Days Unplugged and Keyed In »

  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 […]

Nigardsbreen Glacier- Jostedalen, Norway »

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. […]

Stars in the Desert »

The stars in the Sahara desert were the most surreal thing I have ever seen in my life. During my time in Morocco, I took a weekend trek out to the Sahara, where I rode a camel into the sand dunes for an hour to find a campsite. The lack of light pollution and open […]

Los Galapagos »

As a high school student, I reluctantly took Biology class. The only moments that I loved taking that class was  when I learned of the different ecosystems around the world. I remember learning about the Galapagos Islands and thinking “I would love to go there someday”. Through studying abroad in Ecuador the first semester of […]

A Promise for Endless Love »

This photo was taken at Korea’s iconic Seoul Tower, also called Namsan Tower. I waited specifically till after my program ended when my mother and uncle would visit me to go to Seoul Tower.  I wanted to share this experience with my family because of what this tower represents and show them the beautiful view […]


Anyone who has gone to Germany will tell you that each city has three things to offer, a church, a palace/castle and a town hall. We visited the Stuttgart Palace on a wonderful summer afternoon, had ice cream in the city center and ate Döner. Walking in these fountains next to toddlers and Germans. This is a […]

Koala »


This is one of several Quokkas (Setonix brachyurus), a species of marsupial, that I encountered on Rottnest Island off the coast of Perth. They previously lived on the mainland but now are mostly confined to a few small islands after the introduction of foxes and feral cats. This picture reminds me of all the strange […]

The Nevis in New Zealand »

My heart pounds as I take the plunge on the Nevis in New Zealand, over 134 meters above a little creek at the bottom of a canyon. This was one of the most exhilarating moments of my trip.

London:Where Harry Potter Comes to Life »

Now I know it is completely nerdy, but I love Harry Potter. So when the opportunity to go to the premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 1 arose, I jumped at it. And while a movie premiere does seem a likely place to have a significant international experience, it was absolutely amazing! […]

Sunrise over the Cuyabeno River, Amazon Rainforest, Ecuador »

The volume and variety of noise was astounding. We had spent an amazing night listening to the sounds of the forest and absorbing our first clear view of the Milky Way, and awoke the next morning before the sun rose in order to be out in our canoe as the Amazon Rainforest woke up. In […]

Fanáticos de fútbol »

Fútbol is most definitely the national pastime of Uruguay. A small section of the national stadium’s upper bleachers, this photo is from a game called el clásico, a match that happens once a year between Montevideo’s two most rival teams: Nacional and Peñarol. The crowd’s energy fills the stadium, at this game and at all […]

Big Cities- not as different as you’d expect »

Quito, Ecuador This picture is of the Old Town district in Quito, Ecuador.  In this area of Quito one can see clearly the remnants of Spanish colonial rule. One of the main lessons I took away with my from Ecuador is the fact that big cities are not as different around the world as I […]

Lake Manapouri, South Island, New Zealand »

This photo was taken in August 2009 on the South Island of New Zealand.  A group of international students and I headed west from Dunedin for a long weekend trip to hike and tour Fjordland National Park.  At the end of one of our hikes, we ended up on the shore of this lake, Manapouri, […]

The Thibaults »

I had the pleasure to live with the most wonderful host family; a couple in their eighties who called each other “mon/ma chéri(e)” (my dearie) and called me “mon mignon” (my cutie) or “ma petite” (my little one). Everyone joked that the Thibaults and I were the perfect match because I was the first student […]

La laguna en la cumbre del mundo »

Quilotoa, Ecuador: 13,000 feet above sea level. Apart from the bitter cold (who knew it could be cold on the equator?), the town consisted of 100 residents, a couple of hostels, and one of the most spectacular views on the planet. When I first climbed the crest and peered down into the crater, all I saw was a dense cover of clouds. Within minutes, the clouds evaporated to expose a 2-mile wide crater lake, as if it appeared out of the sky. I felt so isolated and at one with the world, in the Andes mountains 4,000 miles from home.

This is only one of the multitude of mental images from Ecuador that I will always keep with me. Everywhere I turned, from cloud forests to the Galapagos to the Amazon rainforest, I was surrounded by a natural beauty unsurpassed by anything I’ve ever seen. These experiences will always remind me of the diversity of beauty in this world, and will never allow me to settle and stop exploring this rich planet.

Everyday Street + Anticipation »

Throughout the preparation in being able to study abroad, it is always made clear that studying abroad can be and is a life changing experience for some people. To me this photo is of a street I always crossed to catch the bus that was part of my everyday commute routine, and brought my emotions […]

Aberystwyth: Constitution Hill »

These two photos were taken while on a hike into Welsh countryside, during my last week at Aberystwyth. I had spent the past three months catching the sun rise from this hill, nestled between the sea and the small town, and watching it disappear into the hill eight hours later. It had been a wild three months abroad, much of it spent traveling away from Aberystwyth. Unfortunately, days like this, which supplied the time to pause and sincerely reflect on the magnificent beauty of the countryside, were rare. Hiking constitution hill was a box that remained empty on my checklist for the duration of my program and after the climb, it was an activity that I had wished I had done on a weekly basis. On the hike, my three classmates and myself were joined by a girl finishing a program outside of Mumbai, where she had spent much of her fall ill and dealing with witnessing the violent murder of her first host family’s handicapped servant. While none of us were able to relate to the girl’s tragic experience, the account of her hardships were moving. We spent the day swapping tales of our sojourn, living the highlights vicariously through one another. True, I experienced the Welsh culture but that is not what I’ll remember from my time in Wales. With nearly 1000 internationals, Aberystwyth is truly an impressive agglomeration of world cultures. With total population of nearly fifteen thousand, I felt as equally influenced by the cultures, world views and thoughts of the Polish, Germans, and Finnish. The sight before us only complimented my reflection of the camaraderie that had been built. I’m not a very religious person but the level of breath-takingly pure tranquility captivating us there, several hundred feet above the Atlantic, subjected me to recognize a higher power. The moment was surely made for Kodak.

Avocados and Fallen Umbrellas: Stand Watchmen and Wait »

{Post 3 from blog} Ok, so I left off explaining some of the cultural differences that I have seen so far in Prague along with a brief overview of what I had been doing. I am now settled into my flat and it has been a blast! My flat mates are hilarious and we have […]

Morocco for tourists »

I had one friend in Morocco who absolutely refused to do “touristy” things like ride camels and visit famous restaurants. She wanted the most “authentic” experience she could get. One weekend I got her to drive out to the Sahara with me. When we got to the town we were accosted by all the tour […]

Coping With Horrible Pasts »

One of the group trips my program sponsored was to Krakow, Poland. During this trip we visited the Auschwitz/Birkenau concentration camps from World War II. This is a picture of one of the signs in the Auschwitz camp. The presence in the camp is heavy, full of sadness and death. No amount of time can […]

Re-Entry »

Edward McGlone Re-entry blog post This picture was taken at the memorial for the Trojan Horse Massacre, an event that helped turn the tide of international opinion against that Apartheid regime’s increasingly violent suppression of independence movements. The Trojan Horse Massacre happened in the townships of Athlone and Crossroads in 1985 when Apartheid police forces […]

Visions of Street Performers »

A less extravagant photo than the title suggests, this was a shot I got from one of the many street performances from the historic center in Quito. The one act detailed a meeting between camera-toting, backpack-wielding westerner and the primitive unchanging native. As most dramatists might hope for, I immediately felt a connection to the […]

The Land of Bare Feet » This is me on the side of a main road in Waihi, selling fruit for a couple I decided to WWOOF with after school finished. We got to eat all the fruit and veg we wanted while we worked!

Out of the Smog; from Pune to Nanegao » I took this photograph of Anishet while climbing a mountain in the Western Ghats in Maharashtra, India. We were visiting an organic farm just an hour from Pune, and if nothing else, the air alone tasted so good. The rumor is, spending one day in Pune India is the equivalent to smoking 1 ½ […]