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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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 […]