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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A (Swedish) Education »

Yesterday marked my first day of real classes here. Pardon me, I meant to say class. Part-time class. As in, meet once or twice a week for a couple hours. And it’s the only class I’ll have here till November, when my full time course starts up (I know it sounds crazy, but if I […]

I Believe, in “Risking, Failing, and Risking Again”! »

Studying abroad was pobably one of the most culturally awakening experiences that I have had. Unlike most people within study abroad, I was able to study in a wonderful place where everything that I knew to be true was different. Spending a semester in the far off location of Connecticut I found myself immersed in another world, here within […]

The End of it All »

I have been back in the states for almost two months and I am still coming to terms with my time abroad. I have come to realize that there is no real way that I can summarize what Ecuador did to me and what it was like.  Sure I can tell you about the crazy trip I had […]


This picture was taken from Kyoto Station in Kyoto, Japan. It’s a little hard to tell, but in the middle of the mass of urban buildings, there stands a single temple. The duality of Kyoto as illustrated by this photo made it such a wonderful place to visit, and it wasn’t until the moment I […]

DC: The perfect place for activism »

This fall I went to the Tar Sands rally at the White House to help 12,000 other people ask President Obama to oppose the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. This was my first ever protest experience, and it really was amazing. It was an absolutely perfect fall day, sunny and warm enough not to wear […]

Studying “Abroad” in DC »

While in DC I had so many amazing new experiences: new school, new internship, new friends, new places to explore. On top of all this, I started my first ever blog! I wanted to use this blog to help college students learn how to get involved in organizations where they can give back to the […]

Take a Leap: photo/caption »

I took this picture during a week-long road trip I took with friends around the South Island of New Zealand. Not only does it represent some of the beauty this country has to offer, but for me, it represents some of the hurdles I’ve had to overcome to get to the place I wanted to […]

Exploring New Territory »

Heading of to New Zealand was probably the most terrifying and exciting thing I have ever done. All the was on the opposite side of the globe, New Zealand presented opportunities to explore new territories, both physical and emotional. So much of the country was available to hike and travel that most of the time […]

To sum it up »

Studying abroad in Holland was not quite the experience I expected it to be. Although there were some genuinely amazing moments that I will always remember(Oktoberfest, meeting so many great people from all over the world, traveling to other countries in Europe), being abroad taught me so many things in a way that I was […]

A friendly face »

This larger than life train conductor was at the bus and train station in the city I studied abroad in; Linköping, Sweden. I had the opportunity to travel around a lot during my semester abroad seeing much of Sweden and numerous other places of Europe. This conductor become a welcoming sign of my return to […]

A Semester in Washington DC »

I asked the United States Institute for Peace counterterrorism program director to take this picture of my Foreign Policy seminar class because for the first time I felt a sense of purpose surrounding my semester off campus. For the first time I felt like I knew what I was doing. At Willamette, I study politics […]

Mini-me »

It’s strange. During my days abroad in Germany I got to really know this particular landmark known as the Wasserturm or the Water tower in English. It actually looks really nice in the surprisingly hot German summer. Everyday I passed by it on my way to class. In the beginning I found this building quite intriguing […]


I practically grew up in the Pacific Ocean. I know the sound and the smell better than anything. I know how to identify rip tides and sneaker waves. I know where to dig for clams. I know which pieces of drift wood will burn blue. I thought I knew the Ocean well. But it wasn’t […]

Things that are the same »

It’s taken me a little bit, but I think I’m starting to handle myself better here in Amsterdam. Barring the fact I don’t speak the language, which still embarrasses me slightly every time I walk up to a café and immediately launch into English, I’m finding everything a little less difficult. I really am fitting […]

¡Hasta luego Ecuador! »

Kiwis and their Rugby. Madness, eh? »

I lived in Dunedin last semester and fortunately, I happened to be there during the Rugby World Cup. What kind of luck is that? The All Blacks (NZ pro rugby team) played a game at this stadium during the beginning of my stay before the Cup started. Since kiwis are absolutely crazy about their rugby […]

Living Quarters »

I took this photo looking down from my bedroom onto the other residents’ living quarters. While I could have uploaded a beautiful picture of a cathedral, sunset or palace, this photo captures the more mundane and daily aspect of my life in Granada as it was the view I saw everyday. Moreover it is very typical of the living quarters of most spaniards. In Spain, the vast majority of people live in highly concentrated urban centers with little space being wasted. Starting in the 40s and 50s there was a massive exodus away from rural communities toward large urban developments and many of the buildings constructed during this wave continue to house a multitude. Although one doesn’t have as much personal space as in a suburban home, apartments are far more practical in the context of spanish life. Indeed the spanish home is a sacred place in which only family and those very close may enter. It is not the tradition to host friends at one’s home. Rather they go out for tapas or drinks at local restraunts or bars and enjoy pleasant strolls through the town. Hence extra living space for entertaining is unnecessary. At first this was difficult to understand because I wanted to invite friends over to hangout, watch movies, eat, etc, but it was soon no issue as we found it was more fun to do those things outside.

From Galway to Salem »

Returning from Ireland has been an emotional experience for me. It was so nice to be in a place where I could take time to explore an entirely new environment. My academic load was much less than it is now, and I spent much more of my time away from school, interacting with new people […]

Returning From China »

As cliche as it sounds, my study abroad experience changed my life. Perhaps it didn’t change who I am, but rather it brought out parts of me that the past had not given me the opportunity to express and experience. This trip abroad was my sixth time to China and my longest stay. Being able […]

A Royal Occasion »

During my semester in London I was lucky enough to experience a great historical moment, the Royal Wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton. At first I felt like the wedding festivities were overblown just to make money on the plethora of Will and Kate merchandise on every street corner. I wanted no part of […]

A Returner’s Thoughts »

When I first got on a plane to travel to New Zealand from my home in Idaho, natural disasters never crossed my mind. The biggest thing I worried about was if I would get lost in a country of 4 million people and 40 million sheep (I have absolutely no sense of direction). I’m not […]

¡Viernes! »

It’s viernes (friday)!. It seems that Friday is just as desireable in Spain as it is in the U.S. This attitude was reflected in class today. After 3.5 hours of grammar exercises it seemed appropriate to send us to the weekend with Juan Magan’s popular music video “Bailando por ahí”. And on that tone the […]

Swedes’ perceptions of the USA »

So here is my second answer to the blog while abroad assignment. I decided to do a blog about Swedes’ perceptions of Americans because I think it’s extremely interesting, especially after all of our talks while preparing for our study abroad experience about foreign perceptions of the USA. So here it goes! Question 5. Describe the […]

Education »

So I decided to answer one of the questions that WU’s OIE has set up as a way to earn course credit (if that sentence made any sense) so here it is: Question #2: How is the education system you are experiencing different from what you are accustomed to in the U.S.? From your perspective as […]

Koala »