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Roy’s Peak »

This is a picture from my very first hike in New Zealand and my first weekend leaving Dunedin. We began the day waking up in a house that was being rented by a couple wandering hippie types who were being kicked out of the place that morning who were all trying to figure out their next step. Our next step was up to Roy’s Peak. We began hiking around 10am, fueled by black instant coffee and two day old sandwiches from a bakery. The hike was a solid uphill climb for a couple hours. After the first hour a couple of us ditched our boots due to blisters. Despite a couple thorns in our feet and painful steps on the rocky parts of the trail, our quest was successful. Above is mine and my flatmate’s view at an elevation of over 5,000 feet where we stood shoe less and awe-struck. This day was the first of many adventures and many memories.

Istanbul Marathon 2014 »

This picture resonates deeply with my time abroad. I ran the Istanbul Marathon almost a year ago today and still feel a sense of excitement from the experience. The marathon is the only time of the year that one can cross the Bosphorus straight on foot, and it is the only marathon that crosses two continents, Europe and Asia. It was a pretty surreal moment when you are out on the Bosphorus bridge with tens of thousands of people and could actually feel the bridge swaying from the weight of all the people running.

Study Abroad Experience in Dunedin »

This is a picture that was taken over holiday break on the Kepler track in New Zealand. Hiking on a mountain track above the clouds was an amazing experience. The trip was made even better by my two roommates from in New Zealand and my friend Madeline from Willamette. There was no other group I would rather spend a week traveling with. It was the perfect combination and great views with new and old friends.

This is a picture that was taken over holiday break on the Kepler track in New Zealand. Hiking on a mountain track above the clouds was an amazing experience. The trip was made even better by my two roommates from in New Zealand and my friend Madeline from Willamette. There was no other group I would rather spend a week traveling with. It was the perfect combination and great views with new and old friends.

Karinjini National Park »

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This photo accurately sums up my absolute awe for the natural beauties of Western Australia.

Although much of my experience in Perth, Western Australia consisted of the beach, studying, and being enveloped by my residence’s ominous planned activities, I was fortunate enough to embark on a ten-day road trip spanning from Perth all the way to Karinjini National Park, traveling roughly 1,500 km just one-way with twenty other international students. Read the rest

Argentine Salt Flats »

The picture below was taken a few days before we were to leave Argentina and return to the United States. We had gone from the jungles to the dessert, here we were at the Salinas the northern Salt Flats of Argentina. There are pools that are dug out all throughout the salinas, it is a tradition to jump over these pools, a leap of faith they say. My friend capture this image just after I had successfully landed on the other side of salt pool but right before I fell back into the freezing water. Abroad is a lot like this picture, a leap of faith. You’re not sure what you are going to find and it’s a little bit scary at times but at the end of it all every experience is worth it, even the salty ones.

The salt flats of northern Argentina

Jump of faith in the northern Salinas of Argentina.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum – Glasgow, Scotland »

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For spring break, five of us took advantage of cheap flights and spent some time traveling around Scotland! This was one of our first days in Glasglow after spending almost a week in Edinburgh.

Shakespeare & Castles »

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This picture was taken at Kennilworth Castle, one last stop on our way back to London after we had stayed in Stratford-Upon-Avon and seen Much Ado About Nothing at the Royal Shakespeare Company. We enjoyed a windy afternoon of climbing the ruins, enjoying the amazing view of the countryside, and went to the oldest pub in the town for dinner. We learned the story of the castle, why it was in ruins, and its significance in British history. Even in its current state, the castle was still beautiful in the late afternoon winter sun.

My Experiences With Dogs in Italy »

This past semester I studied abroad at Duke University’s Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies (ICCS) program in Rome. We stayed at the Centro, a four-story building in the Monteverde area of Rome that served as our dormitory, classrooms, and dining hall. I had many fantastic experiences while in Italy, but out of all the experiences, some of the ones that have had the greatest effect on me were my experiences with dogs. I had two very negative encounters with dogs in Italy that brought back some of my childhood fears and have changed how I interact with them. While I still love dogs, I tend to be wary around them now and I try to avoid walking too closely to ones that I haven’t met before. Read the rest

Russian Mathematics »

The remnants of my classmates and I working on a problem for Computability and Complexity. The Russian pedagogy of mathematics emphasizes collaboration on problems that are often too difficult to feasibly do alone.

Mathematics is a special discipline in that one’s culture and upbringing rarely affects its content. A historical account can be shaped by your nationality, your interpretation of a novel can be affected by your race, and even the observations you make in a scientific experiment can be affected by your cultures (albeit fields like physics and chemistry don’t suffer that much from this). Read the rest

A Brief Summary of Five Months Abroad »

“Everybody has a backstory. For example, though I am currently living in France and adapting myself to the ways of the French, I still like listening to alt-j and watching Parks and Rec while I get ready to walk the half a mile to school each morning. Read the rest

Accidentally Hiking Up a Mountain »

During my very long winter break, I expressed a desire to my family to go on a hike, like we used to when we went on vacation.  Once in Japan, I decided to act on this desire (just without my family) and had what was probably the single most enjoyable day on my entire trip (almost certainly the most beautiful). Read the rest

A Snapshot From My Life Abroad »

At the end of last month, my friend Mariah and I flew off to London for nine days of seriously, SERIOUSLY jam-packed exploring. We saw Buckingham Palace, celebrated the arrival of a very royal baby (free flags! old men dancing!), ate fish and chips, crossed Abbey Road, investigated (har, har) Baker Street, and did the grand viewing of The London Eye, Westminster Abbey, and Big Ben (as well as both Regent’s and Hyde Park) — I’m now confident I can navigate nearly any subway or metro system, regardless of language. Read the rest

Czechmate »

The study abroad experience is often discussed between friends and strangers alike as the epitome of the college adventure. I landed in Prague with two guidebooks, and countless stories from UPCES alum about all the good times that were waiting for me in this post-iron curtain oasis. Though I headed into Prague with detailed instructions about where to find a decent burrito at 2am and a warning about my over friendly nature, I found myself running around Old Town like a chicken with my head cut off. Read the rest

Study Abroad in Ireland »

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I took this photo in Derry, a town in Northern Ireland which is still under British rule. Ireland has been effected by political troubles linked to a conflict between Irish nationalists who want their own free state (the Republic of Ireland) and British loyalists who want to remain under British rule (Northern Ireland). This conflict has persisted since Irish independence in the 1920s, though things have been mostly politically stable since the 1990s. There are still memorials and monuments dedicated to the conflict throughout Ireland, and finding these monuments in the Irish quarter of Derry was really striking. Read the rest

Fun Times in Finland (Study Abroad Experience) »

To feed a Reindeer from my hand is an experience that I will always remember. How many people can say they have taken a selfie with Reindeer?  A experience that can only happen if someone treks up to Lapland.

To feed a Reindeer from my hand is an experience that I will always remember. How many people can say they have taken a selfie with Reindeer? A experience that can only happen if someone treks up to Lapland.

Friends and Mountains »

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This photo was snapped by a fellow Willamette student during my favorite weekend abroad. We had set out on a mission to climb Mt. Cook, however the weather was not in our favor. By the time we drove the five hours to get to the trailhead, the weather at the hut was so bad that no one was going up. We reluctantly decided to give up on Mt. Cook and headed to Wanaka, a small town on the South Island of New Zealand. Even though it was forecasted to pour, we were determined to get out and hike to a hut for the night. We went into the ranger station and asked for any hut that was open and they pointed us in the direction of the Breast Hill Track. It ended up being one of the most beautiful hikes I did during my time abroad. We were alone on the track and got to spend the night in the hut with just our group. Playing cards all night and getting up to watch the sunrise was an absolutely wonderful surprise and showed me that even when literally nothing goes as planned, everything can still work out!

The Fragility of Life »

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While in Ireland I had the privilege to visit a place called Inishmore, otherwise known as one of the Aran Islands. It is a remote island located near Galway, Ireland and while there I toured a medieval stone fort perched on the edge of a 100 meter high cliff. I took this photo while lying on my stomach, overlooking the edge of the cliff straight down to the water. During our tour of the island our tour guide told us that one year a German exchange student fell off that cliff and died. Read the rest

Study Abroad in France »

This image shows Grenoble, the beautiful Alpine city in the Southeastern part of France, that I spent 5 months living in. This photo was taken about a month after living there, after overcoming all the hardships of the first month abroad. In this photo, I am comfortable and happy. I climbed a mountain for a breathtaking view and the experience abroad made me feel more grateful, confident, and alive.

This image shows Grenoble, the beautiful Alpine city in the Southeastern part of France, that I spent 5 months living in. This photo was taken about a month after living there, after overcoming all the hardships of the first month abroad. In this photo, I am comfortable and happy. I climbed a mountain for a breathtaking view and the experience abroad made me feel more grateful, confident, and alive.

The Fight for Equality in a Deeply Catholic Country »

On May 22, 2015, Ireland became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote.  There are so many stories to tell about this event.

The date for the voting was announced in January or February. Initial polls showed a 74% approval rating for legalizing same sex marriage. If I remember correctly, these polls were of general public opinion, rather than just those registered to vote. This is because, in Ireland, very few people, especially people my age, are registered to vote. Read the rest

A Day in Lincoln, England »

A picture of myself in front of the massive Lincoln Cathedral

Very, very early on a January morning, all the international students and I took a bus to Lincoln for a day trip. Lincoln itself is a very small town, only known for it’s massive cathedral, which happens to be the third largest in all of the United Kingdom. After learning that the cathedral was built in the twelfth century I was particularly amazed by the incredible size of it, as well as the intricate architecture and stained glass that made up the building. For as large as the cathedral is, the inside is quite modest. Read the rest

Changing of the Seasons »

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I used to think that when I grew up I would want to live somewhere warm and tropical, near the equator, where it’s sunny all year round and most importantly, the days don’t get shorter in the winter. Given that, I still don’t quite know why I ended up boarding a plane to Finland, in the dead of winter, arriving to days of maybe 5 or 6 hours of sunlight and temperatures which stayed below freezing for a couple of months. But out of all my experiences there, seeing the transformation from winter to spring ended up being one of the most beautiful. I discovered that 20-hour days in May make the 5-hour days in January worth it, and seeing the nature come to life in spring is infinitely more beautiful after such a cold and stark (yet peaceful) winter. Needless to say, I don’t think I want to live anywhere near the equator anymore when I grow up.

I took these photos at the exact same spot in Nuuksio National Park, Espoo, Finland, on January 31 and May 19, 2015, and they represent to me the incredible change in seasons I saw take place over those 4 months. The photos were postprocessed and combined in Photoshop.

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. Read the rest

Flashback Friday »

Anger, France

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!

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. Read the rest