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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 »


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

An International Meal, Angers France »

An international meal with people from 10 different countries!  Studying abroad not only lets you experience the culture of the country you're in, but also the cultures of people from around the world.  Study abroad not only gives you a better perspective of the country you're visiting, it gives you a global perspective.

An international meal with people from 10 different countries! Studying abroad not only lets you experience the culture of the country you’re in, but also the cultures of people from around the world. Study abroad not only gives you a better perspective of the country you’re visiting, it gives you a global perspective.

A New Thanksgiving Tradition »


This picture is a shot of the food I made with my flat on Thanksgiving while I was in London. One reason this photo is meaningful to me is that, although my flat mates were primarily not American, we all came together and spent the day in the kitchen cooking to prepare an “American” Thanksgiving. I loved how excited they were to contribute, and as this was my first Thanksgiving celebrated away from home, it was nice to have a new family of friends to keep the tradition alive. I also feel it is representative of what made my study abroad experience so meaningful: the relationships I formed with new people. All the new sights and experiences wouldn’t be the same without the people who were there with me. And my flat mates did a perfect job of making it feel like home. We became a little family. And in the same way my other American flatmates and I are shared our culture, we learned about theirs as well. Which was truly special.


12 Apostles, Melbourne Australia »

12 Apostles Rock Formation  on the Great Ocean Road in Australia. An unforgettable and amazing site that I'll never forget and am so glad I was able to see it on my experience abroad in Australia.

12 Apostles Rock Formation on the Great Ocean Road in Australia. An unforgettable and amazing site that I’ll never forget and am so glad I was able to see it on my experience abroad in Australia.

Kawagoe Festival »


This is a picture of a Japanese festival movable shrine called a Mikoshi. This picture is from the Kawagoe Festival. I had read about Mikoshi before but this was the first time I’d seen one in use. The people on it play music and dance. It was my first Japanese festival and I enjoyed it a lot. The food there was great. It was a lot of the same stuff at a variety of vendors. Food included chocolate covered bananas, okonomiyaki, takoyaki, yakisoba, yakitori, and a lot of other stuff. This took place along a normally busy road and it was shut down for days. I was impressed with the scale of the event. In my opinion, there is not really anything in America that is equivalent to a Japanese festival but the atmosphere of it is a little similar to a county fair, mostly in regards to food and stalls.

Grateful for the Simple Things »

One of my favorite times while abroad in Morocco was when I spent a short vacation in the Pre-Saharan Desert. I went for a few days with friends from school to spend four days in the desert. We spent the days riding through the dunes with our camels, and the nights singing and dancing around the bonfires. Our campsite consisted of ourselves, our camels, and the tents. In the mornings we woke up early, 4am or so, to climb to the top of the highest dune nearby and watch the sunrise over the dunes. In the weeks before my trip to the desert I had been had been struggling a lot. I was having a really hard time abroad, and during this trip and especially in this moment I realized how important it was to take a step back, appreciate the simple things, and realize how lucky you are to have the things you have in your life. I had never seen something so simple and beautiful. My experience as a whole in Morocco was amazing. Although I faced a lot of challenges, I also learned to appreciate a lot of simple things and be grateful.

Land of the Kiwis »

Overall, New Zealand was an unbelievable experience. This specific photograph was taken on a hike in the Mt. Cook National Park. A few friends and I traveled here for an overnight excursion. When we arrived, it was very foggy and we could not see the glaciers around us, so we had no idea where we were. When we finally made it to the overnight hut, we made dinner and slept. We woke up to this view. It was absolutely breathtaking. I couldn’t have felt more free. The people I surrounded myself with on the trip as well as the vastness of nature was when I truly fell in love with the country. I knew that I would move back to live permanently one day.

Sky High »

One place I visited outside of Istanbul was Cappadocia, a city in central Turkey, where I had the opportunity to go up in a hot air balloon. We took off from an empty field but when we got into the air we could see at least one hundred other balloons all around us, all there to see the sunrise too. It was an amazing point of view that we definitely don’t often get to experience.

The Big Central European Roadtrip »

The most important thing studying in Germany taught me is that there is no better time to travel then the present. I was perfectly situated in the heart of Europe to be able to go anywhere I wanted. I took a roadtrip through central Europe and visited Prague, Auschwitz, Cracow, Budapest, Bratislava and Vienna. Each city was like a little bite out of another world. It felt like a slideshow, where everyplace had it’s own food, culture, clothes, architecture and style. I had never met so many fascinating and different people in my life. One woman told me about her life in the Jewish quarters during WWII and another man about how he made a living selling gluhwein on the streets during the winter. It really opened up my eyes to how life really could go any which way. When you leave the Willamette bubble you shouldn’t limit your future to what you think is expected. There are so many options out there waiting for you that you couldn’t possible imagine now. When I got back from the trip I realized for the first time how constricted my thinking was. I used every last weekend of my time then in Germany to go out and see new places and meet new people. I suddenly knew that this way of living would always be something I desired.

Returning from Study Abroad »

I have wanted to study abroad in London for what feels like forever. People kept telling not to get my hopes up, but the experience met and exceeded my expectations. And it wasn’t even the big things that were the most memorable or the most rewarding, it was sitting on the tube for 3 hours a day, it was talking to my host mom on a lazy Saturday morning, and it was going to the grocery store down the block to get orange juice with ‘juicy bits’.


Going abroad taught me how to appreciate the little things as well as the big adventures. It also taught me that if you work hard and are extremely lucky, sometimes things turn out exactly how you want them to

France! »

My semester abroad in France was probably one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had. It was my first time in Europe and so getting to see classic sights like the Eiffel Tower, the London Eye, and the Roman Colosseum was surreal for me. All of the traveling I did was amazing, but really just living in Angers (a small city about 2.5 hours south of Paris) and experiencing the French way of life was one of the best parts of the semester. I loved immersing myself into the french language and culture and would go back in a heartbeat. The picture is me at the Maison Carrée in Nîmes, France.

The Hills Are Alive In Scotland »

My favorite part of being abroad in Scotland was exploring the great outdoors. Through this exploration of Scotland I was able to not only see unforgettable views that I will never forget, but I was also able to make life long friends through our shared interest in hiking/climbing. Many of my best memories involve the views seen and moments spent in the rolling hills of Scotland. This picture is over looking Old Man Of Storr, a popular hike in the Isle of Skye.

Edinburgh, Scotland »

I saw this beautiful castle every day while abroad.  The Edinburgh castle, built hundreds of years ago, is the center of the beautiful city.  The castle sits on top of a huge hill on top of the Royal Mile, a famous, old street in the heart of Edinburgh old town.  Princes street is a popular shopping street in the heart of Edinburgh new town.  Wherever you walk on this huge street, you can see the Princes street gardens where the castle sits on top of.  I took this picture the first week because I thought the castle looked so beautiful, but now it represents Edinburgh as a whole.  This image encompasses the beauty of the old and the new in Edinburgh.

Study Abroad in France »

Ladies and gentlemen, I can now say that I have eaten escargot in its country of origin. I remember the time that my host mom asked me if I wanted to eat escargot before I left. I blurted out “oui!” before I thought through what eating escargot actually entailed. After seeing my host mom’s face light up with delight, there was no way that I could go back on my word. Overall, I’m not really a picky person when it comes to food, but for some reason, I was nervous to eat the snails. I think it was simply because. . . .well, I was going to eat snails. Finally the day came. I walked into the house and the smell of garlic and butter filled my nostrils, and my host mom was ecstatic. “Tu est prête ma fille?”, and I responded back in French, “Ready as I’ll ever be.” The escargot was absolutely delicious, and I finished the entire plate while my Japanese housemate squirmed in her chair as she watched me eat every single one. That dinner was a good way to start the goodbye process, and I will never forget it.

The Best Part of Being Abroad are the People that One Meets! »

This photo was taken are a local pub on campus on our last night together. I meet these ladies while abroad and could not have asked for better friends. We traveled, had movie nights, studied, and had dinner gathers together. Our little friend group was made up of all internationals from Germany, Czech Republic, Finland, Canada, Australia and United States. These ladies made my study abroad experience amazing and I am so happy that I had the opportunity to meet them!

Study Abroad in Austria »

This was taken from the top of the mountain at Zell am See-Kaprun ski resort. Other exchange students and I spent a weekend skiing here. We got lucky with the weather and the view was beautiful. One of the reasons I chose to go to Austria was to see the Alps. I was able to go on several excursions and hikes in the area. I loved being reminded of how grand the earth really is. Being abroad allowed me to explore even more of it.

Routeburn Track, Fiordland, New Zealand »

This is the beginning of the Routeburn track in the Fiordlands of the South Island. It was the first time I had gone ‘tramping’ (backpacking) outside of the States. This was one of the highlights of my study abroad experience, not only because of the sense of accomplishment, closeness with nature, or the fact that I forgot my sleeping bag (the nights were very cold), but the bonds of friendship I was able to foster throughout the excursion. I learned that nothing brings you closer to someone than having to carry a 20kg backpack through a damp NZ national park, and talking about how excited you are a fourth night of pasta.

YouTube Fan Fest, Japan »

Study Abroad in Japan

Though I made countless memories during my study abroad in Japan, this was probably one of the best once in a lifetime opportunities/experiences in my life. I entered a nation wide lottery online and won two free tickets to go to YouTube Fan Fest. I felt very satisfied with how much my Japanese improved since I arrived in Japan because the entire website that I used to enter the lottery was all in Japanese and I won (meaning I did not screw up). In addition, because this is a Japanese event, there were only one or two english speaking emcees/performers I could understand almost everything that they were saying. This photo was taken while my friend and I were excitedly waiting to go into the concert hall. This was at the mini red carpet that YouTube set up in the waiting area just outside of the concert doors. Though this event was the day right before my Japanese midterms, I do not regret going. Although I was a foreigner, that did not stop me from living like a Japanese person and experiencing Japan to the fullest.

Finland »

I had very little knowledge of Finland before arriving there. All I knew is that it was cold, really cold.

The second I got there I was greeted by this beautiful, slender, blonde girl named Mari who spoke English more properly than me. She was my tutor and luckily, she was one of the very few Finnish students with a car to carry me and my two oversized suitcases to my new student apartment. Read the rest

The First Beach – Perth, Australia »

This image captures the moment that I walked onto a beach during my study abroad experience in Perth, Australia for the very first time. Some friends and I had taken a short road trip north from Perth to visit a national park and go camping.  We found the perfect spot to set up camp behind some sand dunes at the end of a very twisted, old, and forgotten road.  After climbing over the dunes for a bit we finally arrived at the beach.  It was small, vacant, and beautiful.  This image reminds me of the immense excitement and happiness I was feeling at that moment. I had several months of adventuring and exploring in store for me and I felt so content.  Being back here in the US makes me feel a bit detached from my experiences in Australia.  Having these pictures to look at helps me to remember all the good times and makes me feel very thankful that I was able to spend a semester abroad.  Aussie Aussie Aussie!!!