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Photo Contest

Photos are powerful tools for storytelling. Each year, GEO invites study abroad participants to submit photos from their time abroad to the GEO Photo Contest and to share with the Vanderbilt community. The following photos have been selected as the 2020 GEO Photo Contest winners. These photos creatively convey students’ understanding and engagement with their host culture, connect artistic expression with learning, and provide new perspectives.

GEO’s 2019-2020 Photo Contest is now closed. Study Abroad students are also invited to submit entries to the soon-to-be-unveiled Photo Blog, themed Humans of Study Abroad, here.

Check out the GEO Flickr album for all Photo Contest entries and winning photos from previous years.

Nyama Choma Family Style in Kenya

Oceane Parker, SIT Kenya, Spring 2020
"
“Nyama choma” literally means “scalded meat” in English. The blackened strips of goat are traditionally served with raw tomatoes, steamed greens, and ugali. Ugali is a staple food in Kenya. It’s like thick corn grits, but the consistency of clay. You pull off chunks to scoop up your food, and is the binding and the substance of your meal. You eat it as a family, cooking a big pot and serving everyone a slice, or by yourself, kneading a small ball of cornmeal, or in big cakes on the street. That day, it was 101 degrees outside (2 miles from the equator), and after hours of attending church in Kisumu with my host parents we stopped for lunch at a food stand on the way home. Food was a central part of my abroad experience, from Mama Agnes’ fresh-picked mangoes and fried yams for breakfast to ugali and greens every night, and our nyama choma stop that day was one of the final, beautiful moments I was able to share with my Kisumu family, the thrumming neighborhood, and Kenya itself."

Fun in the Sun in Palma de Mallorca

Anna Young, University of the Balearic Islands in Palma de Mallorca Spain, Spring 2020
“On my last day in Spain, my host family and I enjoyed our afternoon at la Playa de Cala Mayor in Palma de Mallorca. Living, laughing, and playing with their kids, Pep and Aina, showed me that we learn as much from kids as they learn from us. Every day, Pep and Aina made me feel like a true member of the family, regardless of cultural and linguistic barriers.”

Brimming Talent in London

Nicole Nguyen, IFSA University of Edinburgh, Spring 2020
“Stumbling upon these artistic displays on a typical rainy day brightened my day and made me look forward to discovering what else was hidden.”

Spill the Tea in Taiwan

Waka Ogihara, CET Taiwan, Spring 2020
“This photo was taken in a tea house atop of Maokong mountain in Taiwan. While riding the gondola to reach our destination, my peers and I saw the city of Taipei grow smaller and smaller until we found ourselves encompassed by vast stretches of tea leaves. I was in awe when I learned that the locally grown tea leaves below us were enjoyed by people throughout Taiwan. Shown in this photo are the essential tools for drinking Taiwanese tea the traditional way. In addition to the tea pot and tea cups, there are utensils for scooping, stirring, picking, and disposing the tea leaves, as well as smaller cups that are used to smell the tea’s fragrance. Each tool plays an important role in the ceremony of drinking Taiwanese tea.”

Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto

Josh Lipsey, IFSA University of New South Wales, Spring 2020
“The photo captures a scene of tourists and locals walking down from the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto, Japan.”

Kauri Cliffs in New Zealand

Josh Lipsey, IFSA University of New South Wales, Spring 2020
“Taken in Kauri Cliffs in New Zealand, this photo was symbolic of the overwhelming beauty New Zealand.”

Midnight Metro in Paris

Harrison Smith, SLU-Madrid, Spring 2020
“Being from New York, studying abroad in Madrid was unique. Unlike for many others, Madrid was a slowed down pace for me. The city had a more relaxed and therefore less refined feel. The architecture was colorful, fun, and inconsistent. The people were bubbly and warm. There seemed to lack the all too familiar rat race of a major US city. However, from the minute I landed in Paris, I could tell the French capital was a stark contrast to its Spanish counterpart. Paris was polished, elegant, and appeared to have been fully designed and curated with intent. The architecture is uniform and monochrome with its gothic stone facades. People seemed to be rushing places- it reminded me of home. There was a sense of urgency and a desire to be the best, whether that be in food, art, or fashion. This picture was taken at night, as a lady quickly descends a staircase down to the Paris Métro, presumably to get somewhere she needed to go- fast.”

Big Tajine in Marrakech

Harrison Smith, SLU-Madrid, Spring 2020
“This photo was taken in the heart of Marrakech just outside the walls of the old city. A man sits in his shop, surrounded by traditional handcrafted Moroccan metalwork. The lanterns and light fixtures hanging from the ceiling are illuminated as the sun shines a rose tinted hue through the stained glass window. The shop owner, hunched over, staring at his phone is the only giveaway that scene did not take place centuries ago. I like to think he was mindlessly scrolling through his Twitter timeline."