Lens Flair

By Paul Brockwell Jr.

Through its unplanned and everyday moments, traveling has the peculiar ability to unlock our potential to see the world anew. That's one reason why nearly two-thirds of our 2015 graduating class studied abroad. When I talk with Spiders who didn't, they often say it's their biggest regret.

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.

Marcel Proust

New Zealand


Alyssa Boisvert, '16

Setting out through the valley, I had absolutely zero expectations. I'd done research on the trails in Mount Cook National Park, but I hadnn't seen any pictures, so I started with a blank slate.

This view from the top of the last peak took my breath away. At first throngs of eager hikers were marveling over the same landscape. The crowds eventually melted away, and my friends took a nap on a large rock in the sunshine. I couldn't possibly close my eyes, so I made my way to another rock a little ways from the beach in the water. I sat down cross-legged, fully surrounded by New Zealand's beauty, and let myself drink it all in. Sitting there in silence, with no one else around, I felt the people I had met and the things I had done had stretched me to become someone stronger, more thoughtful, more understanding.


Eilean Donan Castle

Joe DiBello, '17

I really like this photo because it was one of the trips I took only with my dad. I have three siblings, and normally we have to split time with each other.

I didn't know a whole lot about Scotland, and I'd never been to Europe before. So my dad and I went over a week before the program and rented a car to explore the country.

Whenever I see this shot, I just remember us fighting over directions, him crashing into stuff and driving on the wrong side of the road. He definitely nicked a couple of people's cars. We were chaotic and very touristy, but I think we had a great time.

One of the places we went was the Isle of Scot, which is known in Europe as one of the most beautiful places around. Somehow my dad figured out about this castle, so we decided to go. This one was just so remote, and it took us such a long time to get there. I wasn't even sure it was going to be worth it. The weather is so hit or miss in Scotland. Seventy percent of the days are cloudy and nasty. But we just had a perfect day.

We both said it was one of the best trips we'll probably ever take just because of how much time we spent together and how much fun we had.



Hanna Moreland, '16

The context of this photo was uplifting, but the reality is heartbreaking.

We were in the car, waiting to leave the village. If only for a moment, I was hoping to entertain this little girl. I asked if I could take her picture, and this was the pose she gave me. I showed her afterwards, and she posed again. Quickly an impromptu shoot began. Other children joined in, and even some of the adults. We all seemed to be enjoying the moment together.

As we drove away from the village, I felt awful that my privilege allowed me to leave their lives as quickly as I had entered them. I was unable to provide much in the way of health or resources when I met her, but this experience affirmed my desire to study and work in public health. I'm more determined to continue exploring my abilities and the world at the same time, so that one may someday complement the other.


Stray Cats

Liz Cohan, '12

I took this photo while we were walking down the street and exploring Valletta, a city on the eastern coast of Malta. There were stray cats everywhere, and I'm a cat lover.

At the time, I was studying for my Master of Science in conservation biology at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England. For one of our classes, we took a weeklong trip to Malta. I had never heard of the country before, and it was a great experience to be somewhere new. The Maltese language and people are very different from the United States, and this experience really taught me to appreciate and respect people of different cultures and places. I hope to go back.


Great Barrier Reef

Kelly Kavanaugh, '16

It was a long day, but it was great.

Because the seasons are reversed, we had spring break while I was studying in Australia. A group of 50 of us students ended up taking a nine–day trip up the coast to explore the country on our down time. We rode around on buses and stayed in hostels.

This shot is from a day trip we took to see the Great Barrier Reef. It's such an incredible, beautiful place. I was just having the time of my life. The views were beautiful and terrifying. It was kind of surreal.


Bosque De Oma

Winston Guest, '16

This was from a trip I took when my mom came to visit me. It was about a two-mile hike up a mountain, through the woods and forest. We weren't sure where we were going. After a while, we came across this plateau area of conifers. It was just so beautiful — so simple, but it left your jaw open the entire time.

It just reminds me about the earth we live on — the many places that are so beautiful and breathtaking to see. There are so many hidden gems, and this just happened to be one for me.


Mama Llama, Baby Llama

Alex Marian, '16

The trip was part of a weeklong break between classes. We had just spent the day on a farm and met the farmer. And he was telling us all about how he uses a lot of natural remedies and grows all these herbs and plants and all these animals there.

“We all got really excited when we saw the llamas on the hill because where we had been studying was more in a city. I liked how they looked with the mountain in the background with the clouds and all of that. But right after I took the picture, they all started kind of charging at us, so that was a little scary.”

“That was my favorite part of the trip — just going on a weeklong field trip, seeing different parts of Argentina and still learning things even if we weren’t necessarily sitting in a classroom all day and talking about grammar and history and stuff.”

These photos – all submissions to the Office of International Education's study-abroad photo contest – inspire wonder and wanderlust. They invite us to see the world through new eyes, to rethink how we understand our own humanity. Most importantly, they remind us to keep watch wherever we are for those single, fleeting moments when the spontaneous or everyday becomes transcendent and frozen in time.

  • Barcelona

    Barcelona Market

    Catherine Bagwell, '94

  • Ghana

    Primary School

    Taylor Barresi, '10

  • Morocco

    Chef Chaouen

    Lucy Barrett, '13

  • Argentina

    It's the Little Things at Igauza

    Jordan Baxter, '11

  • Nepal

    Going to the Mountain is Going Home

    Emily Bowden, '13

  • France

    Je T'aime

    Caroline Brey, '12

  • France


    Caroline Brey, '12

  • South Africa

    Cape Town at Night

    Walker Brown, '16

  • Netherlands

    I Like to Ride My Bicycle

    Brian Stellingwerf, '13

  • France

    Performing for Paris

    Devin Cassels, '12

  • Morocco

    Doorway at Moulay Ismail

    Maddie Cleland, '12

  • Malta

    Island of Comino

    Liz Cohan, '12

  • Guatemala

    Un Beso en Nebaj

    Yumi Rydlun, '06

  • Malta


    Liz Cohan, '12

  • Switzerland

    The Alps and Rhone River Valley

    Christopher Cotten, '08

  • Uganda

    Kony's Healing Rock

    David Davenport, '13

  • Uganda

    For Yourself, for Community, End Corruption

    David Davenport, '13

  • Switzerland

    Flying Down a Mountain

    Josh Doherty, '08

  • Italy

    Playing with Pigeons in Venezia

    Leigh Donahue, '10

  • Italy


    Loubna El Bar, '15

  • Thailand

    An Organic Day with Paw

    Jackie Fan, '10

  • Dominican Republic

    Walking to School

    Mary Gayle, '10

  • Spain


    Winston Guest, '16

  • England


    Jeni Hatfield, '05

  • South Korea

    Ribbons of Hope DMZ

    Andrew Odenheimer, '12

  • Australia

    Great Ocean Road

    Kelly Kavanaugh, '16

  • New Zealand

    Leap of Faith

    Phillip Kaye, '11

  • Argentina

    Sunset Cheers

    Alex Lescroart, '11

  • Greece

    Pillars of Democracy

    Matt Logan, '16

  • Ireland

    Galway Claddagh

    Alex Marian, '16

  • Rwanda

    Looking out onto Lake Kivu

    Kat Mariani, '11

  • Kenya

    Salt Water Refreshment

    Catherine Matthews, '11

  • Vietnam

    Street Life

    Nick Mider, '10

  • Italy

    Reflections of the Everyday

    Ashley Miles, '11

  • Thailand

    The Last Rays of Island Life

    Aaron Daugherty, '09

  • ValparaÍso

    ValparaÍso Port

    Jenna Moehring '13

  • Turkey

    Terrace Houses

    Burgess Rhodes

  • India


    Hanna Moreland, '16

  • Denmark


    Kari Oransky, '13

  • Bali

    New Friend

    Lauren Pepe, '16

  • Bulgaria

    Path to the Past

    Ana Petrova, '12

  • Guatemala

    Tranquility at Lake Atitlán

    Yumi Rydlun, '06

  • Dubai

    Spice Souk

    Terry Weisenberger

  • Vietnam


    Graham Sager, '12

  • Guatemala

    Espumpuja Women

    Kate Simma, '09

  • Peru

    Life Above the Clouds

    Stephanie Stahl, '14

  • Peru

    Open Wide

    Stephanie Stahl, '14

  • Bhutan


    Pin Thanesnant, '11

  • Argentina


    Tory Udvarhelyi, '11

  • Taiwan

    The Chinese Way

    Mario Villalba, '10

  • Ireland

    Docked Galway Hookers at the Claddagh

    Amelia Vogler, '11

  • Studying in Spain

    Sunset in the Sahara

    Chris Cosgrove, '11

  • Senegal

    English Lesson

    Abbey Warchol, '13

  • South Caicos

    Against the Tide

    Sarah Byce, '12

  • Senegal


    Abbey Warchol, '13