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Students give a glimpse of their study abroad experiences in new photo exhibition

Cedar Gardner

Journalism junior Monique Irish points to her picture being displayed at the Wildcat Study Abroad Fair on Monday, Nov. 7 in the Student Union Memorial Center gallery. Irish captured her shot when she traveled to Costa Rica on the international journalism program during the summer of 2016.

To many UA students, the idea of studying abroad is both an appealing and daunting opportunity. The “Wildcats Abroad: Photo Exhibition” is one way students can get an idea of study abroad experiences by hosting photos of students’ real-life endeavors in places around the world.

The exhibition opened Monday, Nov. 7 and ends Friday, Nov. 18. It’s held in the Student Union Memorial Center’s Union Gallery, and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The exhibition was sponsored by UA Study Abroad and the Study Exchange, according to UA News.

RELATED: Study a-broaden your horizons

The images are categorized into new-cultural-snapshot, landscape-and-nature, school-spirit and learn-everywhere photos, and all speak to the diverse experiences students gained while studying abroad.

The exhibit includes a map students can use to pin point where they’ve been, an Instagram photo booth using the hashtag #wildcatsabroad complete with props, a study abroad catalog with a plethora of programs from Cultural Experiences Abroad and, most importantly, voting for the best images from each category.

Student photographers and prospective study abroad students can visit the exhibition to see the photographs on display and to choose their favorites.

Tatiana Pandis, a sophomore studying Italian and communication, visited the exhibition to see her friends’ art on display. Pandis initially chose to study abroad with the Arizona in Italy program because of its popularity and affordability.

The experience was life-changing for Pandis. It included weekly field trips to adjacent cities, opportunities to take one-time classes in crafts like paper-making and journal-making. She said she fostered lasting friendships with fellow study abroad students.

“At the very end … you become best friends for life,” Pandis said.

At the end of the program, Pandis decided to declare another major and to return to Italy, hopefully in this upcoming spring semester.

Pandis’ favorite picture was “Wildcats On Top Of The World” by Jessica Torres because it “perfectly represents the [Orvieto, Italy] trip.” The photo shows some of Torres’s friends standing atop a tower overlooking Orvieto.

Only one group of students were able to make it to the top of the tower for the “Wildcats On Top Of The World” photo because there had been a power outage the day before, according to Torres’ photo description.

Monique Irish, a journalism junior, visited the exhibit to see her photograph and others that were chosen for the gallery. She traveled to Costa Rica for the International Journalism trip.

RELATED: Get hands-on with the Center for Creative Photography’s photobook exhibit  

Irish’s photograph, “Seeing Is Be-leafing, Hands On Approach,” featured fellow classmate Ava Garcia testing the “healing properties of the licorice leaves,” according to Irish’s description.

Irish said she chose to study abroad for the experience and because “it’s great to go back with a different perspective,” since she had traveled to Costa Rica before.

However, studying abroad came with its fair share of unpredictability.

“Costa Rica was Costa Freaka for sure,” Irish said.

Other photographs, ranging from participating in a cultural performance with an indigenous tribe in “Diving Into Botswana Culture” by Michael McPherson to taking a day trip to a far off place like in Tamara Estrella’s “Red Gate of Hakone Shrine,” also embodied the spirit of going someplace new and absorbing another culture.

Anna Petronella, a studio art junior, works for the gallery and encouraged students to study abroad. She said that the gallery is great advertisement for studying abroad, and it’s useful to prospective students who are searching for a specific program or are may be interested in seeing what’s out there.

Global Initiatives will announce a winning photograph from each category and one grand winner at the Study Abroad Alumni and Award Night in the Union Gallery on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 4 p.m. The winner will receive flight vouchers, among other prizes.

Follow Elizabeth Quinlan on Twitter.

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