When Utah Valley University student Sierra Lawrence was on a study abroad program in Rome, she saw numerous architectural and historic sites. The memory of one of those might last even longer for her and others as her photo of the Colosseum at night was featured in UVU’s Office for Global Engagement 2020 calendar.
“Seeing the Colosseum at night was like seeing an old friend go from their everyday outfit to being dressed to the nines,” she wrote in her description of the photograph. “It was really interesting to see such an ancient piece of architecture lit up in such a modern way with 21st century technology. It made me wonder what the ancient Romans would have thought if they could have seen their beloved entertainment venue brightly lit in saturated color. I think they might have had a ‘Colosseum Moment.’”
For the past 15 years, the Office for Global Engagement has conducted an annual international photo contest. Students, faculty and staff are eligible to submit up to three photos they have taken while on a UVU-sponsored international experience. Those include study abroad, field trips, international exchanges, internships, service projects and specialized experiences including ones from the School of Education and the Master of Business Administration program. The majority of the entries come from students, said Carlos Alarco, UVU’s associate director of global academic programming.
“This is a way to showcase what UVU is doing,” Alarco said. “We wanted to showcase what our people are doing around the world. UVU is truly about engagement and this is one way of showing how students are engaging.”
The calendar is not available to the public or even for sale at UVU. It will be used by the Office for Global Engagement to promote UVU’s international aspects.
Students have many options to have international experiences. In the 2018-19 school year, 219 students and 28 faculty members participated in 18 study abroad programs in 28 countries. There were 37 non-credit programs with 222 students participating and visiting 32 countries.
A student from the Woodbury School of Business shared her thoughts about a trip to Jordan and the Dead Sea.
“On my trip to Jordan, while lying on the sand of the Dead Sea, I was reminded that I may never have the same view again; one must really take the moment in and appreciate how beautiful each country is,” Alma Lopez wrote.
They do get to see some of the sights and enjoy the beauty of the other countries, but there is more substance to their travels. Even the non-credit programs involve service learning, experiential learning, or intercultural engagement opportunities.
More than 100 students participated in the MBA international experience. The Master of Business Administration students combined engaged-learning opportunities, including business operations of another country, international consulting projects and case studies that are relevant to their studies.
Other students may travel internationally when they attend conferences or competitions. Some are invited to make presentations at professional or scholarly gatherings. They are welcome to submit entries to be considered for the calendars.
“There is a whole range of ways that the students are engaged on an international basis,” Alarco said.
For the 2020 calendar, Eugene Seeley captured the Taj Mahal when he was studying international business in Agra, India in July. Gabby Granthem was on a study abroad trip to Jerusalem in May and photographed the Church of the Holy Sepulchre with dramatic lighting. Kory McIntire was in Schwarzenborn, Germany and photographed a group of trees at the time of a sunset.
Samantha Riding was on a study abroad in Germany and shot a photo of a university student playing a guitar at a castle. Three pagodas reflected the diversity of religious beliefs in China: Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. Alex Yuan was the photographer.
Jaclyn Olsen went to Albania to teach residents about emergency preparedness. While she was there, she photographed a restful scene at a beach. Sunsets in South Africa were “phenomenal,” according to Jenecee Mathis, who did an internship in June. Amy Barnett was in Consuegra, Spain, and captured the image of a modern-day Don Quixote and Sancho Panza headed toward a windmill.
“When I heard we were going to the windmill I was originally underwhelmed,” Barnett said. “But when we got there, I was like ‘Wow, such stark beauty.’ I think the calendar is a great opportunity to remember those moments.”
Italian architecture was the focus of Caitlin Hentish’s photograph of her study abroad experience. Cody De Niro was in Cusco, Peru and enjoyed taking a picture of three colorfully dressed women, especially noting their cheerful faces. Ansul Shar was on a global MBA program in Vienna, Austria, and photographed a striking contrast between low light in St. Stephen’s Cathedral and some bright candles.
As UVU shares these visual memories with others who are considering international experiences, it helps them move toward creating their own.