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Off-campus study – either through a foreign or domestic program – is an integral part of many students’ Whitman experience. About half of Whitman’s junior class studies abroad, returning with new insights and heightened global awareness that enrich the campus community.

The annual off-campus studies image contest is a creative way for students to reflect on their off-campus experience. For the tenth year running, students this year submitted photos to three categories: Whitties in Action, People and Culture, and Landscape. Judges included Gary Rollefson, anthropology professor, Travis Congleton, publications designer, and Matt Ozuna ’10, interim intercultural center director.

“The image contest helps our office to share students’ off-campus experiences with the wider Whitman community, but, more importantly, it also helps the student participants to process their cultural experiences,” said Barbara Hoffman, assistant director of off-campus studies. “I especially like how students submit not just pictures, but also a brief accompanying narrative. Together the images and the stories help all of us understand how students are transformed by studying abroad.”

Based on criteria such as technical merit and representation of chosen subject matter, the judges select first place photos for each category, as well as a number of second and third place entries. Winners receive gift certificates to the college bookstore, and the top photos are displayed near the off-campus studies office and posted online. This year, winning images from 2011 were also made into special greeting cards, which are now on sale at the bookstore.

Below are the three first place images with comments from the students who took them. Second and third place winners included Heather Domonoske '13, Madelaine Pyatt '13, Marta Schenck '13 and Isabella Lowery '13. To view a slideshow of all of the 2012 image contest entries, click here.

Whitties in Action: “Above the Sacred Valley” by Lian Caspi ’13
Abot the Sacred Valley Peru, Lian Caspi, ACT

Major: Psychology
Hometown: Bellevue, Wash.
Study Abroad Program: IFSA Butler Mendoza Universities Program
Location: Machu Picchu, Peru

“In this moment, sitting in this ancient city above a sacred valley, I was able to put together the historical and cultural knowledge that I had acquired in my time abroad, but also simply take in the energy and power that Machu Picchu holds.”

People and Culture: “Henna and Orange” by Marie von Hafften ’13
Henna and Orange Rabat Morocco, Marie-von-Hafften-PC

Major: Anthropology
Hometown: Anchorage, Alaska
Study Abroad Program: SIT Morocco Field Studies in Journalism and New Media
Location: Rabat, Morocco

“On the first night with my Rabati family, my host mother painted my hands with henna, a plant-based dye that can last for more than a week. Henna welcomes guests and plays a central role in marriage ceremonies. The bright color of the henna reflected the tint of the oranges in Morocco, the sweetest I have ever tasted. So much of my life abroad was small moments between people and new sensory experiences; it’s this stuff that is the most vivid in my memory.”

Landscape: “Sunset at Ko Phangnan” by Julia Bowman ’13
Sunset Ko Phangnan Thailand, Julia Bowman, LS

Major: Sociology
Hometown: Woodland Hills, Calif.
Study Abroad Program: CIEE Khon Kaen Development & Globalization
Location: Ko Phangnan, Thailand

“This photo was taken on an island in the south during spring break. Although it was not part of the abroad program, my brief travels in the south helped me to appreciate the beauty of the landscape in Thailand, and also the slow lifestyle.”