Feb. 12, 2024

Capturing global moments: UCalgary's international photo contest gives glimpse into study abroad experiences

See how UCalgary students made the world their classroom at annual photo exhibit in MacEwan Student Centre north courtyard Feb. 13 and 15
A man rows a boat on a river with a purple sky behind him
People's Choice: Tranquility Poojan Gohil

Step into the captivating world of studying abroad as the Global Learning Office at UCalgary proudly presents its annual international photo contest, a celebration of students' unique experiences abroad. We invite you to witness the world through their lens, capturing the adventures of life in other countries. The dynamic exhibit will be on display in the MacEwan Student Centre North Courtyard Feb. 13 and 15, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Don't miss the opportunity to explore the rich diversity of international experiences captured in each frame.

As UCalgary continues to embrace and promote international experiential learning, the international photo contest remains a significant platform for students to share their stories, fostering a sense of community and encouraging dialogue on the importance of global experiences. 

Reeana Tazreean, Health Sciences Undergraduate and contest participant, travelled to Uganda and Washington D.C. last year. “I participated in a group study program called the Health Sciences Field School in Uganda. I had the opportunity to work with youth and community members to establish a youth clinic in a rural village. The experience was transformational, and I will carry the lessons I learned with me for the rest of my life. 

“I also participated in an internship program called The Washington Centre Academic Internship Program. I lived in Washington D.C. and worked at a grassroots advocacy organization as a public policy intern. I had the chance to meet with House and Senate staffers and lobby at Capitol Hill. I was fortunate to have received a Global Access Fund Scholarship to fund my time in D.C.”

Chiara Raguso, communications and media studies undergraduate and 2023 photo contest winner took part in the Hawaii Art Photography program. “This program has brought me new friends, skills and experiences that I will always cherish. The group that I travelled with came from all different backgrounds degree-wise and created a fun diverse atmosphere for the trip. 

“Some of my favourite highlights of the trip were hanging out at our accommodations' common area, editing all our photos from the day, and laughing at our either questionable photography skills or the cameos of our fellow group members. This program has given me inspiration to travel more and try new things to further my personal and career goals. 

“The international photo contest was the first of its kind for me to ever submit my photography and having won is an incredible accomplishment that I am very grateful for. I owe a big thank you to my professor Denis Gadbois for being an encouraging and inspirational individual even following the conclusion of the trip.”

In 2023, the photo categories were Out in Nature, In the City, and Highlight of Your Trip.

“Studying abroad not only offers remarkable academic and professional benefits, but it also provides students with the opportunity to immerse themselves in a culture different from their own — an experience often described as a once-in-a-lifetime adventure,” says Colleen Packer, director, global learning. 

“We’re committed to making international opportunities as accessible as possible. There is almost half a million dollars in funding available to students for global learning experiences, like the Global Access Fund Reeana mentioned. We provide a diverse selection of more than 150 programs worldwide that enable students to seamlessly earn credits without incurring foreign student tuition expenses during their time abroad.”

This year, the photo categories are Action shot, Wholesome, Travel Goals, and Selfie Love. 

A panel of judges evaluates the submissions based on elements such as composition, style, creativity and international focus. However, the public also plays a crucial role by supporting their favourites through voting in the People’s Coice category. 

To cast your vote, simply visit the exhibit or head to the photo contest website between Feb. 19 and 23 where a short list of photos will be shared for online voting. The winners of this year's contest will be announced March 1.

Are you looking to take your studies outside of Canada? There are still spots available to study abroad this spring and summer. Programs fill quickly on a first-come, first-served basis. Contact the Global Learning Office at study.abroad@ucalgary.ca or visit the study abroad website to start your adventure!