The study abroad staff held a reception this past Thursday, Jan. 30 for photography contest winners featuring pictures taken by students while abroad.  Students were given the opportunity to discuss their photos and give peers a glimpse into their study abroad experience.

“We all shared the story behind our pictures, which was really cool because sometimes you just see them and don’t really know what’s going on,” said senior contestant Katelyn Campbell.

Through photos, students were able to share their journeys and the impacts that their study abroad experiences had on them. Leah Wesselman, who received best in show, was excited to participate.

“I was abroad in South Africa and it was such a beautiful country. I also got to do some traveling around South Africa, and I got to capture some really cool moments. I was really proud of some of the pictures and thought the contest would be a cool way to share with other people who had gone abroad,” Wesselman said.

Up to 47 percent of Trinity students study abroad at some point during their time here. Unlike most other schools, many students here take advantage of the opportunity to immerse themselves in a different culture before graduating and starting their careers.

“We encourage  a lot of our students to think about doing an internship while abroad, because the world is much more global now, and many companies work internationally. Having an understanding of another culture is important to them,” advisor Andre Martinez said.

Going abroad also has the potential to help students expand and alter their worldview in a way that goes beyond the learning that happens in the classroom.

“It helps you see a different world perspective. People here at Trinity are very academically focused and going abroad opens your eyes to how much bigger it is outside of the Trinity bubble, outside of Texas, outside of the United States,” Wesselman said.

The photo contest is held every semester and is open to students who have just come home from being overseas. Students were able to submit up to four photos that are categorized into five categories: people, cityscapes, landscapes,people, and animals.

Newly hired study abroad advisor Andre Martinez organized the event and implemented changes to the contest this semester.

“We have it set up now to where all photos are submitted digitally so students don’t have to worry about the cost of printing and having them mounted,” Martinez said.

The potential financial burden and logistical trouble students may have in printing and framing their own photos were important reasons to  modernize the submission process. Thanks to sponsors like Walgreens and Fast Frame, all photo submissions were printed and matted free of charge for students. Photo submissions in this semester’s contest more than doubled from past contests.

“I probably would not have entered if I would have had to print off my pictures and matt them myself,” Campbell said.

For each category, first, second and third along with four honorable mentions were awarded. First-place winners received a camera cleaning cloth from Camera Exchange and a $30 Amazon gift card. Second place received a $15 iTunes gift card. Third place was awarded  a $10 Cici’s Pizza voucher.Honorable mentions were given a $5 HEB gift card. The best in show is on display in the Coates University Center near the Skyline Room. Wesselman received a $100 HEB gift card and a certificate to Camera Exchange for a free photography course. Everyone who placed or received an honorable mention were given certificates in recognition of their participation in the competition.

Students who didn’t attend the event will have the chance to view their peers’ photos this semester. All submitted photos will be on display in Chapman during  spring family weekend for students to show their friends and family.