St. Olaf Magazine | Spring/Summer 2019

Global Engagement 2019

While on the Environmental Science in Australia and New Zealand program last spring, Ella Doud ’20 photographed Sergius Hannan ’20 taking a picture of a curious Kea on top of Mount Lamond in New Zealand.

For more than a half century, St. Olaf students have taken advantage of the college’s renowned international and off-campus study programs. Living and studying abroad is fundamental to understanding other cultures and perspectives, and to becoming an educated citizen in a changing world. Each year, students document their experiences of exploration and self-discovery through the art of photography and personal reflections. They enter their work in the annual Gimse International and Off-Campus Studies Photo Contest when they return to the Hill. The following photo essay features the award-winning work of students who participated in off-campus programs, either abroad or domestically, in 2018-19.

Sergius Hannan ’20 / Environmental Science in Australia and New Zealand

The Moeraki Boulders are nearly perfectly spherical rocks that were uncovered due to coastal erosion along the Koekohe Beach in Otago. According to Maori tradition, these boulders were the remains of a wreckage of a large canoe that brought the Maori ancestors to the South Island of New Zealand.

“Burning the Dhow” / Nungwi Beach, Zanzibar, Tanzania
Peter MCCrae-Hokenson ’19 / Global Semester

As the water receded during a late morning on the beaches of Zanzibar, I came across a fisherman who appeared to be burning his boat to the ground. Naturally, I was taken aback. As I approached him, he greeted me with a smile and explained that he was using the fire to harden his dhow. This process seals the pores of the wood and ensures that the boat will not leak during long expeditions.

“Offering to Pachamama” / Quechua Andean community of Willoq, Peru
Miranda Thacker ’19 / Peruvian Medical Experience

Community elders of the Willoq community prepare an offering to Pachamama (Mother Earth) that will be buried during the welcome ceremony of our visit.

“Boca Puppy” / Buenos Aires, Argentina
Ryan Zimmerman ’19 / Global Semester

This puppy is decked out in the colors of the local soccer team in the Boca River neighborhood of Buenos Aires. My favorite thing is his little SUBE card in his back pocket!

“Hiroshima Castle” / Hiroshima, Japan
Rafa Al Helal ’22 / Asian Conversations II: Encountering Asia

We were in the midst of a walking tour in Hiroshima when I captured this picture. I found it so beautiful how the castle was framed by the leaves above and the river below and how it stood against the clouds. Before coming to Hiroshima, one of the first things that came to my mind was the iconic mushroom cloud (as a result of the atomic bomb). However, now I remember Hiroshima differently. As you can see in this image, Hiroshima is peaceful and very much alive.

“The Journey to Sea” / Heron Island, Australia
Sergius Hannan ’20 / Environmental Science in Australia and New Zealand

This baby sea turtle was one of the lucky ones who made it out to sea one night at Heron Island in Queensland, Australia. During an evening walk, my friends and I came across over 100 green sea turtle hatchlings making their way toward the ocean. We protected many of them from the circling seagulls by shouting and throwing rocks, but unfortunately, not all of them made it. In the end, it was sad to see some of them get snatched up, but it was quite rewarding to watch and cheer many of them on to the safety of the ocean.

“Aoraki/Mount Cook” / Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park New Zealand
Sergius Hannan ’20 / Environmental Science in Australia and New Zealand

New Zealand’s tallest mountain, Aoraki, illuminated by a full moon beneath the southern night sky. Staying at Aoraki National Park was by far my favorite part of New Zealand.

“Curious Kea” / Mount Ben Lomond, Queenstown, New Zealand
Sergius Hannan ’20 / Environmental Science in Australia and New Zealand

We found this kea bird sitting atop Mount Ben Lomond overlooking Queenstown. Keas are the world’s only alpine parrot, and they have been hunted nearly to extinction by hunters because of their proclivity for attacking farm animals.

“The Trifecta of Salaga” / The Village of Salaga, Ghana
Morgan Marxer ’21  / Slavery in West Africa

The current chief of the Salaga Village is flanked by his subordinates. Before this picture was taken, the chief greeted us with a kola nut, which is a significant cultural sign of acceptance into the Salaga Village. Salaga was the most prominent slave market in precolonial Ghana, which was the hub for slaves taken from the Northern Region of Ghana. The slaves were chained up in the center of the market, then auctioned off to prospective slave masters during the period of the transatlantic slave trade. The pictured moment aims to encapsulate the powerful historical significance of Ghanaian culture. In the eyes of these men lies the silenced anguish of those who came before them.

“No Shoes Allowed” / New Delhi, India
Bethany Westphal ’19 / Religions of India

During our whirlwind first day in New Delhi, I glimpsed this slice of calm while trying to navigate a crazy, bustling street.

“Cloud Forest” / Machu Picchu, Peru
Emily Bukowski ’20 / Peruvian Medical Experience

Many people believe that Machu Picchu is the famed lost Incan city, but the true lost city has never been found. The ruins that sit on top of the breathtakingly tall Machu Picchu Mountain are the remnants of the last known Incan Empire. Due to the Spanish invasion of their empire (located in Cusco), the Incans were forced to flee to the Urabamba River Valley. Located at the highest point of the mountain, the Incans were well hidden by the numerous clouds that drifted through the sky. The term “cloud forest” is now used to describe the many clouds that cover the ruins and make it virtually impossible to see through. This natural defense protected their new empire, so the Incans were never found by the Spaniards — thus preserving Machu Picchu as we see it today.

“Palace Along Yamuna River” / Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India
Ryan Zimmerman ’19 / Global Semester

I waited for a long time to capture just a single silhouette in this doorway, to show the sheer scale of this grand palace.

“Lady in Red” / Xi’an, People’s Republic of China
Peter McCrae-Hokenson ’19 / Global Semester

As part of the phenomenon in the People’s Republic of China known as “plaza dancing,” hundreds of elders congregate in the streets during the evenings to dance in unison. Usually in groups of 20 to 80, these dancers follow the instruction of one leader, such as this woman in red. These dancers continue well into the night and assemble again in the early mornings as a form of both exercise and community development. This lively Chinese tradition reminded me of the universal human love for movement.

“Old Man of Storr” / Isle of Skye, Scotland
Joshua Kline ’20 / University of Aberdeen

Overlooking a small trout pond is the Old Man of Storr, an ancient rock formation that rises out of the mountains on the Isle of Skye. It is truly one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen.

“Eilean Donan Castle” / Highlands, Scotland
Xinyi Zhang ’19 / University of Aberdeen

Leaving the east coast to explore ancient castles in the western Highlands of Scotland during the golden time of fall, I imagined every battle the Scots had fought with the Vikings, and admired the great kingdom before us.

“Blue Dimensions” / Chefchaouen, Morocco
Emily Baer ’20 / CIEE Liberal Arts Program in Seville, Spain

Chefchaouen, also known as the Blue City, stays true to its name — just around every corner, there is a different shade of blue decorating every building.

“The Louvre at Dusk” / Paris
Emma Borkowski ’21 / Theater in London

A rainy day at the Louvre in Paris on the first of February is highlighted by the ominous 5:30 p.m. light.

“Tower Bridge” / London
Emma Borkowski ’21 / Theater in London

This view of London’s Tower Bridge is from the median of Tower Bridge Road.

“Monastery Cat” / Meteora, Greece
Meghaen Mleczek ’20 / Classical Studies in Greece

While we were visiting a monastery in the mountains, I caught sight of this cute little fella. His bright orange fur contrasted with the foggy day and I couldn’t help but take a photo of him before I went into the gift shop.

“Jubilee” / Holden Village, Washington
Solveig Gordon ’21 / Living Faith: Holden Village

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, new people and supplies were brought up to the village in school buses, each having their own name. During a walk with my classmates, we came upon Jubilee, snuggled in under a blanket of snow for a winter’s nap.

“Shrine at Fushimi Inari” / Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, Kyoto, Japan
Nina Vang ’21 / Asian Conversations II: Encountering Asia

Located in Kyoto, the Fushimi Inari Taisha complex is dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice. The shrine is famous for having over 10,000 torii gates and many statues of Inari’s fox messengers. Also scattered across the mountain complex are hundreds of smaller shrines.

“Bufflehead” / Lake Chelan, Washington
Agustin Forero ’21 / Living Faith: Holden Village

A male bufflehead duck flies over the waters of Lake Chelan.

“Chuño” / Cusco, Peru
Emily Bukowski ’20 / Peruvian Medical Experience

Peru is one of the only places in the world that has more than 3,500 different types of potatoes. Although the plethora of potatoes can be beneficial, preserving them is even more important. The process of producing a freeze-dried potato known as Chuño prolongs the life of the tubers, since they are 80 percent water and can mold easily. Farmers leave their potatoes outside overnight, essentially freezing them. The next morning, they stomp out the water and leave them out to be exposed by the sun. This process is repeated three times, and the end result is Chuño. In this form, the potatoes can last up to 10 years.

“From the Private Collection of Oswaldo Guayasamín” / Fundación Guayasamín, Quito, Ecuador
Abigail Becker ’21 / Intermediate Spanish II in Ecuador

This photo is of a statue from the collection of religious artifacts gathered by Oswaldo Guayasamín, a famous Ecuadorian artist, when he was alive. It now resides in his home, which has been converted into a museum.

“Il Duomo, Santa Maria” / Piazza del Duomo, Florence, Italy
Holly Smith ’20 / ACM Florence: Arts, Humanities, & Culture

This photo was taken during my first evening out alone in Florence, as the 7 o’clock bells were going off. I was overwhelmed with emotion by the beautiful song and the setting sun against the cathedral, and thankfully had my camera with me to capture this moment. This piazza quickly became one of my favorite spots in Florence.

“St. Margaret’s Loch” / Edinburgh, Scotland
Xinyi Zhang ’19 / University of Aberdeen

I went by this loch after a morning hike in Holyrood Park, watching a flock of birds circling above the St. Anthony’s Chapel ruins on the hill and the swans swimming in the water. They added to the mystery of this place.

“A Morning in the Pottery Studio” / Holden Village, Washington
Solveig Gordon ’21 / Living Faith: Holden Village

As I sat in the empty pottery studio reading, tea tumbler in hand, I slowly felt the beautiful mess that surrounded me accept each and every one of my imperfections and doubts as her own.

“Trash Queen” / Ouarzazate, Morocco
Margot Groskreutz ’20 / Water in Morocco: Precious, Precarious, and Problematic

This stork queen is sitting on a pile of plastic trash that I helped produce through my touristic activities in Morocco. She sends a message to locals and tourists alike while sitting among her treasures.