WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., Jan. 24, 2019 — During the Fall 2018 semester, the Internationalization Committee held the first contest to showcase students’ travels abroad.
Students, faculty, and staff were encouraged to make their vote online at the contest page after submissions closed in late October. Of those submissions, two winners were chosen.
Linda Hall, a senior Disability Services major, won first place. She received an iPad Mini for her photograph of the Princes’ Garden in Würzburg. Brooke Thomas, a junior Elementary Education major, won second place. She received an Echo Dot for her selfie with the Neuschwanstein Castle.
Both students traveled to Germany with Community Education Director and Assistant Professor of Education Dr. Miriam Douglas.
The trip was two weeks long and included castle tours which both Hall and Thomas enjoyed. The Neuschwanstein Castle that Thomas photographed was used as inspiration for Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom.
Thomas attended the trip as credit for a class, and Hall attended as her internship. During the trip, the students visited a forest kindergarten where most of the instruction for children is done outside.
Both Hall and Thomas appreciated how hands-on the kindergarten was, and noted how it seemed to benefit the children to experience outdoor, sensory learning.
“I honestly just loved how excited Miriam was to show us where she was from,” said Thomas of her favorite part of the trip. Hall enjoyed learning the different culture, and eventually, both found that they actually liked the German cuisine.
“I think it went really well,” said Study Abroad Coordinator Dr. Felipe Rojas. “I wish there were a few more submissions, but I thought that the pictures were really good.”
Rojas plans to continue the contest annually. For the first contest, the submissions were all from the trip to Germany, and he hopes that future contests will bring in photographs from more trips organized by the college, third parties, and through student internships.
“As it grows and as the professors encourage their students to send submissions it will get people more excited,” said Rojas.
Both Hall and Thomas said that Douglas encouraged them and the rest of the students to submit their photographs. Rojas looks forward to future contests and is thinking about implementing a video contest as well.
Faculty who lead trips abroad should be on the lookout for next year’s contest and encourage their students to submit pictures to showcase the opportunities WLU students have and all the beautiful places they can visit.
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