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Thursday January 20th

Photography exhibition encourages studying abroad

Abel Valdivia's "Reflection at the Malecón" won 2nd place in the Carolina Global Photography Exhibition. His photo was taken at Malecón in Havana, Cuba.
Buy Photos Abel Valdivia's "Reflection at the Malecón" won 2nd place in the Carolina Global Photography Exhibition. His photo was taken at Malecón in Havana, Cuba.

Offices within UNC Global and Study Abroad are collaborating once again to make sure studying abroad is on every student’s checklist.

The annual Carolina Global Photography Exhibition — which is sponsored by the Center for Global Initiatives, the International Student and Scholar Services, the Office of Global Relations and Study Abroad — focused on a theme of “Opening Access and Breaking Barriers,” as well as energy and sustainability this year.

Visit the Exhibit

When: Today until March 7
Location: FedEx Global Education Center
More info:

Contestants could compete in the main photography category, as well as a banner category, which features a winning photograph displayed as a 10-foot banner in the atrium of the FedEx Global Education Center. Submissions were also chosen for the Center for Global Initiatives’s 2014 calendar.

Beth-Ann Kutchma, coordinator of the contest and exhibit, said any photographs taken abroad were accepted for consideration.

“There is absolutely no limit on when or where the photograph was taken for submission,” she said. “So, if there is alum that took some photos on a study abroad trip and was here in the 1970s, we are totally into seeing what that looks like.”

Kutchma said the purpose of this year’s exhibit was to inspire students to consider experiencing global opportunities and to get them thinking about those opportunities in a diverse way.

“We’re doing a lot of work looking at photos that represent students’ experiences in global opportunities, and we’re really trying to convey that,” she said. “Especially here at Carolina, global opportunities are for everybody, not just for a select few.”

The annual exhibition has been successful, as many students are picking up on its message.

Andrea Gonzalez, a junior environmental studies major, was a runner-up in the banner contest for her picture taken in Copenhagen, Denmark, of a windmill farm which will also be featured as June’s picture in the CGI 2014 calendar. She studied abroad last summer through the Honors Carolina’s Burch Sustainability Research Seminar in Germany, Denmark and Sweden. While there, she documented her experience centered around sustainability in a photo journal. She also had the experience to get close to equipment in the field of sustainability.

“I’ve just always thought windmills made all this sound, but when we got out there it was virtually silent,” Gonzalez said.

She said she thought all of the photos really exhibit how diverse UNC study abroad programs are and that each unique program presents a great opportunity.

The first place winner, Xiaofei Wang, is a 2003 UNC graduate and native of China. Wang is currently an associate professor in the department of biostatistics and bioinformatics at Duke University’s School of Medicine. His photo captured the spirit of Lijiang, China, which he said has a very unique culture. He added that the natives also have very diverse life experiences.

“They are optimistic and willing to face and overcome whatever obstacle comes into their life,” Wang said. “I was extremely moved, and I hope my photo can refract that spirit of the locals in that area.”

Sophomore business major Natalie Curnes also studied abroad last summer and traveled to Sydney, Australia, where she completed an internship. Her photo of the ocean’s waterline and Great Barrier Reef will be July’s picture in the CGI 2014 calendar.

Curnes, an environmental studies minor, said she spent most of her free time outside of the internship away from the city, with the wildlife.

“Study abroad was, and will be, one of the best experiences of my life, and I hope to do it many more times,” she said. “It really opens your mind to new experiences, and you really have to get out of the country to understand what a huge world it is and see where people get their different thoughts and ideas.”

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