2019 Winners

Writing Contest Winners

Transformative Cultural Experiences Abroad

Winners

1st Place: L′Histoire Vit Ici (History Lives Here) by Talia Mesnick

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During the summer of 2019, I found myself in France. I state this passively because I never expected it to happen, not to me. Since I’d begun studying French at the age of 12, France had felt like some mythological land—far away, idealized, romantic but unreal. Even after I was accepted to the study abroad program, after the whirlwind of planning and packing and scholarship applications, something in me felt that I would never actually go to France. Maybe my scholarship would fall through, or I’d find out this was some elaborate joke. Maybe I’d get in a car accident on the way to the airport. It wasn’t until the plane landed in Paris that I realized this was for real: I was studying abroad in France.

I went through most of the trip in a stunned haze—thrilled, of course, but shocked. The program took me to Dijon, a metropolitan city that retained its medieval charm. Nestled in historical buildings (including the old Duke’s Palace, a sprawling mansion that is now the museum of fine arts), I was to nurture my passion for art, history, culture, and language.

This trip was life changing. I learned and learned. I became more independent. I grew intellectually, personally, socially. But there was a strange dissonance present in my experience, the dull hum of something either unfulfilled or unfulfilling. I first noticed it in Vézélay.

Every week, the program took field trips to historic sites in the areas that surrounded Dijon. Most of these sites dated back to the Middle Ages—they were much older than anything I’d ever seen in the United States. It’s hard to describe the awe I felt, but I tried to in a postcard to my parents: I couldn’t believe that I was standing in a building that has witnessed so much more than I ever have, than I ever will…The past is somehow real, somehow alive in Burgundy, and I knew I was privileged to stand before it.

But with history comes responsibility. The past isn’t just stained glass and pruned hedges. My discomfort arose when I felt history’s more personal echoes.

I was raised Jewish, and I’ve always felt a strong connection to my cultural roots. This closeness to my own family history has manifested in a closeness to Jewish history in general: in fact, the semester before I studied abroad, I took a course on medieval Jewish history. I won’t rehash the details of the course, but I’ll say this: it really sucked to be Jewish during the Middle Ages.

This knowledge was sitting in the back of my mind when we visited Vézélay, but I was mostly excited. Vézélay was a charming town—really just one street with some old buildings covered in rose vines—and I immediately fell in love.

We took a guided tour of Vézélay’s cathedral. I gazed in awe at the high ceiling, the stained glass, the ornate carvings on each pillar. I was halfway listening as the tour guide described the architecture and history of the cathedral when I heard her say: Bernard of Clairvaux preached the Second Crusade here.

I remembered learning that the Crusaders, inflamed with religious zeal, had killed thousands of Jews on their way to the Holy Land. I knew that the visitors to this church, to whom I had just felt so connected, would have wanted me dead. I thought, how do I appreciate the past when the past hates me? This tension would only continue to grow the more churches I visited.

I did attempt to connect with Jewish history as well. I took a weekend to visit Troyes, the hometown of Rashi. In Paris, I wandered through the labyrinth of the Père Lachaise Cemetery, seeking out Jewish graves. The old synagogue in Dijon was almost never open, but I returned every week, hoping it would be.

And history is nuanced. I learned that the cathedral in Vézélay had also sheltered Jewish children during the Holocaust. It’s possible to unpack history, to sort the good from the bad from the in-between, to feel a connection in spite of fear. After all, we study history to learn. Sacrificing knowledge to some sense of comfort or affirmation will only stunt our growth. As I came to this realization during my time abroad, I found I could stand in a cathedral, speechless with both awe and fear, balancing history against its flaws while appreciating fully all I had the privilege to witness.

2nd Place: 'Taki Taki' with the Resiales by Annika Fowler

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“I said to pack lightly!”, Profe joked to me as we waited in the Ministro Pistarini International Airport, looking at my massive suitcase. Little did I know, everything the Resiales would give and show me during my two weeks with them would not nearly come close to fitting within that suitcase, and instead, one song would come to represent so much.

With some trepidation, I waited to hear my name and host family pairing. At last, I heard Carlitos yell out mine followed by “con los Resiales!” Immediately, I heard whisperings around me which I quickly worked to translate in my head, focusing on the word “el campo.” El campo means farm or rural countryside… am I living on a farm, away from the other students… can I really do this?

I was immediately engulfed in a hug from Silvia and Juli. Most of my worries subsided with the warm embrace and smiles, but I feared for my ability to communicate with them, considering my Spanish skills mediocre at best and rather slow.

We departed for their muddied truck and headed home; I pronounced my name to them a few times en route. They struggled to pronounce it, so we settled on a nickname. In my mind, that nickname given to me by the Resiales is not a representation of the communication challenges, but rather synonymous with the love and compassion they showed to the “American” placed with their family in the tiny town of Colonia Almada:

When I freaked out in excitement after seeing the Lilo & Stitch statutes randomly in the park as we sped along the road, they stopped the truck just to take a picture for me as I tried to explain how, in a sense, my sister back home is Lilo, and I am Stitch… that the Disney art sculpture represented a merging of both my families.

When my expression looked overwhelmed at the kitchen table during our first dinner, trying to comprehend and keep up as Richard or Silvia rapidly spoke, my host sisters acutely read my visual cues, stopped the conversation, and began to slowly repeat in basic terms what was being discussed. They proceeded to repeat this practice at every meal if I needed it.

When I expressed my love for their homemade salami, they professed that Richard is the King of Salami, proudly showed me his awards, and proceeded to make sure they had some at every meal for me to enjoy.

When owners would stare at me in the stores of Río Tercero when I walked in with Silvia and my sisters, Silvia would explain that I was a new member of their family from the United States, studying and learning for a month in their country.

When I woke each morning for class and entered the kitchen for breakfast, Franco would greet me with a shout of “hello!”; it was one of the five English words he knew, but that one repeated effort meant more than he knew.

When Franco drove us to the final dinner in town with all of the students and our families, he put on the song “Taki Taki” for the drive. On the surface, it was just a popular English-Spanish song at the time, but we shared an understanding of its deeper meaning for our family. It was my alarm clock for the duration of my homestay, and we shared a long laugh when they first heard my alarm, followed by a little dance party in the kitchen.

Acts of love and compassion shown to me by the Resiales transcended the language barriers I so deeply feared.

We all speak the language of love and compassion across the globe, whether it is communicated through the song Taki Taki as my alarm clock, a cup of instant coffee awaiting me on the kitchen table each day before class, or the young Argentine boy repeatedly bringing me, a stranger to him, little flowers from the driveway bush as we watched the New Year’s fireworks at 2 o’clock in the morning.

It is because of the Resiales that I will return to Argentina to share that love and compassion given to me, for I have a new family over 5,000 miles away and a great appreciation for the generous Argentine people. When I miss the Resiales and my time in Colonia Almada, I just play “Taki Taki”, and the wonderful memories come flooding back.

Honorable Mentions

Paris: A Moveable Feast by Emily Brandenburg

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Traveling abroad for the first time is as every bit as stereotypical as you thought it would be and you just have to accept that. You will stand out before you make one step or speak one word, simply through appearance, posture, mannerisms, facial expressions; in Paris, I’d like to say that you will stand out by the amount of joy you radiate. If you radiate none, you might just fit in. This is the first thing I learned in France. The second is that there is no point in having fear, as there is always something else to be afraid of with every new experience. Forgetting this fear will allow you to continuously adventure through Paris and not dwell on the process.

From Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris (2011), Gil Pender said that “Paris is the most beautiful in the rain”. I don’t agree, because it is the rain and clouds that dull the beauty that you seek in a city like Paris. Therefore, it’s most beautiful at dusk; the closing of a day and the opening of opportunity. You see the beauty of the sun setting over the city, knowing that it will come back up again tomorrow and with it, new hope and new adventure. In the meantime, the night offers exploration that even those who are scared of the dark can appreciate.

I’m first seeing this beauty at night. The bright colors create a map to outline the city and enhance the excitement of a new tomorrow. Despite the sour airplane yogurt breakfast, the lights below feed into the anticipation of discovering what is beneath. Physically, yes there is a city to explore, but there is also a deep inset reflection on personal life, cultural values, and development to be had. Paris is a place of historical discovery in which you can find personal understanding. You don’t go to Paris to find yourself, you go to Paris to find Paris. You look within yourself to discover what Paris means to you and more importantly, allow what you’ve learned from Paris to change you. It is a process of reinvention that I’m willing to start.

The Kindness of a Country by Kaylynn Borror

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No place is perfect. Anyone can claim utopia, but it’s an unreachable dream. Nowadays, people all over the world—people like me—expect the worst of humanity, for fear of being hurt or abandoned. Far too often, this worst in humanity rears it’s head, and we all hear about it in the news, nothing more we can do. But I’m not here to talk about humanity and its downfalls. Here I talk about one small, seemingly insignificant, moment that showed me the true kindness of a country.

I studied abroad in Japan during the Summer of 2019. Japan is known as being a country where the residents are polite and proper. People mostly keep to themselves, follow the rules, act according to the social structure assigned by previous generations.

Every morning I rode the bus and underground metro to get to classes, and every evening I would do the same, only backwards. People of all ages did the same as me: from 6-year old children going to school to 40-some-year old business men rushing to their jobs. It’s quite a sight to see all of the people in the mornings: packed onto the trains like sardines in a tin. The buses are often similar, but with less sitting room.

One evening, I was waiting for the bus for the return home. The returns home were almost never crowded: I often got a seat to myself. It was raining, and it was in general a miserable, humid-hot day. The bus arrived, people filed on, and I fumbled with my umbrella and my metro card to put one away while taking the other out of my pocket.

It was at this point in the trip where I was aware of metro card holders, but I considered it too late to purchase one and feel as if I’d had my money’s worth. So, I just kept it in my pocket. It had worked for the last seven weeks, what was one and a half more?

Well, when I fumbled with the umbrella, my metro card came out of my pocket and bounced of my fingertips right under the bus. I didn’t even think twice: I hit the ground, the puddle beneath me splashing and instantly soaking the front of my shirt and jeans. I tried reaching under the bus, but my arm span was just a touch too short. As I reached up for my umbrella to use the handle as leverage, I noticed some people on the bus staring at me, wide eyed. ‘My card… went under the bus,’ I managed to say before reaching for it again.

When I looked up again, metro card in hand, one woman who had been on the bus was standing beside me, holding her own umbrella above me. I thanked her quickly and bowed multiple small times, embarrassed to no end, and swiped my card to get onto the bus. There were no open seats where I would usually sit in the evenings, so I decided to stand, knowing that people probably wouldn’t want to sit next to a soaked student.

An older lady, who must have been at least eighty years old, told me to sit next to her. I refused a couple times, saying it was ok, but she still encouraged me to sit. After being seated, she took off her light jacket and put it on top of me, telling me to put it on. ‘But it’s your jacket,’ I remember saying, still refusing as was customary. She practically commanded me to put it on, and I wore that jacket until the bus got to my stop. I lied to her that my house was close to the stop, so that she would take back the jacket: she was insistent on me keeping it on all the way home, but she did relent. I apologized again, to both her and quietly to the entire bus, then stepped off.

Something like this would never happen in America today. At least, not where I’m from. One thing that really touched me was the fact that they didn’t treat me like a foreigner: they treated me like any other person in the country. All in Japanese, all understanding, all humble and kind. It really made me think about what makes people kind, and what we can do as a whole to be better. We can’t be perfect, but what can we do to be better?

We Make Such a Pair by Cierra Farst

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My human claimed me from a Burlington shoe rack back in January. It’s October now and together we’ve seen so much. We went on vacation, took a trip to a state we’ve never been to before, she made it through her first year of college, and I learned how mud can really do a number on my appearance… At the moment I rest under a bed in Auckland, New Zealand, in a room that has become my human’s temporary home.

We arrived in July, when the skies were cloudy and the rain never failed to say hello. I’m always fond of the rain; it keeps me clean. But I could tell my human wasn’t as enthused. She’s meant for the sunshine. And one day, she got it. She was so excited that she took a bus to St Helier’s Bay, and I came along too. She carried me as she let her feet sink in the sand and let the water touch her toes.

I got some water on my toes when we traveled down south. I met the edge of a lake and studied the colors of the rainbow found in a waterfall. I kept my human balanced on an occasionally swaying boat, kept her protected from Queenstown’s cold, and left her to dance on the warm carpet of a place she was falling in love with.

When we’re at university together, I get to learn too. Once we wandered around The Clock Tower, her taking notes and pictures, and I gliding on colorfully tiled floors. But most of the time, we journey from class to class with a backpack on shoulders, phone in hand, and me on foot. She scribbles away on notebook paper in lectures while I greet my fellow shoes underneath the tables. For lunch, we either sit on the benches or sit in the aisles of the library, her reading a random book and I counting the titles on the shelves.

Although I don’t eat, my human loves to. Queen Street and those surrounding it have a variety of culinary wonders for her to explore. She’s had Korean pancakes and a bubble waffle cone. She’s watched a bowl of fettuccine get mixed into a cheese wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano. She’s feasted on pumpkin soup, lamb, and raspberry chocolate cake in the Sky Tower. She’s done late night McDonald’s runs with friends and ice cream strolls along the harbor. Countdown has become our most visited spot.

If I had to pick one shared passion between me and my human, it would be our fondness for walks. We’ve walked down Queen Street and Quay; crossed the bridge to Newmarket; trekked to the top of Mount Eden.

Sometimes we have a destination in mind; other times we just walk. More recently, we’ve been hopping on the buses and trains, giving us even more ground to cover. While she looks at the map of the train lines and stops, I gaze at the patterns on the seats. They remind me of seashells, a whole wave of them.

When we’re in the apartment together after a long day, I rest as she continues moving. I’ll watch her type away on her computer or jot down words on a sticky note. Sometimes she’ll follow along with a ballet tutorial on Youtube or she’ll play music. She started listening to Italian music too, in the hopes it will make her a better learner. She adores movies and TV shows, and at least one or two New Zealand programs have caught and kept her attention. I’ll see her scroll through pictures on her phone, smiling. Although we have only been here for a few months, the images on that phone contain many memories.

Often, when I catch her staring out the window, I can imagine how she must feel. Instead of looking at frozen images on postcards and the internet, she’s here now, watching as the picture moves and breathes. I think occasionally she feels as if she’s in a dream. I don’t blame her. After all, traveling has been a dream of hers ever since I met her and before I even knew her. She’s half a world away from home right now, and my intuition tells me this won’t be the last time she is. I just hope the next time she is, I’ll be the one keeping her on her feet.

Transformative Cultural Experiences at Miami

Winners

1st Place: Living on a Chessboard by Jing Xiao

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At the first time when I learned to play chess, my teacher taught me the rules before introducing any strategy. This is because despite all the fabulous strategies facilitating in winning, the basis of chess is actually its rules, a lack of which would lead to a meaninglessness of the game itself. As I arrived in the United States, what I noticed first were the strictly regulated custom and quiet visitors waiting in lines. When I arrived at university, it also impressed me that all professors emphasized the rules of their classes and the significance of academic integrity in their first lectures. Perhaps because an emphasis on rules was always the first thing I encountered upon arriving in the U.S. and my classes, I have developed an impression of the United States as a country in which citizens follow the rules at all times. It even seems like they are living on a chessboard. Of course, I now understand that violations of rules definitely take place all the times, and American people also speed on highways and get tickets from the police. However, my first impression on the significance of rules are so is and lasting that I myself become a person valuing rules.

Just in last month, one minor event took place on one of my psychology class, an event that showed American’s emphasis on rules and was unlikely to happen in any college in China. It was simple, short, and took my professor less than a minute: he apologized for an unclear question on our last quiz. I had to admit that I was shocked in class for this “unusual” behavior of my professor. I used to consider his apology as a consequence of his humbleness and sincerity. When I thought it through after class, however, I recognized that his apology was actually a result of following the social norm: to apologize when it is necessary. All people around the world, of course, have learned the necessity of apology, but this is not sufficient for a college professor to apologize to his students; the significance of rules must be emphasized in social norms as well. After realizing Americans’ value of rules, I still admire my professor’s humbleness and open-mindedness, but admire even more his complying with rules when he has power over us students.

Now I have become a person valuing rules, a result that is both beneficial and unfavorable in certain situations. As a fully enrolled Miami student, I am glad that my emphasis on rules has made me a more industrious student. For example, I become willing to read the textbooks before classes and perform according to instructors’ exact requirements in group discussions and projects. I have learned also to ask my professors’ expectations and requirements of assignments before starting to write. Unfortunately, my valuing of rules has also drawbacks. The most obvious one is that I would feel uncomfortable witnessing violations of rules when I go back to China. It is a pity that in China, sometimes following the rules leads to disadvantages since others could gain advantages by violating the rules without getting caught. I have to admit that I might join in the people who violate rules in such circumstances, even though I understand it is wrong. Despite the internal struggles I might have, I currently experience no bad becoming a person valuing rules. Thus, I would say, I am enjoying my life right now on a chessboard.

2nd Place: My Experience in America by Jiangxue Lin

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It was a sunny day when I was on my way to buy a pre-owned car. Three of my friends and I picked up an Uber to get to the automatic car store. Before deciding to go to the store, I had already searched on the apps for my preferred cars. Cheerfully and excitedly, I dressed in a yellow skirt and made up delicately. As soon as the Uber driver saw me, he immediately appreciated my dressings and said that “you look like a pop star.” I was really happy to hear that. Living in China for all of my previous life, I found that Chinese people will not usually appreciate others in such an obvious way. Although I knew that he was just greeting me, it still brought a good mood to me. During the process we went to the car store, the Uber driver chatted with us with enthusiasm. I had never thought of a person could be so passionate like him until I found that nearly all of the American people treat others in this way. We soon found the common interest of us. As a fan of Chinese songs, the Uber driver played a lot of music of Jay Chou’s, who is one of the most famous Chinese singers. We listened and sang the songs together all the way. The happy time often passed very fast and it was the time of arrival at our destination. While we were about to get off the car, the Uber driver suddenly stopped us. Under our puzzled eyes, he told us that this car store was an informal one and it could not guarantee the legal services and qualities. “I can carry you guys to another official one,” he said, “the cars in this store are awful, even American people will not buy a car here. You are cute Chinese students, and I do not want you to be cheated.” With zero experience of buying a car, nothing could explain our gratitude to him. Although I thought it was the best kindness of him, he said “I will take you to another place for free, and you just need to tell me where you want to go.” As we come to the store, we were still singing all the way. When we arrived at Nissan 4S store, the Uber driver talked to the workers there and told them to give us the best service as they could. During this journey, I found the good faith of American people. I could not even express my moods by words but held them in my heart. This experience removed all the tension about the unknown life since I came to America and I know that whenever I need help, no matter identity and nationality, people are always willing to give me a hand.

Honorable Mentions

Meeting New Friends at Miami by Jiayi Chen

Cure by Smile by Linda Zhu

Different Food Culture in my Life by Meihan Chen

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From a classmate at Miami University, I heard an interesting phrase, 'Freshman 15', which means that many freshmen typically increase their weight by 15 pounds. I have a deep understanding of this. As a student who has traveled across half the globe from China to the United States, I feel the pronounced difference in food culture. This difference made me gain almost 15 pounds, but I don't know the exact number because I don't dare to weigh myself, and to escape weighing, I didn't even buy a scale. One day, passing through the electronic scale area of Walmart, I pushed the shopping cart to go straight to the food area. In Walmart's food area, there are many quick-frozen foods and large packs of snacks, and I like them. In the end, I left Walmart with a shopping cart full of food.

I come from Shanghai, a typical southern Chinese city, and most food in Shanghai is small and exquisite. At lots of restaurants in Shanghai, the dishes are only the size of a palm. After coming to the United States, I have found that the size of food in American restaurants is much larger than expected. In Miami University canteen, fried chicken nuggets are about two times larger than China's, and hamburgers are also one and a half times larger. Even Coke is offered unlimited, and I can have as much as I want. In China's fast-food restaurants, Coke sold by a cup. If you're going to drink more, you have to pay for it in China. When I first came to the United States, I liked this kind of service in the restaurants, but it didn't take long for me to get fat. It may be because I don't want to waste food. Even if I am full, I will eat all the food I bought, and even greedily have another cup of Coke. I adapted to the different food in the two countries so well that I am distressed when looking at the fat on my belly.

As an introverted international student, I always feel lonely. Whenever I really can't bear the loneliness, I eat chocolate or chips, which always make me feel better. I am not good at communicating with American students, nor am I good at making friends with other students from China. However, I always have a soul resonance with my food. My friendship with food is quiet and profound, while my communication with my classmates is noisy and short. The life in universities in America is different from that of high schools in China. In high school, everyone is in the same classroom all day long, and it is easy to make friends. When it comes to the study at university, everyone has different courses and learns in different classes, and even classmates rarely communicate. Therefore, when I am alone and with no one to talk with, chewing snacks and making a squeaky voice always makes me comfortable.

Winter Grief by Jiaxian Lin

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The voice of the rain is getting milder and milder; finally, it softly stops. However, the rain in my heart never ends. When I was young, I thought the day I would become an adult was very far away from me. Now, it is still far away, but in my memory. To decide to leave the home nation and study abroad was not a big deal to me when I was at the age of 16, but it extraordinarily changed my destiny.

Many overseas students would feel hard to get into a new culture. I was in the same situation as well before. I was having struggles with many culture shocks in adapting to American life: different languages and different food. I doubted my decision to come to a strange country which I did not know. For example, when I bought a Coke, I read “To BFF.” I had no idea that BFF was “Best Friends Forever.” I could not understand the sentence: “A metaphor is like a simile.” I knew every single word by itself, but I could not understand what the sentence meant. Luckily, I got through it quickly, because I knew some tips for life. Anyway, this struggling was not the biggest problem for me. As I found the way in a different language, in a different country, I had overcome my fear of adapting to the new environment.

As much as I loved my daily routine in China, I lost this most precious part of my life in coming to the US. Leaving home always means being apart from those people who love me and who I love. It is painful to be in a lonely feeling, especially when I am sick. I miss my family and friends so much, but I know I could not meet them in the next moment. Besides, I guess many international students would have a similar situation, which is breaking up with their girlfriend or boyfriend. Breaking up brought me to suffer deeply because I still love her. I had never thought that the distance would wreck the relationship between us. However, I had to admit that it works. During day and night, my head was keeping flashing back to the old days she and I owned. The days, when we were together, appeared in my mind time after time, because they were so joyful, happy, blest, disappointing, sad, and painful. The fact that she left was like a needle in my heart, stinging over and over again. Even now, I miss her so much, and it is not for my loneliness. I do feel lonely when I miss her. I feel so alone because I miss her deeply. This feeling makes my day gray and rainy.

To get away from the ache in my heart, I tried reading, playing games, and hanging out with friends. Fortunately, I made some great friends in Maimi University. Some of them brought me to the church and prayed for me, which did move me a little bit. Some of them spent their time playing ping pong with me even they did not know how to play. The most important thing was that they cared about me. It warmed my heart because of the feeling that I knew some people loved me.

The rain was still in my heart, and the raindrop used to wash my face ruthlessly. However, I get the umbrella now. I know there will be a rainbow after the heavy rain and the sky will turn to colorful from gray. My life is getting more and more hopeful.

Different Cultures by Zhengxuan Tan

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As a Chinese student major in computer science, there will and should be a lot of troubles when switching the language because most words and facilities we used are not common. That’s also why it surprised me that the language of academics like some proper nouns is not the most confusing thing that troubles me, but the different customs and culture. After passing the IELTS test, I thought my English level was good enough for normal communication, while the reality hit me in the head hard.

The first obstacle was when I went to a brunch restaurant. When I was ordering egg, I was asked how I wanted my egg cooked. The first idea came to my mind was “how can I choose it?” “Is it like when I ordered steak, should I say medium rare or medium?” My friend probably found out my confusion, laughed and said to me, “You can choose from scrambled, sun-side up, over easy, or boiled,” and he explained what each one like to me. This kind of awkward thing happened a lot when I go to restaurants. It also happened when I went to fast food restaurant for the first-time order. After ordering the meal I wanted, the waiter handed me a empty cup but not the drink I ordered. I asked the waiter about my curiosity. He just laughed and pointed to a place nearby—a drinking machine was just over there. What’s more, the ketchup’s offering way was also different from Chinese packed ketchup bag, but a huge bucket of ketchup on the serving bar, people can grab a little cup and fill whatever they want.

It also confused me that whenever someone made a sneeze, I always heard a “bless you” from different people. At first, I thought it was because that are a lot of people believe in god in the United States, but when I asked the people around me, it does not seem to be like that. I googled my question as soon as I arrived home, turning out that a sneeze typically precedes illness. For a reason, people always say “bless you” to pray for those who sneeze for a good health.

After more than a month living in America, I gradually get used to those different culture and customs. I found myself falling love with this country with diversification, which allows different cultures to come together and to communicate with each other. Nowadays, I can order my food fluently in a restaurant, knowing the basic procedure during ordering. I also say “bless you” when people make a sneeze, hoping them feel better.

Top ACE/ELC Submission

The Mailbox by Cheng Chen

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When first I came to Miami, I didn't realize the importance of mailbox in the dorm. They looked like pigeonholes, not the mailboxes I’d imagined standing by the side of the road. Nearly two weeks later, I heard there was a lot of letters in those pigeonholes. So I went downstairs to the mailbox immediately.

When I was standing in front of the mailbox, I did not know what to do because I found they were opened by a rotating password lock, and I knew nothing about it. So I asked the guy who was next to me for help, and he told me that the password had been sent in the email before. So I started to look for my three number password in the emails sea and I soon found it. I'm a little excited, because it's exciting for me to try something I have never done before. I rotated the code lock to the right to those three digits, but I couldn't open it. I tried four more times and still couldn't open it. So I had to ask that kind person for help again. He said that it was very easy; I should turn left first to clean up, and then turn right to the passwords. While he was talking to me, he opened my mailbox. I am very grateful to him, not only because he helped me get the newest mail, but also because he taught me how to open the mailbox.

About a week later, one time when I went downstairs, I saw a girl who was worrying about how to open her mailbox. I was very confident to walk over. She asked me if I can open the mailbox, and I said definitely and started to show her what I had learned last time confidently in front of her. But when I found that I still could not open it, I was very surprised. My first thought was that the lock must be broken. I tried three more times, but I still couldn't open it. When we were very upset, an old lady who was sweeping the floor came to us. She asked if we needed help, and I reluctantly said yes. So she opened the mailbox easily in few seconds. But what was different from last time, she told me after turning left to clean up, I need to turn right, then turn left and finally turn right. Although I was a little embarrassed that I didn't help the girl open her mailbox, I finally learned the right thing this time.

A few days later, when I was hanging in the dormitory building, I saw the mailbox, and I decided to try it again because I didn’t believe these small mailboxes could not be opened by me. So I followed the way that old lady taught me, but I still could not open it. I tried at least seven more times, but it was still locked. At this time the old lady appeared again, I immediately asked her why I still can't open. I saw she pulled the mailbox’s door gently and it opened. She told me that after I had rotated to the correct password, I needed to pull the door to open it. So when I rotated to the correct password again, I tried to pull the mailbox’s door. But I found that no matter how hard I tried, I still couldn't open the door. The old lady smiled and gently pulled the mailbox door open again by shaking her hands. She said that the password may not be stuck to the right card slot sometimes, so I need to shake my hands when I was pulling the door. I was shocked. At that time I believed the old lady standing in front of me must master the mysterious magic; and I just like those who can't do any magic in Harry Potter called Muggles, was trying to humiliate myself by trying to do something I couldn't do at all.

So after that, I always asked my roommate to help my pick up my mails. Compared to try to open those terrible designed mailboxes, I was more likely to say thank you to my kind roommate. Something even if you think you have the capacity to do it, but you really can’t do it. Everyone is good at something, but it never means that everyone can do everything well. This is the lesson I learned from the mailbox.

Literary London Prize

Winner

Tending Sleep by Meg Matthias

Read the Essay

Today’s team-building activity is one we’ve done before, but Raksha and Patrick explain it anyway.

At Mary Arden’s Farm, a Shakespeare Birthplace Trust property in Stratford-Upon-Avon, we pride ourselves in pretending our jobs require encouragement and training. The goal of this activity, which is our bosses’ favorite, is to find the person directly across the circle from you and ask them three questions about their life: Which of their accomplishments are they most proud of? Where do they see themselves in five years? How can you support each other professionally?

I’ve worked here nearly a year now, longer than any job I’ve held since university, and I rarely see a reenactor at more than two of our every-other-month events. My seniority, as Raksha and Patrick said at my last evaluation, does not make me a more valuable member of the team.

Today, my partner is, as often happens, someone I have never worked with before; she is an Indian woman around my age with close-cropped hair. She sits down next to me and says, Patrick told me you really know what you’re doing, which I assume means, like, you can tell me how to point the tourists to the bathroom in three languages. What’s your name again?

Jill, I say.

She says, Okay, Jill, I’m Pritha, I work in the gift shop. How can I support you professionally today? Her customer-service voice is bright and sharp, mouth twitching upwards at the corners.

I’d like to start with my greatest accomplishment, I tell her, Which I think probably is convincing my cousin and his girlfriend to let me crash on their couch. As for professional support, can you make me the next Mary Arden? I tell myself I am not actively flirting, but I accept her eye contact when she makes it.

Well, I’m still new, she says. Can I interest you in a Hamlet-themed bottle of wine instead?

I’m clocking out after my shift when Pritha finds me in the break room. I know we just met in a Shakespeare-themed group bonding activity, she says, But would you like to get a drink with me sometime?

I’m not really dating right now, I say. The line between Pritha’s eyebrows tightens like it knows I’m lying. I delete and redownload Tinder enough times a month that technically it’s probably right, but I also have little enough sex that when drunk friends at parties compare the last times they got laid, I have to take a second and think about my answer.

Not dating in Stratford? she jokes.

Our dating scene is half traveling Shakespearean actors and half visiting tour groups who harass the swans. I swipe my timecard out in a way that I hope seems polite, but firm. Not dating anywhere, I say. It takes a few times to get my card to stick back in its slot on the wall.

The couch in my cousin’s houseboat makes me craft pornographic fantasies about the concept of privacy. I can hear Henry and Jen’s night whispers as I lie still and hope my body is tricked into being asleep: Where did you put my glasses case How early do we have to be up in the morning I’m not going to use my mouthguard Kiss me goodnight now please. I can picture Jen’s hair tightly rolled under her sleeping scarf, Henry’s navy eye mask pushed up on his forehead. The glasses of water and stacks of magazines on their shared bedside table.

Something I know about myself is that I can be unhappy anywhere, but at night it often feels like I am unhappiest here. The open hole of my stomach lulls and rocks, a hint of feeling coming back. I think about how much I felt five years ago when I lived in Brighton with Caroline on gap year, when sitting on the stone beach with the sun warming my face felt like biting into a cinnamon roll straight from the oven. I think about the meat pie I had at lunch. I think about the charcoal ducks with white and yellow beaks that bob up and down on the river. I almost think about Pritha today and the one gelled curl falling over her eye, but I can’t masturbate on someone else’s couch.

I am awake until five in the morning, when I hear the first rustles of Henry and Jen. They won’t get out of bed for another two and a half hours, but this waking time is an integral part of their morning routine. They take sips of the water left beside them, they stretch their arms above their heads. They say, Wish we could sleep later one of these days. Exchange grins with stale, un-brushed teeth. Sometimes they have sex.

I used to be frustrated by this part of their morning, kept awake by every small sound. Now, it’s almost like it triggers the same automatic response as those internet videos of girls cutting soap or tapping long fingernails. I am conscious most of the night, and, when it hits five, I sleep the next three hours slow and deep.

The next day at work Pritha is there again, but not in the gift shop. She’s dressed in a long brown dress and filly cap that almost matches mine. Do you recognize me? she grins when I find her in the locker room. I’m Substitute Servant Number Three.

I laugh, quick and low. What happened to Jamie? I thought she was going to put up with Servant Number Three for at least another two weeks.

Pritha shakes her head. Jamie couldn’t deal with cleaning out the barn, she says. She cut her hand on a rusty nail or something and told corporate she could’ve gotten tetanus. They transferred her over to Anne Hathaway’s cottage.

Fuck, I say. That’s a good deal. You think they covered her medical?

I think she probably forgot all about her hand as soon as she got sent over to a walkable working location and free lunch.

Pritha turns away as I shrug off my jumper and jeans, pulling up my Owlery Assistant dress and tying my apron strings. No one in the locker room usually cares about semi-nudity, and her avoidance of my body seems purposeful and charged. But if I kissed Pritha now, or even asked her to button up the back of my dress, it would just be the start of a series of dinner dates at Pizza Express. A drawer in her basement apartment. Forms filled out detailing our workplace romance. Nothing that could make the staleness in my stomach feel anything she would want me to feel.

Today I assist Hector on the owl demonstration, feeding Arwen her treats as she flies above the heads of our tourists. Indiana, the first group shouts. Oh, you’re from Idaho? says Hector. He calls them pioneers as Arwen pecks too hard at my hand. Oh, you’re from Iowa?

We do a fake marriage ceremony as the end of our presentation. In Shakespeare’s time, Hector explains, owls were often used to predict the future of love. If the owl veers to the right, where the woman is standing, she will be blessed with ease of childbearing. If the owl veers to the left, where the man is standing, they will struggle to have children.

Two men raise their hands when Hector asks if there is a couple in the audience. He pretends not to see them and calls on a girl and boy who did not volunteer, but were sitting next to each other. They both have the same distinctive curve to their nose.

Pritha finds me after, when I’m refilling Arwen’s treat bag for the next event. I was standing in the back, she says, laughing. Did Hector really pick a brother and sister over that gay couple?

It’s a very Elizabethan ceremony, I say, but start to smile.

Wait can you imagine—Hector choosing those two guys and then asking which one’s the woman? Pritha is unfairly pretty in her servant costume. Her hair is covered by the cap, but that one curl still sneaks loose. She continues, in Hector’s voice: Um, sorry to ask, but are you a top or a bottom?

I’d be shocked if he knows the proper terminology, I say. He’d use an owl pun. Like, uh, what’s the pecking order here?

Pritha laughs, mouth wide open. There is a slight gap between her front teeth. Okay, she says. I know you have to go back on soon, but please give me your phone number. Her iPhone is hidden in the folds of her skirt.

I pause for a moment, watching her unlock the phone and open the Contacts page. She already knows that I’ll give it to her. Okay, I say. But I’m still—

Not dating right now, she finishes. That’s cool. I’ll text you so you have mine.

In the locker room later, once everyone is gone, I open up my phone. I have two new messages. Pritha Kohli, says the first. The second: Just in case you ever change your mind.

It’s three in the morning and I’m counting down the next hours before I fall asleep, scrolling on my phone. Pritha and I have, against my initial resolution, been texting off and on for weeks. Rewatching Killing Eve and Jodi Comer reminds me of you, she sent me last night. What, I’m a serial killer? I asked, Or just blondish? Scary hot ;), she said, and I sent her the emoji vomiting green sludge and stopped responding.

I have almost convinced myself to stop rereading when the typing bubbles appear at the bottom of the screen. Jill !!!!!!!!! the new message says. Can you

Can u come g

Sry bad at typing rn haha

I’m alone

Can you come get me?

I count out thirty seconds and type back, Where are you? Are you okay?

At the bar, she responds. They left I’ll call u

I pull on my boots and a jacket before padding upstairs to the house boat deck. I’ve already made the jump from dock to land by the time her incoming call reaches my phone.

Pritha is slow getting into her bed. She insists on applying face cream drunk. Once her head is on the pillow, I ask, Who were you with tonight? Why did they leave you?

It was a business meeting, she tells me. Her voice is low with alcohol and sleep. They want me to be Mary Arden.

I pause. Ask, What do you mean?

Patrick and Raksha, they want me to be the new Mary Arden when Beth leaves. I’m not going to take it, though, it’s your part. I told them that, but then they left their tab open.

Her throat sounds scratchy, and I know it will hurt in the morning. I fill up a glass of water from the sink and set it on her bedside table. I’m about to leave when she catches my hand. Stay the night, she says. Sleep on the couch if you want, but please stay.

I think about going back to Jen and Henry’s couch, the coolness of the pleather on skin. I hear their morning routine in my mind, replaying what I will miss. Another hour of lonely wakefulness; two to three hours of sound-tracked sleep. Okay, I tell her. Her couch is floral. The fabric is soft and warm.

In the morning, Pritha is up before I am. She is hangover-thirsty, loudly gulping water at the kitchen table. I can’t tell how much of the night I slept, but my body feels the same as it does after a night on the houseboat couch. Good morning, I say to her, and she gives me an embarrassed grin.

I am so fucking sorry about last night, she says, though not in a way that sounds especially apologetic. She continues, But I’m not mad I finally got you to stay over.

I’m glad you’re okay, I say. But Pritha—

I know, she says. You’re not dating anyone. Isn’t that just a cop-out until you find someone you’re actually into? She sits down on the couch next to me, too close, and says, We can start easy, Jill. Just tell me what you feel when I’m around.

She kisses me and her mouth is stale and beery. I take a minute while kissing to think about it: me and Pritha like me and Caroline, warm and rested, cartwheels in our stomachs. I want to ease her on top of me and call in sick to work.

Instead, I pull away and stand up. My body is still and empty. Pritha, I say. I don’t know how to make it sound gentle. I tell her, I don’t feel anything when you’re around.

Our next training day is two weeks after Pritha and I stop speaking. Patrick and Raksha have arranged our folding chairs in a circle, trying to elicit group bonding. I have marks of Arwen’s talons on my arm from where her left foot landed just off the glove.

Before we begin our team building exercises, Patrick and I have a fun announcement for you all! Raksha says. As usual, she is smiling in a bright and contagious way that does not reach her eyes. Next to me, Hector pulls his hat down on his face like he intends to nap.

As many of you have guessed, Beth is sadly going to be leaving us, says Patrick. Beth gives a sorry wave from her spot next to Raksha. Patrick continues, She’s going to start playing Anne Hathaway at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, and aren’t we excited for her! Great things ahead of our Beth.

I find Pritha in the circle. She is in the middle of the curve, marking one point of its diameter. The curl that used to fall over her forehead is firmly gelled into position above her brow. I know, from the way her eyes skip between Patrick and Raksha, what is going to happen. They announce it by the time I’ve pushed my chair back, jostling Hector, and reach the door: Let’s give a warm welcome to our new Mary Arden!

When I walk through the back hallway I can see Pritha in my mind saying, Thank you. I’m happy to be here. I can see her drunk on my shoulder in the Uber from the bar, and how I imagined her as she texted me about what she watched on television. I think about kissing her, and how she will look in Mary Arden’s signature shawl. Back at the houseboat on the couch, Jen and Henry pass through the narrow living room to the kitchen. Sorry to barge in on you, Jen says. Henry says, Hey, aren’t you usually at work right now? His hand is cupped absentmindedly around hers, thumb stroking the side of her finger.

I’m not feeling great, I tell them. My boss sent me home to take a nap. Okay, Henry says, and his nose scrunches the way my mother’s does when she says, Dad and I just want you to be happy. Okay, he says again. Well, we’ll be home late tonight. I hope you get some rest.

Photo Contest Winners

Cross-Cultural Moments

Soccer in Western Ghana by Paul Johnson

“The Wonder of a Parade” By Taylor Hicks

This photo was taken at the annual Carnival parade in Montevideo, Uruguay, celebrating the unique cultural heritage of the region, including traditional Afro-Uruguayan candombe music. The young girl in the photo was enraptured with the parade of dancers and drums, and she would often reach up to touch the flags as they passed by. This was a striking cultural experience for me because I realized how much I have in common with a culture born five thousand miles away from my own. I saw myself as a little girl being in awe of the beautiful floats and costumes of the Fourth of July parade in my own hometown, and I saw the joy of that experience in a young girl with whom I do not even share a first language.

Uptown Oxford, Ohio in winter time, holiday lights

“Galway Mural” By Madison Casey

This photo was taken in Galway, Ireland. While living in Ireland, it became very apparent that the presence of graffiti is more widely accepted than it typically is in the US. It was impossible for me to walk to class without passing painted walls, from amateur drawings to full blown murals. This image captures a mural that I personally felt was one of the most beautiful paintings I witnessed while in Ireland. I appreciate the casualness of the men smoking in front of the mural, which accurately depicts the natural coexistence of graffiti in the daily lives of those who live in Ireland.

a student is measuring a woman's pregnant belly

“Monthly Pregnancy Check-Up in the Gambia” By Melanie Ziaziaris

Aided a skilled, certified midwife/nurse give women abdominal examinations to determine fundal height, find the heartbeat, and positioning of their baby as well as taking weight and blood pressure to screen for preeclampsia and other possible conditions.

Miami student  in front of colorful buildings in Venice

"Bunkers of Barcelona" By Danny Clark

Built in 1937, the Bunkers del Carmel were used as a military base and place to locate incoming enemy planes during the Spanish Civil War. Later on, the base became a shanty town of sorts until the city decided to rehouse the population during the 1992 Olympic Games hosted in Barcelona. Now, the site offers spectacular, panoramic views of the city and is one of the best places to meet locals along with other tourists from all over the world.

First Place

Soccer in Western Ghana by Paul Johnson

“The Wonder of a Parade” By Taylor Hicks

This photo was taken at the annual Carnival parade in Montevideo, Uruguay, celebrating the unique cultural heritage of the region, including traditional Afro-Uruguayan candombe music. The young girl in the photo was enraptured with the parade of dancers and drums, and she would often reach up to touch the flags as they passed by. This was a striking cultural experience for me because I realized how much I have in common with a culture born five thousand miles away from my own. I saw myself as a little girl being in awe of the beautiful floats and costumes of the Fourth of July parade in my own hometown, and I saw the joy of that experience in a young girl with whom I do not even share a first language.

Second Place

Uptown Oxford, Ohio in winter time, holiday lights

“Galway Mural” By Madison Casey

This photo was taken in Galway, Ireland. While living in Ireland, it became very apparent that the presence of graffiti is more widely accepted than it typically is in the US. It was impossible for me to walk to class without passing painted walls, from amateur drawings to full blown murals. This image captures a mural that I personally felt was one of the most beautiful paintings I witnessed while in Ireland. I appreciate the casualness of the men smoking in front of the mural, which accurately depicts the natural coexistence of graffiti in the daily lives of those who live in Ireland.

Third Place

a student is measuring a woman's pregnant belly

“Monthly Pregnancy Check-Up in the Gambia” By Melanie Ziaziaris

Aided a skilled, certified midwife/nurse give women abdominal examinations to determine fundal height, find the heartbeat, and positioning of their baby as well as taking weight and blood pressure to screen for preeclampsia and other possible conditions.

Top Votes

Miami student  in front of colorful buildings in Venice

"Bunkers of Barcelona" By Danny Clark

Built in 1937, the Bunkers del Carmel were used as a military base and place to locate incoming enemy planes during the Spanish Civil War. Later on, the base became a shanty town of sorts until the city decided to rehouse the population during the 1992 Olympic Games hosted in Barcelona. Now, the site offers spectacular, panoramic views of the city and is one of the best places to meet locals along with other tourists from all over the world.

Global Classroom

Miami students Laughing with the Locals

"Laughing with the Locals" By Leanne Stahulak

None of us were prepared for the freezing rain we experienced in Erfurt, Germany. We were tired, cold, and wet to the bone, but our fearless tour guide was determined to help us learn about the musical city. With witty commentary, talkative gestures and spontaneous dances, he led us on an inspiring journey through a city none of us had ever heard of. I didn't expect to be so engaged or moved by such a small place, but our local tour guide spiked our curiosity. His character taught me more about the spirit of the city than any guidebook ever could, and I've learned to never underestimate the power of love and laughter.

There is no bulb in their classroom, but there is light in their eyes.

"There is no bulb in their classroom, but there is light in their eyes." By Nan Luo

During this summer, I volunteered in Mathare Slum to investigate the school teaching environment. I saw these children reading books and writing assignments in a dark classroom, but it didn't affect them to study hard at all.

A picture of a Miami Student playing Gaelic Football in Dublin, Ireland.

"Miami University and Gaelic Football" By Eleanor Crabill

A picture of a Miami Student playing Gaelic Football in Dublin, Ireland.

six children overlooking scene with fence; you only see the backside of each child; in school uniforms

"Shaolin Demonstration" By Pierce Kaufman

At a Shaolin monastery near the small fishing village of Tai O on the edge of Lantau Island, I was invited to participate in a practice demonstration of martial arts skills. The instructor (center of photo) only spoke Mandarin, which actually gave me an advantage as I could understand many of his basic instructions. Here we practice a pose early in the demonstration, I am on the far right. Here I had the opportunity to learn quite briefly a small glimpse of the world of Chinese martial arts, and I led a small group in reenacting the demonstration, with announcement in Mandarin.

First Place

Miami students Laughing with the Locals

"Laughing with the Locals" By Leanne Stahulak

None of us were prepared for the freezing rain we experienced in Erfurt, Germany. We were tired, cold, and wet to the bone, but our fearless tour guide was determined to help us learn about the musical city. With witty commentary, talkative gestures and spontaneous dances, he led us on an inspiring journey through a city none of us had ever heard of. I didn't expect to be so engaged or moved by such a small place, but our local tour guide spiked our curiosity. His character taught me more about the spirit of the city than any guidebook ever could, and I've learned to never underestimate the power of love and laughter.

Second Place

There is no bulb in their classroom, but there is light in their eyes.

"There is no bulb in their classroom, but there is light in their eyes." By Nan Luo

During this summer, I volunteered in Mathare Slum to investigate the school teaching environment. I saw these children reading books and writing assignments in a dark classroom, but it didn't affect them to study hard at all.

Third Place

A picture of a Miami Student playing Gaelic Football in Dublin, Ireland.

"Miami University and Gaelic Football" By Eleanor Crabill

A picture of a Miami Student playing Gaelic Football in Dublin, Ireland.

Top Votes

six children overlooking scene with fence; you only see the backside of each child; in school uniforms

"Shaolin Demonstration" By Pierce Kaufman

At a Shaolin monastery near the small fishing village of Tai O on the edge of Lantau Island, I was invited to participate in a practice demonstration of martial arts skills. The instructor (center of photo) only spoke Mandarin, which actually gave me an advantage as I could understand many of his basic instructions. Here we practice a pose early in the demonstration, I am on the far right. Here I had the opportunity to learn quite briefly a small glimpse of the world of Chinese martial arts, and I led a small group in reenacting the demonstration, with announcement in Mandarin.

People and Portraits

 Miami international student from China in traditional Chinese clothing standing outside on Miami's campus in the fall, trees and leaves surround her with yellow and green colors

"The Women in Yellow" By Susie Lambesis

While roaming around the ancient Amber Palace in Jaipur, we turned a corner and found these women sweeping the sparkling white steps. They followed after the tourists feet and lightly brushed away and dirt being left behind. They swept to preserve the beauty and sacredness of the Amber Palace. It was a reminder that even though as tourists and travelers we are eager to explore historical monuments, these places hold a special meaning and sacredness to those who reside there.

ride and groom in India

"It's So Fluffy!" By Olivia Snyder

In the Cusco Plaza de Armas, there are many groups of women dressed in traditional Peruvian clothing that carry around baby lambs or alpacas. They use the cute appeal of these animals to attract tourists, who give small tips to capture a photo with these adorable animals. Although my friends and I were initially drawn in for the same reason, afterward we had a conversation with the women in the photo and talked about indigenous culture in Peru. The women were impressed by what we had learned in our history classes, and were happy to talk with us. This encounter taught us the importance of viewing these "tourist attractions" as not just a mere photo opportunity, but as real people with a vibrant history and culture

a man is looking at two birds

"Life in Hang Hau: An Observation" By Pierce Kaufman

The nearest metro station to campus is Hang Hau. One day I simply walked the area randomly with my camera, waiting to see what I would encounter. I met this man directly outside the Hang Hau sports center, while he was feeding his two pet birds. He was flattered that a foreigner was interested in them and taking photos with a real camera. In this photo, he looks up at his pets in the tree he let them walk around on, with a playground and many apartment buildings in the background.

First Place and Top Votes

 Miami international student from China in traditional Chinese clothing standing outside on Miami's campus in the fall, trees and leaves surround her with yellow and green colors

"The Women in Yellow" By Susie Lambesis

While roaming around the ancient Amber Palace in Jaipur, we turned a corner and found these women sweeping the sparkling white steps. They followed after the tourists feet and lightly brushed away and dirt being left behind. They swept to preserve the beauty and sacredness of the Amber Palace. It was a reminder that even though as tourists and travelers we are eager to explore historical monuments, these places hold a special meaning and sacredness to those who reside there.

Second Place

ride and groom in India

"It's So Fluffy!" By Olivia Snyder

In the Cusco Plaza de Armas, there are many groups of women dressed in traditional Peruvian clothing that carry around baby lambs or alpacas. They use the cute appeal of these animals to attract tourists, who give small tips to capture a photo with these adorable animals. Although my friends and I were initially drawn in for the same reason, afterward we had a conversation with the women in the photo and talked about indigenous culture in Peru. The women were impressed by what we had learned in our history classes, and were happy to talk with us. This encounter taught us the importance of viewing these "tourist attractions" as not just a mere photo opportunity, but as real people with a vibrant history and culture

Third Place

a man is looking at two birds

"Life in Hang Hau: An Observation" By Pierce Kaufman

The nearest metro station to campus is Hang Hau. One day I simply walked the area randomly with my camera, waiting to see what I would encounter. I met this man directly outside the Hang Hau sports center, while he was feeding his two pet birds. He was flattered that a foreigner was interested in them and taking photos with a real camera. In this photo, he looks up at his pets in the tree he let them walk around on, with a playground and many apartment buildings in the background.

Love and Honor

Miami student run with Miami flag

"Miami - anywhere with me" By Claudia Zaunz

This picture was taken at Sziget festival in Budapest, Hungary in August 2019. Sziget stands for a love revolution, for accepting anyone no matter where they come from or what they want to be like. The Miami flag represents the pride that we have in sharing our values: love and honor! Those are always in our hearts, and we carry them around with us wherever we go.

Miami students are learning Chinese

"Chinese Language" By Naman Agarwal

This photo was taken during the annual Chinese festival. We can see an International Miami student from China is teaching the Chinese salutations to other people in the Miami spirit.

student's one feet with Miami sock

"Love and Honor Every Step of the Way" By Carl Resnick

Showing off Miami pride at Torres del Paine, the iconic national park in Patagonia, Chile. These socks accompanied me on a 10-mile hike to this awesome view of Los Torres (The Towers), the main attraction.

First Place and Top Votes

Miami student run with Miami flag

"Miami - anywhere with me" By Claudia Zaunz

This picture was taken at Sziget festival in Budapest, Hungary in August 2019. Sziget stands for a love revolution, for accepting anyone no matter where they come from or what they want to be like. The Miami flag represents the pride that we have in sharing our values: love and honor! Those are always in our hearts, and we carry them around with us wherever we go.

Second Place

Miami students are learning Chinese

"Chinese Language" By Naman Agarwal

This photo was taken during the annual Chinese festival. We can see an International Miami student from China is teaching the Chinese salutations to other people in the Miami spirit.

Third Place

student's one feet with Miami sock

"Love and Honor Every Step of the Way" By Carl Resnick

Showing off Miami pride at Torres del Paine, the iconic national park in Patagonia, Chile. These socks accompanied me on a 10-mile hike to this awesome view of Los Torres (The Towers), the main attraction.

Grand Prize Video Winner

I am Miami by Lauren Sandeman

 

 View the fully accessible, audio described version of this video