While 18 business students and faculty members at Appalachian State University submitted more than 50 photos for the Spring 2020 #WalkerAbroad Photo Contest, only five have earned top honors. They are senior marketing major Julia Flower, MBA candidate Claire Bagwell, junior marketing major Susie McKeon, international business MBA candidate Jeff Hardy and sophomore marketing major Megan Temple.
"The winners shared a glimpse of global community, culture and natural beauty," said Meredith Pipes, global and civic engagement specialist in the Walker College of Business. "This spring, with travel halted due to the dangers of the global pandemic of COVID-19, it is an important time to celebrate the beautiful places around the globe and the people who have impacted our lives."
Pipes added that more than 200 Appalachian business students study abroad each year and that the photo contest aims at sharing these perspectives with even more students.
Access all contest photo submissions, as well as past contest winners, at business.appstate.edu/walkerabroadwinners.
Marching with Pride (Siena, Italy)
Photographer: Julia Fowler Program/Year: Marketing, Class of May 2020 Hometown: Winston-Salem, NC Full Semester Abroad: Florence, Italy, Florence University of the Arts, Fall 2019
About the Photo: My study abroad program took us on a day trip to Siena, Italy in September 2019. Siena is a beautiful city in Tuscany known for its gothic medieval buildings. While we toured the city, we got to witness men of each generation march with pride for their city through the streets in a traditional Siena parade. There were drums, many flags, and the people of Siena gathered around to cheer for the men in their families. Right after I took the picture, I watched one man hop out of the lineup for a second to kiss a flag-waving young boy (I'm assuming his son) on the forehead. The little boy's face was full of excitement and pride! It certainly was a very exciting and cheerful event to get to witness taking place! I was lucky to snap a good picture during the event, although it doesn't do it justice. I am grateful that I got to share in the excitement that day!
About Study Abroad: I studied in Florence, Italy during the fall semester. I got to immerse myself in the culture for almost 4 months. While I was there I took marketing classes with Italian professors that ran local marketing businesses. Not only this, but we got to work with local businesses and help them develop new marketing strategies. On the weekends I would travel to different European countries and cities. My experiences there helped me gain a global perspective and develop a better understanding and appreciation for other cultures. It was certainly a once in a lifetime experience that has changed my worldview permanently, to say the least.
Way of Life (Havana, Cuba)
Photographer: Claire Bagwell Program/Class: MBA, Class of December 2020 Hometown: Lake Toxaway, NC Faculty-Led Program: Cuba, January 2020
About the Photo: On our last day in Havana, myself and a group of fellow students decided that we were going to walk along the Malecon from where we were back to our hotel. From my perspective, the Malecon was the best place to view life in Havana. Romance, family, community, celebration, and provision were all themes you could see walking along the Malecon that day. I snapped this photo as we walked up on three fishermen that evening. The Malecon is a community hub for the city, and a glimpse into the way of life for the citizens of Havana.
About Study Abroad: My experience traveling in Cuba has been, by far, the most impactful travel experience of my life. It opened my eyes to how different the lives of Cuban people are from American people, and it's such a striking difference for two countries so close in distance, and so intertwined throughout history. It opened my eyes to the need for higher awareness among US citizens of how our nation's influence affects the lives of individuals abroad. History is complicated, and it's never as simple as the books would have it taught. We all need to know that, and let it have an impact on who we are as US citizens. We have a responsibility to the good people all over the world.
Majestic Mountains (Fussen, Germany)
Photographer: Susie McKeon Major/Class: Marketing, Class of 2021 Hometown: Charlotte Full Semester Abroad: London, England, University of Roehampton, Spring 2020
About the Photo: The photo was taken looking out of a window at Neuschwanstein Castle in southern Germany near the town of Fussen.
About Study Abroad: My travel experience was a lot of fun and very educational. I was studying abroad in London this semester and I am so grateful that I was able to live in and travel around Europe while I was there. I loved being able to go to new places and experience the culture of the area and it is definitely something I want to be able to do for the rest of my life!
Old Car in an Old City (Havana, Cuba)
Photographer: Jeff Hardy Program/Class: MBA, concentration in International Business, Class of Summer 2020 Hometown: Kissimmee, FL Faculty-led Program: Cuba, January 2020
About the Photo: This is one of the storied old cars that represent a Cuba that was better connected to the USA. It is also driving down the Malecon, which is the iconic wall that protects the city of Havana from the ocean.
About Study Abroad: I had always heard about the differences between life in the US and Cuba, but I did not understand it until I was there. I have been forever changed by the experience and no longer feel sorry for myself when the path gets hard. I have seen that others have it exponentially harder.
People’s Choice Award
Grote Markt (Nijmegen, Netherlands)
Photographer: Megan Temple Program/Class: Marketing, Class of 2022 Hometown: Johnson City, TN Full Semester Abroad: Nijmegen, Netherlands, Radboud University, Spring 2020
About the Photo: Grote Markt is the main square in the Nijmegen city centre, a place that quickly became one of my favorites after experiencing its weekly open-air markets and rich history. This photo is from one of my evening cycles to the city centre after a busy day.
About Study Abroad: The biggest realization I had while studying abroad was to take advantage of every opportunity, no matter how terrifying or out of my comfort zone it is. My exchange experience pushed me to try new things and not be afraid to make mistakes along the way. By getting involved in study groups and student organizations, I saw just how big our world is, yet also how similar and connected we can be through education. Leaving the Netherlands prematurely and unexpectedly due to COVID-19 made it clear to me just how special it was to live and learn abroad.
About the #WalkerAbroad Photo Contest
Students, faculty and staff members who have studied abroad are invited to share a glimpse their experience abroad for a chance to win prizes. Learn more.
About International Programs with Appalachian's Walker College of Business
The Walker College of Business encourages students to study abroad and provides a variety of short-term international programs designed to develop international business skills and intercultural knowledge. These faculty-led programs have proven to be invaluable for many students. Scholarships are available. Fluency in a second language is not required and students can earn credit toward their degree. For more information on future opportunities, please contact Global & Civic Engagement Specialist Meredith Church Pipes, email@example.com, or visit international.business.appstate.edu.