Contest Winners

Every year, International Programs holds photo and video contests for study abroad and international students in conjunction with International Education Week. This year’s photos took viewers on a journey through the mountains of Spain, the gardens of Senegal, the markets of China, and beyond. We were also able to see Iowa through the eyes of international students, who gave us a fresh perspective of the sights, sounds, and traditions in our own backyard.  

The 2014 photo and video contest winners can be seen below. Find the other study abroad and international student photos on Facebook.

Study Abroad Winners

hiking in Chile

Grand Prize: "Hiking the Chilean Patagonia"

By: Evan Kurtz
Hometown: Bettendorf, Iowa
Photo Location: Chilean Patagonia—Torres del Paine National Park

After a grueling day of hiking through the mountains on a windy and rainy day, my friend Nick Pellow and I stopped and saw an amazing sight that really uplifted our spirits. Before us was a massive lake with glowing blue glaciers and a massive rainbow that stretched across the sky. It was incredible!

Mt. Fuji

First Prize, Exploring Local Cultures and Traditions: "Mt. Fuji illumination in Nagashima Land"

By: Thien-trang Pham
Hometown: West Des Moines, Iowa
Photo Location: Mie, Japan

As the illumination lights change color representing the four seasons, everyone gather and wrap a long line around the Mt. Fuji illumination. Lights and illumination has become a big part of the Japanese culture during Christmas. It is a time for happiness and family.

Flying High in Nepal

First Prize, Student Experiences: "Flying High"

By: Sarah Steffens
Hometown: Roselle, Illinois
Photo Location: Pokhara, Nepal

Strapped to a yellow paraglider and a professional, I decided to jump off a mountain in Central Nepal and fly around over the Annapurna Range of the Himalayas.

Music in the mountains in Granada, Spain

Honorable Mention: "Musica en las Montanas"

By: Brigette Burgman
Hometown: Saint Charles, Illinois
Photo Location: Granada, Spain

High up in the mountains with a view of the enchanted Alhambra and snowcapped mountains, a trio of Spanish men sit and play traditional Spanish music with their guitars as people stare out into the endless beauty of Granada. This spot is a very common attraction in Granada for tourists and locals to come enjoy the scenic views, and experience the entertainment of local musicians and traveling gypsies selling their jewelry and art.

Video Grand Prize: South Korea's Weird Food

By: Paige Wolfe
Hometown: Argyle, Texas

Before I left for Korea, I set myself a goal to try a weird food every week.  The criteria was it had to be something one can't easily find in the U.S. and something I wouldn't normally try. This is a compilation of all the weird food I tried as well as what I decided was my favorite.

Video Runner Up: “Amazing Australia”

By: Stephen Estelle
Hometown: Flossmoor, Illinois

 This video shows the amazing times and the struggling times of studying abroad. From diving in the Great Barrier Reef, to almost missing the very last midnight train out of Sydney, to even running through a forest so were not late for lunch with friends. Every single bit of it was perfect.


International Student Winners

peaceful second

Grand Prize: "Peaceful second"

By: Guanzhong Qiu
Hometown: Guangdong, China
Photo Location: Background of Pentacrest

A man who is looking at the sunset having a second of relaxation. Show me a picture of peaceful life in Iowa.

summer orientation

First Prize, Exploring Local Cultures and Traditions: "Summer Orientation"

By: Chenzhe Zhu
Hometown: Hangzhou, China
Photo Location: Iowa City

As the international students get a separate orientation event, it was my first time to see what the orientation for native students is like during the summer.

girls throwing graduation hats into the air

First Prize, Show us your Hawkeye Spirit: "con-GRAD-ulation"

By: Soo Kyum Kim
Hometown: Daegu, South Korea
Photo Location: Carver-Hawkeye Arena

Graduation of my two favorite Hawkeyes: Jackie and Michelle.

fireworks over the Pentacrest

Honorable Mention: "Independence Day Fireworks"

By: Chenzhe Zhu
Hometown: Hangzhou, China
Photo Location: Iowa City

Independence Day fireworks over the Old Capitol in downtown Iowa City. It is my fourth year in the U.S., but my first time watching the Independence Day fireworks.

Video Grand Prize: “Something About Me”

By: Wendi Xie
Hometown: Beijing, China
Location: Iowa City

This video was made to introduce myself as an international student at the University of Iowa. Although this is a really short video, I just wanted to use the camera to simply show "Iowa City in my eyes" and how I love life here as a student.