Description: Quetzaltenango is more commonly known by its Mayan name, Xelaju Noj, which translates to "Under The Seven Peaks" in English. Every morning, Kathryn and I would wake up at 6am and jog to the top of El Baúl--the closest of the seven peaks. Sometimes, we would be joined by our Guatemalan teachers, fellow travelers, and even our families when they visited us. Aside from being incredibly picturesque, El Baúl was important to us and our Mayan friends because high grounds are considered sacred places in Mayan culture. In our last weeks of our study abroad, our morning jogs reached an spiritual culmination. A Mayan "Sacerdote," or priest, took us to the top of El Baúl and allowed us to participate in a traditional Mayan rooster sacrifice ceremony.
Description: While in the Atacama, our CSBSJU group stopped at a pair of man-made lakes called "Los Ojos" or "The Eyes". These two lakes looked like a pair of eyes and seemed out of place in a barren desert. Nevertheless the setting was incredibly gorgeous with the desert, mountains, and beautiful lakes that showed a complete mirror image of the landscape. visit.
Description: Going up the Untersberg mountain is no trivial matter. Wooden logs were placed as stairs in order to prevent people from falling down the mountain. In Austria, we were inspired to go out and challenge ourselves, through language or accepting culture, or climbing mountains. Our experience is shown here two-fold. The obvious being in nature and challenging ourselves to climb the mountain, but it could also be symbolic of our education. We are all on a difficult path and the school and all of its staff are there to try and make that path a little less dangerous.
Description: This photo was taken immediately after the amazing opportunity of being able to tour The Palace of Westminster and Parliament. We had an amazing time taking in the history and scenery of the palace and were all in a state of awe. This was also during our first week in London and we were just beginning to take in this great city. Big Ben would become one of our favorite sights to go see and this was the first time we set eyes on it.
Description:It's important to know that when studying abroad, you are immersing yourself into an entirely different culture. The towns, the roads, the food, the views---they aren't anything like the United States. Make sure to take in all of the breathtaking views, like this one, while abroad.
Description: For the first time in my life I was able to meet and touch deer and take pictures of them.
Description: The world is vast and beautiful and you have to take in with open arms and an open heart. This photo reflects the beauty of my host country and how excited I was to jump into it's culture and history.
Description: Although we all appear to be in good spirit here, this hike in Greece challenged us all. Towards the end, one of our peers was struggling to finish. We joined forces and pushed each other to finish, and one girl even gave the other student a piggy back part way up the mountain to help her finish. It was a tough but rewarding experience that brought our group closer together.
A Miao (the Miao and the Hmong share one ancestor) ethnic girl works on her "Paj ntaub" (flower cloth) embroidery. The art of Paj ntaub is hundreds, if not thousands years old. Traditionally, every young Miao or Hmong girl is taught paj ntaub by their mother at a very young age. The paj ntaub is not just a piece of cloth but an important part of the Miao and Hmong history. The paj ntaub tells the life of every Miao and Hmong. It gives them a sense of identity and individuality. From the day of their birth they are wrapped in hand made paj ntaub and in death they are given pairs of paj ntaub to take with them to the after life.
Though this picture does not have CSBSJU students in it, for the Hmong CSBSJU students who stumbled upon this girl, we felt a sense of home and ancestral appreciation for our Hmong culture. Out time in Yunnan Providence was like an adventure for us as we tried to trace back our Miao roots.
Description: Every person has a special story, why not try and hear as many as possible!
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