Photo of the Old City of Jerusalem
The Old City in Jerusalem. Photo by Jonathan Long

Global viewpoints: CWRU students share snaps from abroad for World Photography Day

A photograph is a single moment in time—but it always tells a story.

In honor of World Photography Day (Aug. 19), we checked in with a few students who studied abroad this summer to see what moments they captured—and to get the stories behind these visual glimpses of their experiences.

Answers have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Darren Dorvil

Photo of Darren Dorvil alongside two other students at a fountain in Sweden

Major: Chemical engineering
Year: Fourth year
Study abroad country: Denmark
Study abroad program: Large Scale Exercises in Process Technology and Chemical Unit Operations at Technical University of Denmark

1. Why did you decide to study abroad?

I thought it would be fun to be able to branch out and experience new things. Before studying abroad, I had never been to Europe, so going to Denmark and seeing the differences in culture was very exciting to me. 

2. Why did you choose the country and program you’re in?

I chose Denmark because it’s a green country, with a large number of people riding bikes, and the Danish lifestyle is very different from here in the United States. As it was my first time in Europe, I was really interested in going to a country that was completely different from back home.  

The program allowed me to work with many machines that are used in the chemical industry today, and it gave me a greater understanding of what I have learned at CWRU. The program had tours to see the outskirts of Denmark, and they talked about the country’s phenomenal history and gave a presentation to really tie up everything about Denmark.

3. What has been your most valuable experience so far?

I’ll definitely always remember how much fun I had making friends and just being able to see new things with them and explore Denmark. Going to visit Frederiksborg Castle was great, and getting to see the rich history of Denmark’s monarchy was cool.  

4. When and why did you take the photo you shared?

This picture was taken in Sweden when we had a break from the coursework, and we took this picture to remind ourselves to take breaks from time to time.

5. Anything else you’d like to share about your study abroad experience?

The program was tough and intensive, but it was fair and led to everlasting bonds.

Sohee Kim

Photo of Sohee Kim wearing hanbok in front of Gyeongbokgung Palace

Major: Nursing
Year: Second year
Study abroad country: South Korea
Study abroad program: Yonsei University

1. Why did you decide to study abroad?

As a Korean American, I was very familiar—but inexperienced—with an independent Korean way of living. I hoped that through studying abroad, I would be able to learn about the personalities and ways of living in Korea.

2. Do you expect your study abroad experience to augment your class work?

I plan to work with immigrants in the future through nursing, so gaining more knowledge of Korean culture in an independent way opened me up to new ideas and imaginations. Through studying in Korea, I realized that understanding one’s personality and way of thinking are both essential, especially within medical care.

3. When and why did you take the photo you shared?

The photo portrayed is at Gyeongbokgung Palace. Here, I rented a hanbok (a piece of traditional Korean clothing) to take pictures in. This place is significant because it was a large palace built during the Joseon Dynasty. It is a famous place for tourists to experience traditional Korean culture.

4. What do you like about the photo?

I like how the main part of the palace is shown, and I really liked my hanbok too. Also, it was very special to take a picture in which I immersed myself in the culture and traditions of Korea. It reminded me of when I lived in Korea around 10 years ago before moving to the U.S. The hanbok itself will always represent the memories and the culture I was raised in.

5. Anything else you’d like to share about your study abroad experience?

Aside from studying in South Korea, studying abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is willing to live and learn from a global standpoint. This study abroad was very valuable; it’s critical for students to experience independence in a different country.

Jonathan Long

Photo of Jonathan Long on a balcony overlooking Old City in Jerusalem at night

Major: Biology
Minors: Chemistry, psychology
Year: Fourth year
Study abroad country: Israel
Study abroad program: Kupcinet-Getz International Summer Research Program at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel

1. Why did you decide to study abroad?

I wanted to explore the world and deepen my understanding of other global cultures and perspectives. I am hoping to start medical school next year, so I wanted to take advantage of the study abroad opportunities here at CWRU as well as my time remaining as an undergrad before graduating.

2. Why did you choose the country and program you’re in?

I have always wanted to travel to Israel because of its rich religious history, as it is the birthplace of the three major religions in the world. It is a very unique country with a mix of ancient history and modern feel. I was very interested in the program at the Weizmann Institute because it is a university that values scientific exploration and innovation, which has provided me with the opportunity to build on my previous research experience and contribute to the advancement of medical knowledge.

3. When and why did you take the photo you shared?

I took this picture when I visited the Old City in Jerusalem earlier in July and wanted to capture the religious landscape. 

4. What do you like about it?

I think this photo [shown at the top of this article] perfectly displays the deep religious history in Israel as it shows Jewish followers praying at the Western Wall while the prominent Muslim landmark, the Dome of the Rock, looms in the background.

5. Anything else you’d like to share about your study abroad experience?

As a participant in this international program, I have the opportunity to interact with other undergraduate students from all across the world on a daily basis. I have greatly expanded my worldview and have been able to deepen my understanding of my peers’ respective cultures and values as well as share my own as a student who grew up in the U.S. My time in Israel has been an eye-opening experience and I hope to share all that I have learned with the CWRU community!