"Where in the World?!" co-op photo contest 2023

2023 winner selections

Students on international work terms in fall 2022, winter 2023 and spring 2023 shared their photos and stories of their their international experiences.

Winners of "Where in the World?!" co-op photo contest

1st place: Ryan Tang, Hell's Valley, Germany

This photograph captures the breathtaking Hell's Valley nestled within the mysterious  Black Forest, which famously inspired the Brothers Grimm tales. It was taken with a 35mm Minolta 500si Film Camera near the summit of Zuggspitze, the tallest mountain in Germany. The ascent of this legendary setting spanned two days, where we found ourselves amidst tempestuous lightning storms.

As we ventured deeper into this land of legends and folklore, my superstitious swelled, well aware of the mountain's grim reputation for claiming the lives of intrepid mountaineers. The weather seemingly cleared at 3 a.m. and with full determination, we donned our harnesses, helmets, and crampons embarking on a ten-hour ascent of perilous glacier crossings, treacherous crevasses and shear limestone rock faces. All three of us reached the summit, carrying with us a tale of remarkable resilience.

This photograph symbolizes my personal growth, rooted in my experience of working abroad as a geotechnical engineering research assistant in Hamburg, Germany. Throughout my travels across Europe, i had the privilege of meeting incredible individuals from diverse corners of the world. It dawned on me how impactful simply sharing stories connects us in profound ways. The realization that each person possesses a unique narrative and that we can explore the world in meaningful conversations resonated deeply with me. If there's one story I long to convey, it's the extraordinary journey of conquering a 3000 meter mountain in the heart of the Alps.

Hear from Ryan about his international work experience in Germany.

2nd place: Aryaman Chaturani, Uttarakhand, India

Weaving practices can be traced back to ancient traditions in India which has permeated into contemporary culture, industry, and politics. The move to establish India's independence from Britain promoted the use of domestic products to establish self-sufficiency and self-rule.

Working at Avani Earthcraft in the Himalayan region broadened my perspective on the impact individuals can have on the community. Avani provides productive and fair employment to over 500 farmers and artisans which is especially important in remote villages due to a lack of economic growth. These artisans produce hand crafted naturally dyed textiles and plant-based pigments. Also choosing to combat prejudices through caste inequality, Avani provides shelter and employment to those facing the ramifications of antiquated and unfair beliefs.

Another current challenge facing communities in the Himalayan region is the recurrence of forest fires which are spread by pine needles that fall during dry summer months in the large surrounding pine forests. These fires destroy biodiversity in an already fragile Himalayan ecosystem and rut human lives at risk. Combating this through engineering biomass gasifiers allows for reducing carbon emissions, regenerates biodiversity, and creates avenues for human prosperity.

All finalist photo contest submissions