The Whole Planet is Wildcat Country

Students studying abroad capture moments of service and learning

Katy Smith and the UA Office of Global Initiatives,

Each year, 1,200 University of Arizona students pursue their studies in 60 countries, where they learn to identify global problems and make connections with their career goals.

Students are invited to share their experiences with the university community through UA Study Abroad’s annual photo and video contest. Their photos introduce us to far-flung locations and cultures, and each is a window into a moment when a student gained new understanding of what it means to be a global citizen.

An Unmet Student Support Need

UA Study Abroad, housed within the UA Office of Global Initiatives, helps students obtain financial aid to participate in international education programs.

Many students would not be able to study abroad without scholarships and grants. A far greater number don’t even look into the possibility because they’re convinced they can’t afford it, says Study Abroad and Student Exchange Director Harmony DeFazio.

“UA students have a huge unmet need for support in this area,” she says.

Rose Harris-Makinen ’19, Literacy Learning and Leadership, Government and Public Policy

South Africa — As part of a program that teaches students about life in post-apartheid South Africa and the culture of the Western Cape, Harris-Makinen visited an elephant sanctuary where the animals are trained with positive reinforcement and 
like to give hugs.

Canyon Smith ’18, General Studies

Australia — Smith went scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef as part of a program that allows student-athletes to maintain their training schedules while studying abroad.

Maria Vasquez ’19, Psychology, Spanish, Early Childhood Education

Mexico — Vasquez, who received UA scholarships and grants to help fund her participation in a service learning program, worked with children at an educational center in a rural community near Guanajuato.

Peter Kraemer ’16, Urban and Regional Development

Namibia — As part of a semester-long voyage to multiple countries, Kramer studied stars from a place where their visibility is remarkably high. 

Simran Heer ’19, Management Information Systems, Computer Science

Morocco — Heer’s photo earned the grand prize for 2017. It tells the story of Jewish refugees who fled to the small city of Chefchaouen, Morocco, to escape persecution in Europe. According to Heer, the refugees painted the walls blue to symbolize the area’s significance as a safe haven and to remind others to live spiritual lives. 

Erin Galligan ’18, Doctorate of Nursing Practice in Anesthesia

Laos — Galligan captured this photo of a woman and her great-grandchildren waiting to see a health care volunteer at a rural clinic. 

Paulina Cabrera ’18, Public Health and Spanish

Peru — Cabrera learned about Peruvian health care while serving the community’s needs related to nutrition, respiratory health, clean water and sustainability.


Learn more and support students studying abroad at