Around the world in (almost) 80 pictures

Members of the Rice community seeking a trip around the world needed only to visit Duncan Hall March 18 for the Study Abroad Photo Contest. The contest included 78 photos taken during Rice students’ travels to all corners of the globe.

Members of the Rice community view photo entries for the Study Abroad Photo Contest.

This year marked the fourth year for the contest, which required that entrants submit a short explanation of how their photo submission captured something special and unique about the location, the people or the culture of the region they visited.

Zach Bielak’s photo, “Merry Christmas,” received the Best in Show award. As the picture’s name suggests, it was taken on Christmas Day in China, where Bielak was studying at the time.

“This picture was taken … as I saw an old man bend down to pick up some food scraps to eat,” Bielak said. “Perhaps more than any single thing I saw in my brief stay in China was the juxtaposition between this man and the Christmas my hosts celebrated earlier that day.”

"Merry Christmas," the Best in Show award-winning photo.

Bielak said the photo was taken wandering the streets of Shenzhen alone at night.

“[I] would have never gained this insight simply being a tourist,” he said. “I had to fully immerse myself in the street culture.”

The People’s Choice winner was selected by members of the Rice community in attendance March 18. The remaining winners were determined by Rice faculty members serving on the judging panel.

Other winners included the following:

People’s Choice and First Place, People: Max Katner’s “A Blessed Place.”
First Place, Culture: Max Katner’s “Masha’Allah.”
First Place, Digital Art: Lydia Smith’s “Little Village.”
First Place, Nature: Lydia Smith’s “Three.”
First Place, Places: Caroline Zhu’s “Monk in Canterbury Cathedral.”

See all the photos at For more information on Rice’s study abroad options, visit

About Amy McCaig

Amy is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.