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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Winners of Year Abroad photo competition announced

The Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics held a photography competition for students who had been on their Year Abroad during the 2020-21 academic year. 

Students who study four-year Modern and Medieval Languages (MML) or History and Modern Languages (HML) courses spend their third year abroad - studying, working or teaching. It’s an exciting and challenging experience and an excellent way to immerse yourself in a culture and language.

Dott. Claudia Domenici is a Senior Language Teaching Officer at MMLL and the Year Abroad Contact in the Italian section. She explains: "I set up The Year Abroad Photographic Competition in its current format in 2017, with a number of purposes in mind.

"The competition aims to harness students’ talent, to create a new opportunity to observe and reflect on the culture of the country they visit. It provides a wide range of visual material that can be used to promote and inform on the Year Abroad experience. Finally, it offers a unique opportunity to observe the Year Abroad experience through the students’ perspective and to celebrate its richness and diversity.  

"In time the Faculty is building an archive of visual material that can be used for teaching purposes and anywhere the value of the study of Modern Languages can be promoted. Every year, the standard of entries is impressive - it is amazing what students can achieve when they are free to explore and create."

The winning photos have now been selected and are presented below, with a short description from the photographers. The Faculty would like to thank all those who entered the competition.

Overall winner

Señor de la Rosa - Isabella Yerassimou and Lily Stott

Entered in ‘People’ category

A black and white night-time photo of an elderly man holding a bunch of roses and wearing a face mask


"This photo was taken in Eixample, Barcelona, and depicts one of the many rose sellers that stroll the streets, selling fresh roses to passers-by or friends enjoying an evening drink. After he approached us and we started talking, we asked if we could take his portrait and, although surprised, he agreed. I hope this image captures a daily experience in Barcelona, both his and ours, that is too often overlooked or forgotten in the city's crowds and bustle."

Category winners

Places of interest: Summer Hues - Hannah Reynolds

'Summer hues' by Hannah Reynolds. Brightly-painted pink and blue houses with curtains and laundry billowing outside

"I took this photo in Burano, a small island just 40 minutes away from Venice by boat. The whole island is splashed in colour, with every house painted in a different hue of summer. It almost doesn't seem real. What attracted me to these particular houses was how well the colours complement each other. The green washing out to dry felt almost staged but was a sure sign that there is life behind the beautifully coloured walls, and I am forever envious of those people who live on this small, perfect island." 


The unexpected: Ghosts - Charlotte Waygood

'Ghosts' by Charlotte Waygood. A bus speeds past an illuminated military memorial appearing out of the fog

"This photo was taken across the road from the Völkerschlachtdenkmal (The Memorial to the Battle of the Nations), in Leipzig. On the day that the photo was taken, it was after dark and foggy, so the lights around the monument had been switched on, causing the ghostly shapes of the soldiers who fought in the battle. I liked the contrast between the long-dead soldiers and the modern bus passing below."


Highly commended

Places of interest: Trackside in Uchuruk - Barney Crawford

'Trackside in Uchuruk' by Barney Crawford. A view down a railway track with buildings, hills and trees either side

On the road back from Issyk-Kul, Kyrgyzstan's largest lake, we stopped off at a service station in Uchuruk for some traditional Kyrgyz tea. We found out that the friendly people who served us had built their houses on the side of the railway track. One old lady was especially welcoming, having never met anyone from Europe before. She asked what language we spoke in England and whether there are high buildings there. She said: "Here, we have little, but we have each other." 


People: Wreath making on St John's Eve - Roberto Salvia

'Wreath makers on St John's Eve' by Robert Salvia. A group of Ukrainian women make wreaths from flowers and vegetation

"I took this photograph in the outskirts of Kyiv Oblast on the night of Ivana Kupala, a pre-Christian celebration that is observed in many Slavic countries around the summer solstice. In preparation for a night of merrymaking and jumping over bonfires, young women make wreaths from fresh cut flowers to adorn their heads. I managed to spot a young lady wearing the traditional Ukrainian vyshyvanka in a crowd and took the snap."


The unexpected: Chance of friendship - Lana Mawlood

'Chance friendships' by Lana Mawlood. A friendly dog - with only three legs - approaches on a sandy beach

"I was staying in Nuweibaa, an area in Sinai on the Red Sea. It’s the most tranquil place I’ve ever visited; the water is still and starts to redden at dusk, reflecting Saudi Arabian hillscapes on the other side. This beautiful dog came bounding towards us - we didn’t even notice his leg had been amputated, he was so excited. I’d been finding it hard to capture the uniqueness of our surroundings, but with this dog, it became easy. He embodies what the area means to us, and to many local Egyptians - chance friendships, hidden beauty, simple happiness."