2017 International Photo Contest Tournament: Semifinals

It’s time once again for the SDSU International Photo contest, featuring photos submitted by SDSU students! This year we’re choosing our People’s Choice Award through a 40-photo tournament, with winners decided by online voting right here on the Be International blog. Voting is now open for the semifinals below, so pick your favorites of the six photos remaining!

Why are there six remaining? For the first time ever, we had a tie between two photos in the third round of voting … so both will advance! Voting will be open until Friday at 9 a.m. to determine which three photos will qualify for the final round!

The theme of this year’s contest is “Defying Imagination: Images that depict something that you did not expect, or that helped you imagine life in another context during your international experience.”

The contest was open to domestic students on study abroad programs and international students studying at SDSU. For more information on the contest and to view past years’ winners visit this website.

Please note: voting for the first place, second place, third place and honorable mention has already been conducted and will be announced and displayed during Family Weekend. The People’s Choice Award is… less scientific. SO VOTE EARLY AND VOTE OFTEN.

And now, the voting:

Pinwheel Dreams vs. Tradition Speaks Volumes

Pinwheel Dreams

Location: Kawagoe, Japan
Narrative: Every summer at the Kawagoe Shrine people gather to celebrate, and write their dreams and wishes on wind chimes. This picture shows a woman wearing her traditional yukata, standing in the middle of her dreams, and the dreams of others, wondering how many will come true.
First Round: Defeated Ideal Home 148-41.
Second Round: Defeated Fascinating Fireworks 143-75.
Third Round: Defeated Berber Dreams 218-115.

Tradition Speaks Volumes

Location: Beijing, China
Narrative: This photo captures the life and pure serenity of China. There is a greater
meaning in traditional buildings as it reflects the respect and appreciation of Chinese history and culture. Walking along these unpaved paths, so close to the water, I was able to be in tune with the beauty that surrounds me.
First Round: Defeated Speechless 145-134.
Second Round: Defeated Fleeting Sakura 197-123.
Third Round: Defeated Golden Slumbers 408-349.

Spaceship vs. Ponte Vecchio at Night


Location: Liverpool, United Kingdom
Narrative: Shocked with the amazing architecture and the reigning silence in the Central Library of Liverpool, surrounded by books and letters … I imagined myself in a spaceship traveling out to explore new worlds. Reminds me of my first days in England realizing that I was out of my comfort zone trying to adapt to a new culture and environment. Represents the beginning of my experience abroad.
First Round: Defeated Tranquil Imagination 209-97.
Second Round: Defeated Snow Struck 508-264.
Third Round: Defeated Typical Tourist 1,754-1,357.

Ponte Vecchio at Night

Location: Florence, Italy
Narrative: Absolutely breathtaking and defying all of the scenes in my wildest dreams, the lights twinkle along the Ponte Vecchio at dark. I would stroll by this picturesque scene nightly to take in the serene sights and ponder life in this magical city.
First Round: Defeated They Alleys 133-57.
Second Round: Defeated Gateway: 185-149.
Third Round: Tied Integration 372-372.

Mindlessly Grazing vs. Integration

Mindlessly Grazing

Location: Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland
Narrative: While hiking through Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland, my program and I stumbled upon a herd of grazing cows. They were seemingly oblivious to the beauty of the cascading waterfall behind them. The scene called for a moment of introspection, as we questioned what sights we often took for granted while going through mundane, daily routines and brought a new appreciation for everyday beauty.
Final Round: Defeated Bo-Kaap Houses in front of Lion’s Head 118-84.
Second Round: Defeated Kindness of Heart 371-298.
Third Round: Defeated Above the Clouds 244-162.


Location: Seoul, South Korea
Narrative: Hongdae, an exuberant neighborhood located in Seoul, is where the distinct Korean culture and customs are uniquely exhibited in a modernized fashion. The well-known traditional characteristics of the Korean language, fashion, foods, arts, and many aspects of life are unexpectedly transformed and integrated into the self-expressed pop culture. Hongdae houses numerous restaurants, galleries, markets, and performance stages, allowing people like me to not only see but, altogether, live the unimaginably integrated life and culture.
First Round: Defeated A Queen’s View 86-79.
Second Round: Defeated My Moment of Awe 176-141.
Third Round: Tied Ponte Vecchio at Night 372-372.

See more student-submitted international photos by following SDSU Be International on Instagram.

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