(Re)Visit: California

At Cultural Vistas, immersive international experiences are everything; even after they’re over, we continue to learn from them. While new international experiences are not possible right now, we can still learn from our past experiences abroad.

Over the next two weeks, Cultural Vistas will be sharing photos from our alumni through our (Re)Visit series. Each day, we will focus on a different country or U.S. state that transformed them. These photos stay the same, but our perspectives continue to change.

Thank you to our alumni for allowing us to highlight their stunning photography. We hope these photos inspire you to reflect, remember, and #ReVisit your own experiences abroad.

California, USA

California is one of the most popular states for our Train USA international interns to work. This popularity is largely due to Silicon Valley: the center of the high tech sector and home to some of the world’s largest most innovative companies.

Normally, this professional experience is bookended by weekend explorations across the state. While many National Parks remain closed, here are some photos from our alumni to help us remember, reflect, and revisit our experience in the Golden State.

Lake Tahoe

Anna Victoria
Train USA, Internship/Trainee Program (2018)

“When you move out frequently or when you’re constantly traveling, you realize that life is better when you are not attached to material things. You realize that the things that the 21st century tells you that you have to own are useless. You realize that what matters the most is what you get to see, experience, and explore. It’s the people you meet and the culture you live in. It’s the hidden paradise spots the world has to offer but you only know they exist if you chase them. This is why I love hiking when traveling. When I get to the highest spot of the hike and contemplate the view, that’s when I am reminded of all of those things. Those things matter and transform me.”

California nature

Elva Young
Cultural Vistas Fellowship (2017)

 

California nature

Elva Young
Cultural Vistas Fellowship (2017)

 

California nature

Elva Young
Cultural Vistas Fellowship (2017)

 

Tatianna Brierley
Train USA, Internship/Trainee Program (2018)

“Being abroad and experiencing all that California has to offer has given me a new perspective into how big the world really is, and how important it is to appreciate it.”

 

Mount Shasta

Avalos Martinez de Escobar
Train USA, Internship/Trainee Program (2018)

“This expedition was the hardest physical thing I have ever done. And one of the most exciting adventures I lived too, during my one year experience in San Francisco.”

 

Rainbow over the Mist Trail

Dominique Holbrook
Cultural Vistas Fellowship (2018)

“Witnessing a rainbow appear at the bottom of Vernal Falls waterfall mid-way through a very hot hike, and getting soaked by the waterfall on the aptly named “Mist Trail.”

 

San Francisco at Dusk

Naiwen Cao
Train USA, Internship/Trainee Program (2017)

“Visiting San Francisco was probably the most important decision I made in 2017. I met wonderful people, saw astonishing views, and found a job that I will enjoy as a full-time. It was an unforgettable experience.”

 

Fog among the trees

Naiwen Cao
Train USA, Internship/Trainee Program (2017)

“Last fall, I had the opportunity to visit the Yosemite National Park in California, United States. It was an unforgettable trip for me to see this breathtaking view. There are no way to describe how nicely nature has painted the view, standing there I felt so small and realized that the world has so much more waiting for me to explore.”

 

Santa Cruz

Diana Jokic
Train USA, Internship/Trainee Program (2018)

“Moving abroad for work alone is scary; suddenly you’re engulfed by new surroundings and responsibilities, but without the support system you accustomed to. During my first work term aboard, I knew no one in the California Bay Area. I was lucky enough to meet a pair of siblings, also foreigners to the Bay Area, and also of Serbian descent. Having people who shared my language and culture, and who were just as frazzled by the NorCal way of life made my adjustment so much easier…Travel transformed me by allowing me to meet amazing people with whom I can appreciate the beautiful world around me.”

 

Hiking up the mountain

Celine Yau
Cultural Vistas Fellowship (2017)

“The best thing about travel is all the people you meet. It is the best not just because people are that cool, but because those people help you discover something about yourself. In this picture, I just finished hiking up my first peek in Lake Tahoe, California. The views were spectacular and 9 hours of walking provides a lot of time for talking. On the way down, I decided that I absolutely hated hiking because my knees and feet were in so much pain. Yet after this, I would continue to complete three more hikes in California and most recently I finished another hike in Portugal. My trip to Lake Tahoe showed me that I had the potential to hike up any mountain if I really set my mind to.”

 

Activist

Miriam Leupold
Train USA, Internship/Trainee Program (2017)

“I came to Los Angeles to work in a violin making workshop for one year. During this time I have met and lived together with incredible people from all around the world. Together we were involved in social activism and many conversations and thoughts about how to actually create change in the world.”

 

Alcatraz

Rachel Rigg
Train USA, Internship/Trainee Program (2018)

“Standing on Alcatraz island at sunset, looking over San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge. You’re standing on the rock in the middle of the ocean, created purely to oppress while experiencing the ultimate freedom of solo exploration and finding your place in a new city.”

 

Ropi Lake

Philip Moloughney
Train USA, Internship/Trainee Program (2018)

 

Above Lake Tahoe

Anna Victoria
Train USA, Internship/Trainee Program (2018)

 

Cliffs of Yosemite

Nicole Sarden
Train USA, Internship/Trainee Program (2018) Yosemite, California

“The greatness of nature made me reflect on my choices and made me want to achieve greater things in my life.”

 

San Francisco Fireworks

Benoit Zhong
Train USA, Internship/Trainee Program (2018)

“This photo was shot during the 4th of July fireworks over San Francisco. I shot this picture from the roof of my office with a lot of interns, some were from the US and some were there thanks to a J-1 visa. It was a magical experience and the view was beautiful!”

 

California surfers

Sergey Zverlov
Train USA, Internship/Trainee Program (2018)

 

San Francisco

Barbara Ristau
Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship Program (1999)

“This photo was taken at dusk from the South Harbor in San Francisco, after an afternoon boating trip in the San Francisco Bay. The peaceful marina, with its boats resting for the night, against the backdrop of the city skyline, provides an example of how we transition from work to play, as well as from day-to-night.”

 

San Francisco

Barbara Ristau
Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship Program (1999)

“This photo was taken at dusk from the South Harbor in San Francisco, after an afternoon boating trip in the San Francisco Bay. The peaceful marina, with its boats resting for the night, against the backdrop of the city skyline, provides an example of how we transition from work to play, as well as from day-to-night.”

 

Rowhouses

Kabith Mahendran
Train USA, Internship/Trainee Program (2018)

 

Point Reyes, California

Barbara Ristau
Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship Program (1999)

“It’s hard to believe this desolate landscape exists just an hour outside of San Francisco. It captures a common theme in my photography: the merging of different worlds. Here, we can see how the land and sea are woven together through a band of seafoam and sandy beaches. The way the landscape disappears in the horizon evokes a sense of timelessness.”

Golden Gate Bridge

Elazar Gershuni
Train USA, Internship/Trainee Program (2018)

Mount Shasta at Sunset

Avalos Martinez de Escobar
Train USA, Internship/Trainee Program (2018)

 

Jenny Dong
Train USA, Internship/Trainee Program (2018)

“As a photo, this scene is not impressive. But what I see is a mirror, held up to the past 7 months of my internship here in California…The moment itself is so vividly entangled in what life here has been like. It captures spending time with friends, and the satisfying exhaustion after a day of adventure…What once was foreign, was now a second home.”

Music festival on the sand

Marjan Riazi
JED Fellowship (2018)

“I’ve been traveling to and documenting music festivals for over ten years now, but this was the first time I’d been to one entirely on sand. Through festivals, I’ve discovered a new culture, a friend circle turned family, and an ever-expanding world of music that gives me access to so many different types of communities. Festivals and festival-goers often get a bad rap, but to me, few things compare. This photo was taken during Kaskade’s Sun Soaked beach festival. Nothing helps the soul of a wandering journalist like stoked friends, great music, and a beachside sunset.”

Marjan Riazi
JED Fellowship (2018)

“While visitors still walk away with tar on the bottoms of their feet as a reminder of a major disaster decades ago, they are also reminded of those who fought to protect this environment and nature’s beauty. I go here for peace, rejuvenation, and wellness. I go here to remind myself that the environment is worth protecting. I go here to revitalize my passion for speaking up for what is just. I go here to find home.”

 

Swing

Katja Dorst
Train USA, Internship/Trainee Program (2017)

“This is a swing located near San Francisco. If you are sitting there you can see the whole bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. When I swung, I felt so happy and free. I realized then that I don’t need a lot of things to be happy in my life. Just this swing hanging from the big tree above the bay. Just the overlook and the beauty of nature and I felt amazing.”

 

Fog through rocks

Thomas Roux
Train USA, Internship/Trainee Program (2017)

“As a photographer, having the opportunity to go to California gave me new ways of thinking photography, working with new landscapes and perspective, a different light, and new elements to photograph.”

 

Lonely tree

Thomas Roux
Train USA, Internship/Trainee Program (2017)

 

Starry night

Thomas Roux
Train USA, Internship/Trainee Program (2017)

 

Wildflowers

Thomas Roux
Train USA, Internship/Trainee Program (2017)

 

Los Angeles

Jean-Francois Bisson
Train USA, Internship/Trainee Program (2018)

 

Are you remembering, reflecting, and (re)visiting your own experiences abroad? Share your story with us.

Latest posts by Anthony Naglieri (see all)

Anthony Naglieri

For more than 15 years, Anthony has stewarded integrated communications for a diverse set of institutions – spanning everything from a major U.S. military academy and professional/collegiate sports entities to higher education and internally-minded NGOs and causes. Connect on LinkedIn

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