Shams Mohajerani’s “Skatepark Dreams,” which he shot while studying at the Middlebury School in Amman, Jordan, won the annual Study Abroad photo contest.

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Pink umbrellas over La Rochelle, France, a snow-covered Forbidden City, and silhouetted figures on the beach of Mafia Island, Tanzania, are a few of the captivating photos students took while studying abroad over the past year. Middlebury’s Study Abroad Office, which sponsors the annual photo contest, received more than 200 submissions for the contest, which has been running since 2000. Nearly a third of students who study abroad submit photos to the contest.

In late November the Study Abroad Office mounted an exhibit of the 30 finalists’ photos at Davis Family Library. The winning shot? A photo taken by Middlebury senior Shams Mohajerani during his time at the Middlebury School in Jordan. The photo shows a little boy at a skateboard park nervously preparing to make a big run at the 7 Hills Skate Park in Amman.

“In a city devoid of public spaces and parks for children, the skatepark acts as a haven for all the kids in the area, who learn how to skateboard from their peers,” wrote Mohajerani about the photo. “After waiting at the top for several minutes, this little boy finally mustered the courage to go down a big ramp for the first time, which was met by cheers and high-fives from his friends.”

Following is a gallery featuring the 30 finalists: