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  Transitions Abroad's Writer's Guidelines and Contests Expatriate and Work Abroad Writing Contest

Expatriate and Work Abroad Writing Contest

Win $500 for Sharing Your Living / Work Abroad Experience
See 2015 Guidelines

2014 Expatriate Contest Winner India
Photo by Joshua Jennings of Tibetans performing a traditional dance during the Dalai Lama's birthday in Mcleod Ganj, India from Adapting to Life in India.

Congratulations to the 2014 Expatriate and Work Abroad Travel Writing Contest Winners!
Many thanks for the many fine submissions sent to the judges. The eclectic submissions ranged from excellent essays and narratives on being an expatriate to very useful practical guides on living abroad in a variety of countries, with this year all winners writing about their experiences in the Far East. As far as the judges are concerned, all the winning submissions were potential 1st place winners. — The Editor
1st Place
Monks in Dharamsala, India Seeing Patterns in the Chaos: Adapting to Life in India by David Joshua Jennings
2nd Place
Study and Living in Bhutan Study and Living as an Expat in Bhutan by Catherine Joy Perkins
3rd Place
Japan Horse Archer Starting Over in Japan: A New Life as an Expat by Tzigane Ludwig

Congratulations to the 2013 Expatriate and Work Abroad Travel Writing Contest Winners!
1st Place
Enjoying paella in Spain ¡Viva España! — The Pleasures of Cultural Immersion While Living in Spain by Andrea Isiminger
2nd Place
Living as Expat Family in Bangkok Living as an Expat Family in Bangkok, Thailand by Heather Van Deest
3rd Place
Ruin old town Baden, Switzerland Living Abroad in Switzerland: Bus Stops by Gail Folkins

2012 Expatriate and Work Abroad Writing Contest Winners
1st Place
Traditional dancing in Turkey Transitional Enigmas: Turkey and the Queen of Cities by David Joshua Jennings
2nd Place
Temple in Chiang Mai Living in Chiang Mai, Thailand: Happily Adding the Months by Nathan Edgerton
2nd Place
Girl in Vietnam Living as an Expat in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam by Whitney Cox
3rd Place
Camping in Colombia Living Abroad in Colombia; The Only Risk is Wanting to Stay by Kristin Wegner
3rd Place
Senegal car rapide An American Living in Dakar, Senegal by Robert Chatfield
3rd Place
Senegal car rapide An Expat Goes East: Living Abroad in Singapore by Victoria Milner
Senegal car rapide Getting to Know Beautiful Belfast One Meal at a Time by Shannon Lee Donovan

2011 Expatriate and Work Abroad Writing Contest Winners
1st Place
Boats in Thailand Jumping Off the Face of the Earth: Landing in Thailand by Paul King
2nd Place
Living in China Bike Trip Learning Mandarin Chinese in China: Living, Communicating and Growing in a New Country and Culture by Linda Lisa McGrew
3rd Place (tie)
Living in Bavaria, Germany Returning to Germany to Teach English by Nicholas Oyler
3rd Place (tie)
Living on Mykonos, Greece island Living on the Iconic Island of Mykonos in Greece by Julia Reynolds
Temple in Bangkok At Home in Thailand: Living in Bangkok by Nancy Claxton
Kenya foster child The AmeriKenyan: Straddling Two Worlds in Nairobi by Anena Hanson
Market in South of France The Dream and the Reality of Life in the South of France by Aidan Larson

2010 Expatriate and Work Abroad Writing Contest Winners
1st Place Living Abroad With a Family in Bahia by Eleanor Stanford
2nd Place (tie) Teaching English and Living in Singapore by Nathan Edgerton
2nd Place (tie) Coffee Culture Al Bar: A Many-Splendored Set of Italian Rituals by Estelle Jobson
3rd Place (tie) Living Abroad and Working in Croatia as a Tour Guide by Alexandra Cram
3rd Place (tie) Internship Studying Ancient Medicine in Modern China by Lucy Hordern
3rd Place (tie) Living and Working in Istanbul: A Tale of Two Cities by Jo Knights
Runner-Up A Working Holiday in New Zealand for the More Mature Gapper by Joanne Amos
Runner-Up Living and Teaching English in Hanoi by Joss Berret
Runner-Up Broadening the Expatriate Experience: Going it Alone in Japan by Camille Bromley
Runner-Up Expatriate Living in Kuala Lumpur as a “Traveling Spouse” by Cindy Childress
Runner-Up Living in the French Alps by Wendy Hollands
Runner-Up Living in Prague as an Expat: The Times They Are a-Changin’ by Sezin Koehler
Runner-Up Living in Cancun as an Expat: A Family Adventure Abroad by Ilana Long
Runner-Up Island Fever in Okinawa by Mary Richardson
Runner-Up Living in New Delhi: Choosing Your Own Adventures by Benjamin P. Rodgers

2009 Expatriate and Work Abroad Writing Contest Winners
1st Place The Anxieties of Otherness: Expatriate Life in Italy by Linda Lappin
2nd Place A Different Pace of Life: Living and Teaching in Korea by Lindsay Nash
3rd Place (tie) Aotearoa—"The Land of the Long White Cloud": A Year Living and Working in New Zealand by Lydia Horrex
3rd Place (tie) I Always Knew I Would Return: Living and Working in Argentina by R. Wade Alexander
3rd Place (tie) Opening the Door of Possibility: Living in Russia by Natalie Ridler
3rd Place (tie) Shaking Up the Routine: From Corporate Cubicle to Casual Colonial in Porto Alegre, Brazil by Jenny Miller
3rd Place (tie) Starting a New Life: Moving, Living, and Working in the Czech Republic by Pearl Harris
3rd Place (tie) Volunteering and Living in Kenya by Anena Hansen

2008 Expatriate and Work Abroad Writing Contest Winners
1st Place An English Teacher in Vietnam: The Rooster in the Cafe, and Other Sights and Experiences by Nathan Edgerton
2nd Place Living a Day at a Time in Small-Town Vietnam by Adam Bray
3rd Place (tie) Outside the Metropolis: Happenings in Nagano, Japan by Chris Gladden
3rd Place (tie) A Farewell Party, Korean Style by Sonya Natalia Heaney
Runner-Up Awakened Dreams in Gölcük, Turkey by Karrie Hawkins Erenoğlu
Runner-Up Living in Beijing: "One World, One Dream" by Megan Rhodes
Runner-Up Living in Hong Kong: Hybrid Island by Micah Stover
Runner-Up Living in Nampula, Mozambique: Just Left of Paradise by Caroline Cowan
Runner-Up Living and Teaching in Thailand: "It Takes a Village" by Rachael Price
Runner-Up The Carioca Kangaroo: Accidentally Becoming Brazilian by Aaron Smith
Runner-Up Returning to Chaos: How To Be an Expatriate in India by Sonya Natalia Heaney

2007 Expatriate and Work Abroad Writing Contest Winners
1st Place Everywhere Is Home: Rhythms of Native Life in Fiji by Caroline Cottom, PhD
2nd Place Essence of Japan by Rebecca Combs Tilhou
3rd Place (tie) Feeling Comfortable With Strangeness by John Hillman
3rd Place (tie) Go East, Young Man by Tom Hale
Runner-Up The Real Kazakhstan: Eager to Attract Foreign Expertise by Paul Bartlett
Runner-Up French in the Fast Lane: Retire in Style on the French Riviera by Ferriel Brooks
Runner-Up On Being an EPIK Ex-pat: Teaching English in South Korea by Eileen Han
Runner-Up A Teacher's Tour of Duty in Taiwan: Rockets, Temples, and Tonal Languages by Brian Johnson

Guidelines for the Expatriate Writing Contest invites you to enter its 2015 Expatriate Travel Writing Contest.

Professionals, freelancers, and aspiring writers are ecouraged to write articles that describe their experience living, moving and working abroad. Often your experience living abroad may be extended by working or studying in the host country, so living/working/studying/and traveling abroad are often inextricable—and we are interested in exploring these interconnections.

Making the move to live abroad is for many the ultimate transition — often the fulfillment of a lifelong dream, in other cases the result of chance and circumstance. We are seeking inspiring articles that also provide in-depth practical descriptions of your experience moving, living, working abroad, including discussions of immigration, personal and family life abroad, housing, work, social interactions with the natives, food, culture, study, language learning, potential prejudices encountered, etc.

Apart from practical considerations, what were the most important physical, psychological, and social adjustments necessary to integrate into the local communities? Feel free to include anecdotes about locals who may have aided in your adjustment to the physical conditions and social rituals of the host community, as well as the role of expats in providing information and support.

Given the nature of the global economy—which is booming in some regions but largely stagnant or in recession in others—more and more people are moving abroad to find or explore various forms of work in addition to seeking spiritual fulfillment, so such stories are of great interest to our audience. We start with our editorial supposition that most people "work to live" and do not "live to work" except when there is a perfect marriage, such as writers who make their living and travel as part of a lifelong dream, and others who are doing exactly what they always wished to do where they wish to do it.

We welcome a well-crafted and even humorous narrative. Nevertheless, listings, box outs, and/or references to the most important websites, publications, and other practical resources which have aided you in the cultural adjustment process or enhanced your life abroad are strongly encouraged to help others who may find themselves in similar situations or even similar locations. The inclusion of such useful sidebars/box outs will likely help determine the winners of the contest. High-definition photos will also do much to help make your submission stand out in this highly visual era.

In sum, we seek your perspective, in which the host country remains the primary focus, such that the color and taste of the people and land remain solidly in the foreground. Our preference is not for essays about one's highly personal and psychological adaptation except in connection to the people and culture whose homes and country you have chosen to make your home.

Try to write like an engaged journalist providing an in-depth feature, and assume an educated and empathetic audience.

Please see the Living Abroad section of our site for some examples of the types of articles we are seeking, as well as reading past winners of the contest, and see our writers' guidelines for a sense of our editorial preferences.

We opt for the best submissions, but all things being equal will try to balance pieces on hot expat places like Thailand and Mexico with less common expat selections — e.g. Morocco, Nepal, or other destinations. Expat pieces may also involve issues and experiences related to long-term continual travel and/or work in many locations. will publish the winners' entries and will provide links to the authors' website or blog if so desired.

Notification of your participation or interest in the contest via Twitter, Facebook, or other social networking sites would be much appreciated (see our social media links/buttons at the top and bottom of this page).

Contest Prizes

The first-place winner’s entry will receive $500, the second-place winning entry $150, and the third-place winner $100.

Any other articles selected as runners-up for publication on will receive a $50 payment.

Who is Eligible

The Contest is open to professional, freelance and aspiring writers from any location around the globe.

How to Enter
  • Submit an original and unpublished essay of between 1,000 and 3,000 words relating to your experience living, moving, or working abroad. Focus should be placed on a description of the experience abroad and not primarily on personal feelings, as the descriptions and perceptions of the author should imply the personal impact. Supporting photos as attachments in .jpg or .gif format are welcome to illustrate the experience and are considered part of the essay submission. Please read the writers’ guidelines for, previous winners entries, as well as sample articles on this site for a sense of our editorial focus.
  • To enter the Contest, attach your essay in Word format or copy and paste it into an email if you must (conversion to Word costs us time). Please include your full name, complete postal address, phone number, and the bio you wish to display in the body of the email and on the document. Please type "2015 Expatriate Writing Essay Entry" in the subject description of the email and send the email to
  • The Contest begins May 1, 2014, and all entries must be received by March 30, 2015. Transitions Abroad Publishing, Inc. will require first-time North American rights for all submissions which are accepted as contest winners and for publication. In addition, Transitions Abroad Publishing, Inc. will reserve the right to reprint the story in a future publication.
  • Editors of will judge entries based upon the following criteria:
    • Sensitive to the people and culture being described
    • Engage and inspire the reader
    • Provide practical information others can use
    • Follow the thematic guidelines
    • Enhance with rich photographic and/or video illustrations
  • Winners will be chosen and notified by phone, mail, or email on April 30, 2015 for publication in early May, 2015 to allow time for contact, acceptance, and international payment to writers, some of whom live in remote regions of the world.
Contest Terms
  • There is no entry fee required for submissions.
  • Decisions of the judges are final.
  • Transitions Abroad Publishing, Inc. is not responsible for late, lost, misdirected, incomplete, or illegible email or for any computer-related, online, or technical malfunctions that may occur in the submission process.
  • Submissions are considered void if illegible, incomplete, damaged, irregular, altered, counterfeit, produced in error, or obtained through fraud or theft.
  • Submissions will be considered made by an authorized account holder of the email address submitted at time of entry.
  • The 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners—along with any other runners-up accepted for publication—will be paid by Transitions Abroad Publishing, Inc. either by Paypal (best method) or check as preferred by the author.
  • All federal, state, and local taxes are the sole responsibility of the Contest winners.