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Student Writing Contest

The Only Student Travel Writing Contest to Cover Studying, Working, Interning, Volunteering and Living Abroad

The 2014 Winner Will Be Awarded $500 to Share their Student Experience (See Guidelines Below for All Prizes!)

Student Writing Contest
Photo by Eamee C. Lanning from Study Abroad in Bologna

Congratulations to the 2012 Student Travel Writing Contest Winners

Editor's Note: We were very pleased and excited to receive many fine submissions during the past year, many of which were of exceptionally high quality. Judging the submissions in order of quality proved very, very difficult (which is why we had so many ties), as there were so many excellent study, volunteer, internship, travel, and living abroad essays sent to us, each with their own unique qualities and perspectives; the contest submissions reflected a great deal of introspection, perception, compassion, imagination, and a desire for cultural immersion on the part of authors of all ages. Clearly the experience changed the lives of the participants in very significant ways.

1st
Living as Student in China

A Foreigner in the Middle Kingdom: Living, Working, and Studying in China by Maggie Simons

2nd (tied)
Life in China A Guide to Life and Study in China: Go Slowly by Heather Burge
2nd (tied)
Living in Vietnam Studying and Living Abroad in Vietnam by Whitney Cox
2nd (tied)
Paris as a Student

Living Abroad in Paris as a Student by Vicki Fletcher

2nd (tied)
Teaching in Korea Why College Graduates Should Consider Teaching English in South Korea: Kimchi Narratives by Jena Sprau
3rd (tied)
Studying Abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark: Viking Kings and Little Mermaids by Ariel Bloomer
3rd (tied)
Students in Lyon, France Living and Studying in Lyon, France by Christopher Dalton
3rd (tied)
Teach in South Korea Experience South Korea by Teaching English: Modern Life Meets Rich Traditions by Michelle Joo Hwang
Runner-Up
Living in Madrid Living with a Host Family in Madrid by Kristen Fonte
Runner-Up
Summer in Egypt as a Student A High School Summer in Egypt Studying Arabic by Connie Ip
Runner-Up
Living in Ecuador as a Student Adapting to Living Abroad in Ecuador as a Student by Kristie Kannaley
Runner-Up
Studying in London Studying Abroad in London: Hop Across The Pond by Abby Ringiewicz
Runner-Up
Gap Year Program Backpacking Before College With the Youth International Gap Program by Margaret Ulrich

2011 Student Travel Writing Contest Winners
1st
What You Should Know About Studying and Living in Istanbul, Turkey by David Joshua Jennings
2nd
Before, During and After: How to Find a Dream Job in the Field of International Education by Jennifer Hare
3rd (tied)
Living La Vita Fiorentina: One Spring in Florence, Italy by Gillian Gurish
3rd (tied)
Falling In Amore with Study in Italia Again, and Again, and Hopefully Again by Leah Henderson
3rd (tied)
Teaching English in the Heart of Europe, Otherwise Known as Hungary by Jakob Hidas
3rd (tied)
Living, Studying, and Enjoying Your Time Abroad in Bologna, Italy by Emily Peeler
3rd (tied)
Study Guide for Getting Sent to Siberia by Agnes Sekowski
Runner-Up
A Year Abroad at Oxford University: Living and Learning in the City of Dreaming Spires by Melissa Browne
Runner-Up
Living and Learning in Cambodia by Charlie Cristi
Runner-Up
Studying and Interning in Bavaria: The Keys to a Successful Experience Abroad by Allison LaRose
Runner-Up
Teaching English as a Foreign Language in Guadalajara, Mexico: A Challenging but Important Experience by Emily Miner

2010 Student Travel Writing Contest Winners
1st
What to Know About Studying Abroad in Madrid by Alexei Koseff
2nd (tied)
Learning on the Throne of Enlightenment: A Semester of Buddhist Studies in India by Manny Fassihi
2nd (tied)
Studying Abroad Among the Elite: A Year at the London School of Economics by Chao Huang
3rd (tied)
Volunteering Abroad Teaching English with Worldteach: Tales of Life in Northeast Thailand by Haley Boone
3rd (tied)
Volunteer in the Marshall Islands: Thinking About Teaching Abroad in a Developing Nation? by Sam Cortina
3rd (tied)
How to Plan Your Study Abroad Experience: Living as a Student in Buenos Aires, Argentina by Megan Jones
3rd (tied)
Study Abroad and Service-Learning in Malta with Luther College by Brian Liesinger
3rd (tied)
Living and Studying Abroad in Australia: Total Cultural Immersion is the Best Way to Experience the Land Down Under by Carolyn Mueller
3rd (tied)
Study and Travel Abroad in Bhutan: Experiential Learning with the Hiram College Study Abroad Program by Emma Strong
3rd (tied)
Studying and Living in Cairo and Traveling in the Desert Dunes of Egypt by Rachel Tobias
3rd (tied)
Studying Abroad and Living in Prague, Czech Republic: Land of the "Unbearable Lightness of Being" by Tanya Xu
Runner-Up
Study Abroad and Living in Ghana: Throw Your Expectations Out of the Window by Isabel Dickinson
Runner-Up
Learning to Teach English in Germany: A Semester of Studying, Living, and Traveling while Studying for a TEFL Degree by Noemi Hayslett
Runner-Up
Study Abroad at Oxford University, England: A New Education by Kelsey O'Brien

2009 Student Travel Writing Contest Winners
1st
Learning Spanish in Quito: Immersion in Ecuadorian Culture by David Joshua Jennings
2nd
Learning Medical Spanish in Costa Rica: Pura Vida by Regina Toto
3rd
Advanced Studies Abroad in Bath, England by Regina Toto
Runner-Up
A Student’s Reference Guide to Studying Abroad by Kayda Norman
Runner-Up
Study Abroad in Australia: Immersion Enhances the Experience by Jennifer Fromal
Runner-Up
Study Abroad in Brussels, Belgium: From Naive Isolationist to True European by Helen Bond
Runner-Up
Travel and Live Abroad in Chiang Mai, Thailand as a Student: A Difficult but Great Experience by Kasey Weber

2008 Student Travel Writing Contest Winners
1st
Study Abroad in Bologna: Slowing Down and Discovering the Good Life in Italy by Eamee C. Lanning
2nd (tied)
Learning The Second Time Around: An Odyssey Studying, Working, and Living Abroad by Nicole Tobin
2nd (tied)
Study at Nottingham University in England by Elizabeth L. Hatt
2nd (tied)
Study Abroad: The Benefits of Waiting by Michael Kay
3rd (tied)
Learning Abroad: Anyone (and Anything) Can Teach You a Lesson by Olivia Victoria Andrzejczak
3rd (tied)
Study Abroad in Chile: Learning Acceptance of New Ideas by Tamara Smith
3rd (tied)
Study Abroad in Helsinki Summer School as a Mature Student by Audrey Faye Henderson
3rd (tied)
Study Abroad in Tanzania: On Borders, Bananas, and Being Back by Danae Roumis
Runner-Up
A Journey of Self Discovery: Understanding Differences Through Studying Abroad by Kristen Clark
Runner-Up
In-Between Cultures: Cultural Immersion in Bangalore, India by Diana Jue
Runner-Up
Internship for an Ethiopian NGO by Sara Cornish
Runner-Up
Living and Studying in the Languedoc Region of Southern France by Lola Pak
Runner-Up
Volunteer Work at an Archeological Dig in Greece by Josiah Ramsay Johnston

2007 Student Travel Writing Contest Winners
1st
The Lasting Benefits of Study Abroad by Lauren Anne Underhill 
2nd
Life Lessons in Ghana by Lauren Elliott 

2000-2006 Student Travel Writing Contest Winners
2006
1st
The Road Less Traveled: Grants for Independent Research Overseas by Shayna McHugh
2005
1st
Living and Learning in Oxford by Emily Hilk
2004
1st
Beyond the Comfort Zone by Kate Gustafson
2003
1st
Planning for Study Abroad in Developing Countries by Meredith Alt
2002
1st
Irish Literature in Dublin: Disability Does Not Prevent Study Abroad by Johana Schwartz
2001
1st
Work in the Middle Kingdom: Internships in China by Christopher Moore
2000
1st
Students' Guide to Study Abroad by Chanomi Maxwell-Parish

Student Writing Contest Guidelines

TransitionsAbroad.com hosts an annual student writing contest for all currently enrolled undergraduate and graduate students, students who have graduated within the past year, and students currently on leave from school are eligible.

The following prizes will be awarded for the winning student writing submissions:

  • 1st Place: $500
  • 2nd Place: $150
  • 3rd Place: $100
  • Runner-up: $50

All winning pieces will be published on www.TransitionsAbroad.com and in the monthly Webzine (TAzine).

Transitions Abroad has long featured regular articles on the subject of Student Participant Reports, Student to Student Advice, Student Volunteer Service Learning, and Internships Abroad where students share information and experience with other students contemplating educational travel abroad, whether formal study abroad, internships, volunteering, or short-term work abroad.

Many of the winners of this contest have gone on to write more articles for www.TransitionsAbroad.com.

What We Are Looking For in the Student Writing Contest

Think about what you were looking for when you were planning to study, travel, volunteer, work, or live abroad as a student. Please use the guidelines below as a basis of your travel writing, as the more relevant questions you answer in detail, the more you will likely help others:

  • Where did you go to school prior to your work/study/travel/living/volunteering abroad?
  • What motivated you to go abroad?
  • What subjects or activities were your primary interests abroad?
  • How did you select your program or activity abroad? Did you use search engines, word of mouth, databases, or other communication modes? Emphasize essential practical information such as how you selected a program or arranged your own independent study, job, or internship.
  • Where did you go abroad, why, and when?
  • On which program(s) did you end up participating? Was it an organized program, direct attendance at an academic institution abroad, or independent study?
  • Once you were abroad, what did you wish you had known before you left?
  • Were there any unexpected events, challenges, or realizations while you were abroad?
  • What was the best part about your experience abroad?
  • Do you consider your venture abroad as achieving or exceeding your goals?
  • Would you go abroad again? Would you recommend that others do the same?
  • Did you consider yourself a good ambassador while you were abroad? Did you feel you gave as much as you received from the people and culture hosting you?
  • What role did social media and online communications play in your experience abroad? In these days, when we are spending so much time online, how did you balance such activity with cultural immersion and direct connection with locals and/or your host family?
  • Since you have returned (if you have), how have you been able to fit what you did and learned abroad into your life—academic, career, and otherwise?
  • Do you think that your experience changed your life spiritually, academically, and will alter your future life or even career choice?
  • Did you go abroad with the expectation that the intercultural skills you would develop would help you in your future career—skills employers now seek?
  • Did you intend to write about your experience during and/or after your experience abroad, and via which media?
  • Think of yourself as an adviser or counselor and your reader as a student like yourself before you decided to study/live/work abroad. Offer your best practical advice.
  • Be specific: Vague and flowery evocations of the place(s) you visited and what a wonderful time you had there are not always helpful to someone preparing for his or her own trip. Good writing avoids clichés.
  • Think of yourself as a journalist seeking to tell a story with as much objectivity as possible in order to reach a wide and educated audience.
  • If you write about your experience as a student with a specific program, remember that the appropriateness of the program depends upon the individual.
  • If you write about one program or independent activity, please provide a list of similar programs or alternative opportunities you researched for your reader from which they might choose.
  • While remaining practical, please do not hesitate to offer your most inspiring experiences and advice. Describe your own personal passions relating to traveling, living, and learning in the country(ies) in which you visited.
  • If you feel that anecdotes or epiphanies offer a view into the core of your experience abroad, please provide them or any dialog with locals that may have changed your perspectives while abroad.
  • Include a sidebar with relevant information or related programs that you considered to help others in their research.
  • Note: Optionally provide photographs, Youtube video(s), links to blog posts or multimedia of any kind that will help evoke what you experienced abroad and inspire others to follow in your footsteps.
  • Note: High quality photos, video(s), and links to other forms of multimedia will make your submission stand out, though we emphasize a command of the written word as the primary form of narrative, since language leaves so much to our readers' imaginations.

Word Count

1,000-2,000 words. One or more photos strongly preferred.

Student Writing Contest Deadline for 2014

The Contest begins January 1, 2014, and all entries must be received by September 15, 2014. Transitions Abroad Publishing, Inc. will require first-time Worldwide Electronic 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, with additional compensation. The writer may republish the unedited submission as desired six months after initial publication on TransitionsAbroad.com.

Winners will be notified by email before 12:00 a.m. EST, September 30, 2014 for publication at such time as all winners have signed Agreements, received, and cashed payment.

Student Writing Contest Terms

  • There is no entry fee required for submissions.
  • Submissions that have been published during the current academic year by home academic institutions are eligible.
  • 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 check or PayPal as preferred by the author.
  • All federal, state, and local taxes are the sole responsibility of the Contest winners.
  • Decisions of the judges are final.

Format

Typed in Microsoft Word and sent by email to studentwritingcontest@TransitionsAbroad.com. Your name and your email address should be on the document and the "2014 Transitions Abroad Student Writing Contest" as the subject of the email. Please let us know at webeditor@transitionsabroad.com if your submission did not get through for any reason.

Cover Sheet

Please provide your name and contact information (address, email address, telephone number), your college or university, and your year in school or year that you graduated or expect to graduate. If you traveled on your own, list the countries and dates and what you did (worked, backpacked, etc.) If you traveled with a program, list the program name and institution, and the dates. Include your current and permanent address, your current and permanent phone number, and email address if applicable. Include a short biographical note (hometown, major, etc.). This information can be in the body of the email which includes your submission.

Transmission

Send electronically as an attached MS Word file which includes the submission title, your name, your email address, and the story to studentwritingcontest@TransitionsAbroad.com. If you cannot attach the submission as an MS Word file, then please paste the article into an email message. If you have any questions about the contest, please write to the webeditor@transitionsabroad.com.

* Please do not send a hard copy submission by mail, as it will not be judged.

Download Contest

You can also download the 2014 Student Writing Contest Guidelines as a .pdf file.

Social Media

Notification of your participation in the contest via Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or other social networking sites would be much appreciated (see our links/buttons at the top and bottom of this page), and all winners are welcome to "brag" via social media.