Global Essay Contests


Lanterns Across the Sky: Stories of International Students Across Diverse Global Landscapes

Essay Description: Everyone has a memorable story of studying or working outside the country of birth. What is your story about studying overseas? What are your cross-cultural experiences from exchange programs or study abroad? Are you a current or former international student? Tell your stories of exploring the words, the world, and the wonders. You can write your story/essay in one of the following eight languages: English | Spanish | French | German | Hindi | Arabic | Chinese | Russian

Essay Categories /Types 

  1. International Student Experience 
  2. Study Abroad Experience 
  3. International Faculty/Staff Experience 

Arabic عربي

ما قصتك؟


Chinese 中国人



French français

Essay Writing Suggestions

Share a story: Focus on moments, encounters, and experiences that shaped your journey as an international student. Tell a story that no one else could tell. Your story can be about friendship, service, freedom, discrimination, injustice, activism, belonging, family, courage, resilience, citizenship, academics, spirituality, parenthood, discovery, inclusion, self-discovery, growth, etc. 

Be brief: Your statement should be between 1,000 and 1,500 words. That’s about three to five minutes when read aloud at your natural pace.

Write about real events: Write your true journey as an international student; exchange student; study abroad student; or international scholar, current or former. 

Describe how you changed: Wrap-up the essay by sharing what you learned from the experience, how it has changed your beliefs, perspectives, or identity, or what the story means to you now as you look back on the events and how it has shaped you. 

Be personal: Tell a story from your own life, not an opinion piece or commentary about an issue. Write using words and phrases that are natural for you. Read your story aloud several times, and simplify it so it captures the story as you experienced it.

Tell your challenges and lessons. Flavor your writing with idioms and figures of speech from your language. Paint the picture. Be concrete about what you have seen in your travels, academic encounters, woes, and wows! 

Story/Essay Requirements: A story or essay of 1000-1,500 words; Typed in 12-pt size, Times Roman font; Double spaced; 1-inch margins on all sides; Includes page numbers. We accept Microsoft Word files only. 

Award Includes

  1. Best Essay Certificates 
  2. Publication in STAR Scholars Journals/Books
  3. Complimentary Books
  4. STAR Scholars Membership

Eligibility: All students (including, international, study abroad, exchange students; including former international students or study abroad students) from both schools, colleges, and universities are eligible to submit their essays and stories.

Application Deadline: All essays must be submitted online by 11:59 p.m. EST on October 30 of each year.  [Application Form]

Permission Notice:

By submitting your entry, you agree that your essay/story might be published by the STAR Scholars on the web or in a publication. You will receive a copy of the publication.

About STAR Scholars 

The Society of Transnational Academic Researchers (STAR Scholars Network) is an international forum of scholars that advances global social mobility by using research and advocacy. Our mission is to carry out scholarly research and publication related to international education, exchange programs, academic mobility, and employability. We envision a humane world and we fulfill our mission by creating dialogue forums of exchange through our activities such as conferences and consultation.

Institutional Partners