Lanterns Across The Sky: Stories of International Students Across Diverse Global Landscapes
CALL FOR ESSAYS | Deadline: October 30th

2021 Global Essay Contest Winners

Call for Essays

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.

Essay Categories

  • International Student Experience (long-term/degree seeking programs/experiences)
  • Study Abroad /Exchange Program Experience (short-term/program experience)
  • Faculty/Staff Experience (International faculty, study abroad mentors, Fulbright scholars)


You can write your story/essay in any of the following eight languages: 

Arabic عربي

ما قصتك؟

Chinese 中文





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 (use template). 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! 

Format 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. Please use this template to write your essay.

Award Includes

  1. Best Essay Certificates 

  2. Publication in STAR Scholars Network Journals or Books

  3. Complimentary Books

  4. STAR Scholars Membership


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. 

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. 

About the Journal of International Students

The Journal of International Students is a #1 quarterly diamond open-access academic publication on international education. JIS is an interdisciplinary, and peer-reviewed publication indexed in major academic databases. The journal publishes scholarly peer-reviewed articles on international students in tertiary education, secondary education, and other educational settings that make significant contributions to research, policy, and practice in the internationalization of education worldwide. 

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