Study Abroad Student Writing Contest

Read first and second place writing entries from the 2012 contest:

First place: Jeremy Horton

Second place: Beth Ebisch


Southern Miss is proud to offer study abroad programs that span the globe and help build international understanding through education. We are excited to offer the "Study Abroad Student Writing Contest" as part of our 2012 International Education Week festivities this year.

Think back to what studying abroad did for you. Before, during and after your experience - you changed. Your experience produced powerful insight into differences among world cultures, and a deeper understanding of your own. By sharing your story, you help prospective students, their family members, professors and others in the community know, feel and appreciate the importance of studying abroad. 

We want to hear your story about what you experienced when you studied abroad. Please read our contest eligibility criterea, deadlines and tips for how to write your essay below. We look forward to reviewing your entry!


  • Undergraduate or graduate students, or alumni, who have participated on a Southern Miss study abroad program are eligible.
  • Writing samples must be less than 750 words.
  • NOTE: Any and all submissions to the Study Abroad Student Writing Contest may be used at the discretion of the Office of International Programs for promotional purposes. By submitting your entry, you agree that your writing can be used in this way. Winners will also be asked to supply photos from their study abroad experience.


Entries should be submitted online by Friday, November 9, 2012, at midnight.

Entries will be judged by a committee of volunteers from the university and community. Winning entries will be announced Thursday, Nov. 15 in correlation with International Education Week festivities and featured on our website, Facebook and Twitter.

Please do not complete any part of the online form until you are ready to fully submit your writing sample. You may upload a copy of your writing via our online form. When you submit your entry you will be emailed a copy of your submission to confirm its receipt.

Should you have any questions during this process, please contact our office


  • 1st Place will recieve a $50 gift card to Barnes & Nobles bookstore, the opportunity to waive the deposit fee on a study abroad program, and their essay will be shared across campus and in the community.
  • 2nd Place will receive a $25 gift card to Barnes & Nobles bookstore, and their essay will be shared across campus and in the community.

Tips for writing your entry

Be thoughtful and carefully compose your story - speaking of which, tell us a story! Check carefully for grammatical errors and stop by the Writing Center in Cook Library 112 (or your university's equivalent) for assistance. Looking for some inspiration to help you compose your writing sample?Consider the following questions:

  • Was there a particular encounter that surprised you while abroad? What did you think and feel? How did you react? Would the experience have been different at home? How and why?
  • Did you attend or participate in a unique social aspect, event or practice of your host country? Think about social holidays, festivals, national events, business or everyday practice.
  • How have you gained a new perspective for your major/minor/country/life?
  • How is life conducted differently in your host country? What social or business customs stood out to you?
  • Did you experience any culture or re-entry shock?
  • How long has it been since your experience? Has your perspecitve changed with time?
  • Did you learn any valuable lessons while abroad? Are there any lessons you would pass on to students considering studying abroad? (lessons about eating, traveling, making friends, dealing with bureaucracy, etc.)