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International Student Essay Contest

Office for International Students and Scholars

What do you miss most from home? Was it hard for you to adjust to your new student life in the US? What did you not understand when you first arrived to UD? The Office for International Students and Scholars (OISS), in collaboration with the Division of Student Life will announce the 7th annual international student essay contest in Spring 2019, open to all international students at the University of Delaware.

OISS has a rich tradition of welcoming international students from all parts of the world and is committed to fostering international understanding and cross-cultural awareness on campus and in the community. The purpose of this contest is to give interested applicants an opportunity to tell their stories and share their experiences of being an international student with the larger University community.

Everyone has a story. Tell us yours for a chance to win cash prizes!


Category Grand Prize Second Prize
Undergraduate Students $500 $250
Graduate Students $500 $250
ELI Students $500 $250

Essay Topic:

Living and studying away from home can be a challenging yet rewarding experience for many international students. Please share your personal stories and experiences about how you dealt with new cultural norms and values during your stay as an international student at UD and in the US. Topic ideas include:

• Were there any moments of confusion or miscommunication that you encountered?

• How did you go about understanding local customs, traditions and communication protocols?

• What did you wish others understood better about you and your culture?


You must be an enrolled international student maintaining F or J visa status at the University of Delaware.

Application Deadline:

Essays must be submitted online. A fall deadline will be announced this summer.

Document requirements:

Maximum of 1000 words; Typed in 12-pt size, Times Roman font; Double spaced; 1-inch margins on all sides; Includes page numbers.


Funds for winning essays will be placed into student accounts.

Permission Notice:

By submitting your entry, you agree that your essay might be published by OISS on the web or in a publication.

Contact Information:

Questions? Please contact OISS at (302) 831-2115 or

Entries will be judged on content, origionality as well as literary style by a panel of UD faculty & staff.  Please make every attempt to submit an entry free from spelling and grammatical errors, and rich in experiential content. 

Winning essays:

We encourage everyone to read the outstanding essays that have been selected for prizes over the past few years. For those considering submitting an essay, you can get started by reading past essays to check your idea for originality.