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Student Essay Contest

Contact International  


Center for International Programs
West Chester University
320 Mitchell Hall
675 S. Church Street
West Chester, PA 19383

Phone: 610-436-3515
Fax: 610-436-3426

Office Hours:
Monday - Friday, 8:00am - 4:30pm

International Student Advising:
Make an appointment.
Limited availability for walk-ins.

Study Abroad Advising:
Make an appointment.
Limited availability for walk-ins.

WCU International Student Essay Contest

  • Essay Contest 1
  • Essay Contest 2
  • Essay Contest 3
  • Essay Contest 4
  • Essay Contest 5
  • Essay Contest 6
  • Essay Contest 7
  • Essay Contest 8
  • Essay Contest 9
  • Essay Contest 10

Program Description

The Center for International Programs at West Chester University wants to hear the stories of its International Students. Our International Student Essay Contest, launched in the fall of 2016, will continue this Spring. This program intends to give a voice to International Students, their challenges, and their victories. Student essays will explore the experiences of the International Student population at WCU. This program, a collaboration between the Center for International Programs and the University Writing Center, will enhance the cross-cultural dialogue in the West Chester University community.

Awards will be given to three winning submissions selected by a review committee. Funds for winning essays will be placed into student accounts.

  • First place will be awarded: $500
  • Second place will be awarded: $300
  • Third place will be awarded: $200


The contest is open to all currently enrolled West Chester University International F & J Students. Students must be enrolled as undergraduate or graduate students, and must be in good standing with the university.

If submissions are found to violate academic integrity guidelines as stipulated in the university policy, the submission will be immediately disqualified.

Permission Notice: By submitting your entry, you agree that your essay may be used by the Center for International Programs on the university website or in a publication.

Questions regarding eligibility should be directed to

Essay Questions

Student essays should respond to at least one of the following questions. If students choose to respond to more than one question, the essay should still be written as one cohesive response.

  • What are the most significant challenges you face as an International Student?
  • What about the environment at WCU challenges you?
  • How have you grown from the challenges that you face as an International Student?
  • Describe your transition from your home culture to that of WCU.
  • Highlight the major differences between your home culture and that of WCU.
  • What experiences do you look forward to sharing with friends and family in your home culture?
  • What experiences will be difficult to communicate or explain to friends and family in your home culture?
  • Describe your arrival at WCU. What surprised you? What comforted you? What challenged you?
  • What has been your most significant success since arriving at WCU?

Essay Contest Requirements

Essays must be between 500 and 750 words. All submissions should be typed, double-spaced and submitted electronically as a Microsoft Word document. Please include: Your Full Name, WCU Email address, Phone Number and WCU ID number.

All participants are encouraged to seek guidance from the University Writing Center as they work on their essays.  Click here to make an appointment to visit the Writing Center.

Questions regarding eligibility should be directed to

Timeline and Submission

Essay submissions will be accepted beginning  February 19, 2018. The deadline to submit essays is March 19, 2018 by 11:59 pm. Late submissions will not be considered.

Essays will be reviewed by a select committee and winning submissions will be notified by April 13, 2018.

Contest winners will be publicly announced at the Coffee Night event on Friday, April 20, 2018. 6-9 pm. Hope to see you there! 

Submit your essay to: All submissions should be typed, double-spaced and submitted electronically as a Microsoft Word document attachment.

Questions regarding eligibility should be directed to

Past Winning Essays: Click Here to see a list of past winners of the International Student Essay Contest and their winning essays.

2016 Essay Contest Winners

Camilla Guillen

Camilla Guillen
B.S., Psychology '20

"If I had the chance to choose where I would have liked to be born, I would choose Venezuela a thousand times. [...] My personality grew in Venezuela, all the values that my family have taught me mean everything to me, and I would never change a second with them. I thank Venezuela for making me the independent, strong and bold person that I am."

Read Camilla's full essay

Ifeoma Chikelu

Ifeoma Chikelu
Master of Public Health '18

"Looking back, I can now make out a pattern of kindness and helpfulness woven into the fabric of American life which I enjoyed from the day I arrived without even noticing. [...] I learned that here, no one judges you by the way you speak or where you are from or how you think or the views you hold - at least most of the time - and that I have absolutely no right to do so either."

Read Ifeoma's full essay

Nadine Manariyo

Nadine Manariyo
B.S., Psychology '17

"The year I have spent studying here, a long way away from home has made a significant change in my life. It has given me new glasses to view the world though. It has helped me expand my cultural awareness as well as taught me many important life lessons. It has taught me that giving up should never be an option. Growth started when I was in a situation that was way out of my comfort zone."

Read Nadine's full essay

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