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International Student Essay Contest

MSU's International Student Essay Contest builds greater cross-cultural understanding and allows the Spartan community to learn from the experiences of international students.

The International Student Essay Contest provides an opportunity for international students to reflect on their experiences and share their Spartan stories to encourage, inspire and educate others. 

By sharing your story, you can help fellow students and people in the greater Lansing community walk a mile in your shoes – to know and appreciate what it is like for you to be an international student at MSU today.

Share some of your experiences, encounters with cultural differences, insights and emotions during your time as an MSU student. 

Essays will be read by a panel of judges selected from campus and community partners, and three winners will be chosen. Each winner will receive a monetary prize, as follows: 

Best overall essay: $1000
Best essay by an undergraduate student: $750
Best essay by a graduate or professional student: $750

Essay Topic

“Finding My Place at MSU” How have you found a sense of belonging at MSU? What activities or groups of people have become your community in East Lansing? As you adjust to your studies and your life at MSU, what are you learning about yourself?"


Submission Guidelines


MSU undergraduate or graduate international students maintaining F or J status.


No more than 4 pages typed and double-spaced. Include your name and email address in the header on each page.


Times New Roman, 12 pt

Due Date

January 31st, 2023 at 5:00PM EST

Permission Notice

Submission of your essay indicates that you authorize MSU to release all information submitted as part of your participation in the Essay Contest to the Essay Contest Review Committee for the purpose of assessing your candidacy for an award. All or parts of winning and non-winning essays might be published on the OISS website and other media such as the Lansing State Journal. By submitting your essay, you agree that your essay can be used in this way.

Submit Your Essay

Submit your essay through our International Student Essay Contest Submission Form. You will need to log in to Google with your MSU account. 

Only one essay per student will be accepted. 

For questions, email isp.oisslive(at)


Information about a program to recognize the International Student Essay Contest winners will be announced soon!