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International Student Essay Contest



 Congratulations to our 2024 International Student Essay Contest Winners:

Best Overall Essay, Subhamoy Bhowmik

Best Undergraduate Essay, Nishit Nagpal 

Best Graduate Essay, Olajumoke Oluwatobiloba Emmanuel 

Read their essays here! 



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. 

Essay Topic

The topic for 2024 is:

Celebrating Each Other  

Just like a box of crayons, our differences bring unique colors to the world. By blending different perspectives, cultures and opinions, we can create a vibrant world of endless possibilities. So, let us celebrate our differences and work together to build a more inclusive and diverse world for everyone. Think about the following questions as your write your essay:

How do you define yourself? Why do you think it is important for an institution like MSU to be comprised of students from a variety of backgrounds with different identities? How do you embrace and celebrate your unique self? What are some aspects of yourself and your community that you wish others knew more about or better understood, what do you want to understand more about others and how does MSU create space for sharing and understanding our identities?

Submission Guidelines


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


No more than 750 words typed and double-spaced. Include your name and email address in the header on each page.


Times New Roman, 12 pt

Due Date

Submissions for the 2024 International Student Essay Contest are now closed. 

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.


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

Submit Your Essay

Check back at the end of 2024 for next year's contest! 


Join us in celebrating our 2024 International Student Essay Contest winners at a special Coffee Hour on Friday, March 15th from 4-6pm in Spartan Rooms B&C located within the International Center Food Court.