Student Travel Writing Contest Offers $500 For Best Essay Of Student Life Abroad

Are you a student who is aspiring to be a travel writer? Now’s your chance to strut your stuff and perhaps win $500.

Transitions Abroad has announced their 2013 Travel Writing Contest. It’s billed as “the only student travel writing contest to cover studying, working, interning, volunteering and living abroad.”

The contest is open to all “currently enrolled undergraduate and graduate students, students who have graduated within the past year, and students currently on leave from school.” The judges want to see essays of 1,000-2,000 words that offer solid advice for adjusting to student life overseas. Check out their guidelines carefully before putting pen to paper.

First prize is $500; second prize is $150; third prize is $100; and runners-up get $50. All get published in “Transitions Abroad” print and webzine. Deadline is April 15.

It’s always a good idea to check out what won in the past. Last year’s winner was “A Foreigner in the Middle Kingdom: Living, Working, and Studying in China.” My personal favorite was the practical and insightful “A High School Summer in Egypt Studying Arabic: Practical Advice and Tips.”

Thanks to the excellent online writing newsletter Writing World for bringing this to my attention. Check out their site for tons of free advice of value to aspiring and experienced writers.

[Photo courtesy Sarah Rose]

National Geographic Glimpse program accepting applications

If you are between the ages of 18 and 34 and will be living abroad for at least ten weeks between January and July of 2010, the National Geographic Glimpse program wants to hear from you.

Glimpse correspondents will take photos and write stories about their experiences abroad, receive training and support from professional editors, get a $600 stipend, and have the possibility of being featured in National Geographic Magazine.

Candidates do not have to be US citizens, but they must have access to the internet while abroad and commit to working with the program editors on their submissions, which will include photos, stories about the place they are living, the people they meet, and the experiences they share. Applicants need to submit two references and a writing sample, plus an $18 fee for consideration.

Applications are due November 8, and finalists will be announced December 15, 2009. If your time abroad doesn’t coincide with the spring schedule, you can apply for the fall program (August to December) starting in April, 2010.

Expats hit hard by economic downturn

It’s a popular dream–move to a sunny, beautiful part of the world where life is cheap and say goodbye to the home country forever.

But the BBC has found that the dream of many expats has soured because of the economic downturn. The article focuses on the tens of thousands of British expats living in Spain, but the story could be about expats anywhere. For the past twenty years the English have been moving to Spain in droves, especially the sun-soaked coastline of Costa del Sol and Mallorca (pictured here). They fueled a real estate boom that was one of the major factors of Spanish economic growth until the housing bubble popped, markets crashed, and Spain ended up with a 17% unemployment rate. Oh, and the change from the peseta to the euro caused inflation that ended the “cheap living” part forever.

Now some expats are headed home. Many had jobs related to the housing industry that have since disappeared, and new jobs are not forthcoming. English-teaching jobs may be next as Spaniards rein in discretionary expenditures.

Are you an expat? Has your job or lifestyle been affected by the economic downturn? Gadling readers want to know.