All Roads Lead To

☆☆☆ by Dakota Hardin, from Plymouth, IN USA ☆☆☆

While walking around my university’s study abroad fair, I felt completely overwhelmed. I had no idea where I wanted to go, and not even the slightest clue of where to start. I saw tables from every country imaginable, each one with a destination that looked more extraordinary than the next. I collected information on France, Guatemala, Cuba, but nothing really seemed to call to me. While rounding the back of the room, I spotted the poster board for Rome, Italy. Without even giving it a single thought, I began to make my way over. Standing in front of the board and brochures, I knew right then and there that Rome was MY destination. From the pictures of the beautiful architecture and art, to the descriptions of each and every amazing site and monument, I was hooked. I stayed and absorbed as much information on the program as possible. I listened about the Catacombs of Rome, the Roman Colosseum, and even stayed to hear about the gelato. There was no doubt in my mind that Rome, Italy was where I would be spending my time during this upcoming spring semester. After doing more research on this location, I am more confident than ever in my decision. I cannot wait to immerse myself in the Roman culture and create memories to last a lifetime. I guess the saying is in fact true, “All roads lead to Rome.”

Dakota Hardin, winner of the 2017 Study Abroad Award.

Essay Theme: "Why There?"

A study abroad experience is a life changing one. By immersing yourself in a foreign culture, you learn new and different ways of living. You return home a little more knowledgeable and wiser than before.

Your choice of destination matters. You may have to learn a new language, or not. The culture could be similar, or very different. You could make lifelong connections. What is your study destination and, of all possible choices, why there? 

2017 Study Abroad Award: Entry Form

Your name

Home city and country

Destination city and country

Study abroad course

Contact email

Essay title

Your essay (150-250 words)

Competition terms and conditions

The Study Abroad Award essay competition is open to students who want to study abroad at college level. The cash award can be used to pay for living expenses as an international student. You must be a U.S. or Canadian citizen enrolled, or seeking to enroll, in an accredited college or university.

Fill in the form on this page to enter. It is recommended that you first draft your essay in a Word document or similar. If you have any submission problems, you may send your entry by email to

The competition closing date is November 1. A new round of the competition, with a different theme, will start as soon as the current round finishes.

The content of any entries may be used by Good Colleges for research or publishing purposes.

Judging and awarding

The winning essay will be selected by a panel and will be announced in the same month that the competition closes.

How well the essay follows the theme is a judging factor. A winning entry may be insightful, informative, entertaining or moving. There are no rules about what style of entry could win.

The $2,000 prize is paid via PayPal. An email address linked to a PayPal account is required for payment.

The winner is asked to send a photo of themselves with a winning certificate (to be supplied).