‘My Confucius Institute Story’ Essay Contest

'My Confucius Institute Story' Essay Contest

The fourth annual 'My Confucius Institute Story' Essay Contest, is a proud CIUS Center tradition that honors ten outstanding students from Confucius Institutes across the country for their steadfast enthusiasm and curiosity for Chinese language and cultural education. Contest winners are recognized as outstanding members of the national Confucius Institute Network and will be honored with the CIUS Center People-to-People Award at the 2019 National Honors Gala in Washington, DC. Winners are also welcomed into the CIUS Center People-to-People Award Alumni Network, a diverse group of past honorees who are provided with opportunities to continue fostering their interest in Chinese language and cultural education through trips and other cultural exchange opportunities.  

Tell Us Your Story! 

Essays are accepted on a rolling basis, from February 28, 2019 - May 17, 2019. To submit your CI Story, click the green button above or visit www.ciuscenter.org/submit. All essays must be submitted through the My CI Story Google Form before 11:59 pm on May 17a. Winners will be notified and announced by June 14, 2019. If you have any questions about the contest or the submission process, send an email to cius@ciuscenter.org.

"I think that's really the value of the Confucius Institute--to bring people of different cultures from around the world together with a common purpose to understand one another better. " 


~Dennis Delehanty, 2016 People-to-People Award honoree

"People from China that are teaching me Chinese are so much more than teachers - they are friends that I will always remember on my adventures, as  I grow and learn more in my life."


~Trinity Lewis, 2018 People-to-People Award honoree


Is this storytelling contest only for college students?

No, Confucius Institute representatives of ALL ages are encouraged to submit an essay. The ages of past winners range from 12 to 75+ years old. 

What is the contest prize?

Winners of the 'My Confucius Institute Story' Essay Contest will be awarded the People-to-People Award and honored at our National Honors Gala in Washington, DC, in the fall. The CIUS Center will fund transportation and lodging expenses for each honoree and one guest for the weekend of the gala.

In addition to receiving the People-to-People Award and an invitation to the National Honors Gala, winners of the contest will be welcomed into a community of People-to-People alumni, winners of the essay contest from years past. This community of alumni is a major part of the CIUS Center network and is often invited to take part in professional development opportunities and trips abroad with the Center. The People-to-People alumni group also exists to offer a channel of kinship and support from fellow Chinese language and culture enthusiasts. 

What if my Chinese isn't very good?

Chinese language ability is not a consideration for the contest. Your essay should be written in English. A winning essay will tell a compelling story of your experience studying Chinese language and culture, understanding China, building friendships, and developing global awareness cultural competencies through Confucius Institute programming. 

What if I am unable to attend the National Honors Gala in Washington, DC?

All People-to-People award honorees are expected to attend the National Honors Gala in Washington, DC, except in the case of unforeseen circumstances.

Who will read my essay?

A reading committee of former People-to-People Award honorees and CIUS Center staff will carefully read and score each essay using a scoring rubric. Winners will be selected from the top scoring essays. The winning essays will be shared within the Confucius Institute network and among the general public as promotional materials demonstrating the impact of global education and cross-cultural exchange. 

Will I be notified if I am not selected as a finalist?

Only contest finalists will be notified and the names of winners will be listed on our website. 

What are the essay guidelines?

Essays should share your personal story of exploring China, Chinese culture, and the impact of cross-cultural engagement through the Confucius Institute. Essays will be evaluated on creativity, reflection, and compelling storytelling. Format guidelines include: 

  • 1-2 pages single spaced 
  • Times New Roman size 12 font 
  • Excellent grammar and formatting 
  • Written in English 
  • Include a separate cover page with name and essay title - do not include your name on the essay itself.