Study Abroad Photo Contest

Brittney Boyd - Ireland, Summer 2019

#BearkatsAbroad Photo Contest

Here's a chance to share your favorite study abroad experiences through the annual #BearkatsAbroad Photo Contest!

Send us your best snapshots from abroad, share your experience, and win prizes!

The #BearkatsAbroad Photo Contest is held each Fall, and applicants who have studied abroad in the previous academic year are eligible to apply. *Due to COVID-19 canceling all Spring 2020 - Summer 2021 programs, the 2021 contest will accept submissions from all current students who have studied abroad regardless of when they went abroad*

We're looking for the most interesting and awe-inspiring photos that showcase your experience abroad. The contest aims to showcase photos that demonstrate an understanding of the country and integration into its culture beyond that which a casual traveler attains. Finalists will be selected based on the best quality photographs that convey a strong sense of place or express a cross-cultural experience.

The campus community can vote for their favorite finalist photos during our fall Study Abroad Fair! Winning submissions will be featured on the Study Abroad website, in a photo display on campus during the month of October, and in study abroad print and digital promotional materials.

We encourage you to take this opportunity to share your overseas experience with the SHSU community - because we know you wore out your photo album on all of your family and friends a long time ago! Please review the contest rules below and submit your photos through the online submission form (opens August 1, 2021) by the deadline. The form will ask you to sign in using your SHSU username and password.


The 2021 #BearkatsAbroad Photo Contest will be open to current Sam Houston State University students who have studied abroad any previous semester. Participants from all study abroad programs are welcome. It does not, however, include vacation travel abroad other than interim travel as part of a study abroad program.


  • Current SHSU students who participated in an SHSU sponsored study abroad or study away program that took place the previous academic year. *Due to COVID-19 canceling all Spring 2020 - Summer 2021 programs, the 2021 contest will accept submissions from all current students who have studied abroad regardless of when they went abroad. Students who participated in the 2019 or 2020 contests can participate again but not with the same photos.*


  • Photos taken during your study abroad experience.
  • Photos must be original work (no professional photos will be accepted) and have been taken by you during your study abroad program. Photos taken by another participant on your program is acceptable as long as it was with your camera (i.e. a friend took your photo with your camera).


As long as your photo falls into one of the four below categories, the only subject matter restriction is that your photo or photos capture an experience or record an observation abroad, not necessarily limited to your program site (e.g. student studying in Paris could submit a photo taken in Warsaw during interim travel while on the program). We encourage photographs that capture locally characteristic phenomena, scenes, and people without falling back on the postcard monuments that we all know only too well (though a superb photograph of the Taj Mahal or Big Ben could take the prize; quality of execution will be the judges’ chief criterion).

The four categories are:

  • The President’s Choice – SHSU's President will select the Grand Prize Winner.
  • Bearkat Pride - Photos in this category should capture Bearkats showing their Sam Houston State spirit abroad with an SHSU shirt, flag, Eat ‘Em Up, and/or other Bearkat traditions.
  • The Faces of Study Abroad - Photos in this category should capture Bearkats embracing their study abroad experience. We want to see your faces!
  • Sense of Place - Photos in this category should capture the landscape and culture of the unique atmosphere of the country in which you are a guest: landscape, food, people, wildlife, plants, buildings, etc.

Submission Guidelines and Deadline

  • Eligible participants may submit up to ten (10) photos total.
  • Images must be high resolution at least 1MB in size with a DPI of 300 or higher.
  • Photos must be in their original digital file (no Facebook photos).
  • Entries must be submitted online through our submission form with the Media Release Form.
  • Photos may have basic digital enhancements (e.g. cropping, color balance, brightness/contrast, red eye elimination, grayscale, slight focus adjustments, etc.)
    • To preserve the integrity of the photo contest, edits that change the photo itself (ex. adding/removing/moving aspects of the photo, drastic color changes, filters, dramatic focus adjustments, etc.) are not acceptable.
    • Photos can be color, or black and white.
  • Photo file types accepted are .JPG, .JPEG or .PNG
    • Filenames must be formatted accordingly:
      Country_Last Name_First Name_Photo Name
      • Please do not use special/extended characters
  • Photos that include alcohol or the consumption of alcohol, drug use, or other illegal activities will not be accepted. Defamatory, slanderous, obscene, threatening, hateful, or otherwise offensive photos are also prohibited. The Office of International Programs determines eligibility of entries and reserves the right to refuse submissions for any reason.
  • Entries must be received no later than 11:59pm, Monday, September 20, 2021.

NOTE: By entering the contest you will be giving the Office of International Programs permission to use your photo(s) in various marketing activities, publications, and/or on the Web for the purpose of promoting study abroad at SHSU. This means all photos, not just winning entries, will be eligible for inclusion in such activities.

Submit your photos here


Entries will undergo an initial review by a panel based on how they capture the category description, as well as their artistic expression, creativity, originality, and image quality. Five finalists from each category will be showcased during the fall Study Abroad Fair for final voting by the SHSU community.

Winners will be officially announced at the beginning of October.

Cultural Sensitivity

Photography is a useful tool to help convey an experience or a memory, but it is important to recognize the power photos can have and to share them ethically. Photos must be culturally appropriate and sensitive.

Please avoid submitting images that:

  • Stereotype
  • Exploit
  • Disrespect
  • Make false generalizations
  • Lead to inaccuracy or misrepresentations of the host country, people, or setting.

When submitting photos of people, think less like a tourist and more like a local who is communicating what it is like to experience day-to-day events and activities.

For more background information on this subject, please see the following links:


A winner will be selected for each of the above categories. Not only do you have the chance for fame with the photo display on campus, but also fortune with some of the amazing prizes that local area businesses have graciously donated. This year's donations include: 

StudentUniverse Freddys

SHSU Dining Services- Aramark SHSU Rec Sports Ink Slingers Logo Barefoot-Logo

Finalists will receive copies of their photographs after the photo display.

Further Information

If you have any questions, please contact

2022 Bearkats Abroad Photo Contest Finalist

2020 Bearkats Abroad Photo Contest Finalists

2019 Bearkats Abroad Photo Contest Finalists

Connect with Us

Study Abroad
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Jessie Miller

Assistant Director 

of Study Abroad 936.294.3276 Farrington 116C
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Daniela Mirabal

GEC Coordinator


Farrington 116F