German Information Center USA 6th Annual Essay Contest


The German Information Center USA fulfills the public diplomacy mission of the German Embassy in Washington, D.C. To encourage American students to get to know modern Germany, the GIC provides classroom materials to educators in the United States.

German Information Center USA
German Information Center USA

The purpose of the essay contest is to familiarize students with today’s Germany. In addition, the contest offers students and their teachers an opportunity to discuss traditional and modern German culture, language and society.

Detailed contest information such as rules, deadlines and the essay questions can be found below.

All entries must be submitted electronically by April 15, 2011.
There will be three grade groupings for the contest: Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, and Grades 9-12. Winners will receive prizes and certificates; their essays will appear on the website of, as well as the German Information Center USA’s newsletters.


Students must answer one of the following topics:

Topic A

Students in German schools start to learn a foreign language no later than fifth grade, with many schools starting even earlier. Why so you think it is important to learn a foreign language? In your opinion, what advantage does learning German have over other languages?

Topic B

The German and American women’s soccer teams are two of the favorite teams competing in the FIFA Women’s World Cup this summer in Germany. How do sports influence you and your daily life? What effect do sports have on life in America? What effect do sports have on life in Germany? Are there big differences between the 2 countries?

Essay must be in English and in paragraph format.

300 words or fewer for Grades 3-5; 500 words for Grades 6-12. (Note: More does not mean better! Focus on the quality, not quantity.)

Students may submit only one essay per person.

Submit entries as .doc (Microsoft Word), .pdf (Adobe Acrobat), .odt (OpenOffice), scanned-in graphic files (jpg, etc.) or .txt (Simple Text) files only. Email your essay to Jennifer Clardy (dz-12[at]

Entry must include the author’s name, grade level, school name and school address at the beginning.


All students enrolled in 3rd through 12th grade in the U.S. are eligible. Seniors graduating in 2010 are eligible. Students enrolled in DoDDS schools or schools in American overseas territories with APO mailing addresses are eligible. Homeschooled students are also eligible.

Each essay must be the sole work of the author.

Entries may be submitted by individual writers or by their teachers.

Entries must include the name of the student & teacher/advisor, the grade level of student, the email address of student & teacher, and a postal address for the student & teacher. This information enables the GIC USA to quickly award prizes and prize packages. No personal or contact information will be handed over to a third party.

Only electronically submitted essays will be accepted.

Entries must be 300 words or fewer for elementary students; 500 words or less for middle and high school students.

Submitted entries will become the property of the German Information Center USA; they may appear in GIC USA or associated publications.

The decision of the panel of judges from the German Information Center USA and German Embassy Washington is final.

Students are encouraged to review spelling, grammar and punctuation.

Receipt of essays will be confirmed by email. Please contact us if you do not receive a confirmation within a week.

DEADLINE for entries is April 15, 2011. Winners will be notified by May 31, 2011.


Winners will be determined by a panel of judges from the German Information Center USA and the German Embassy Washington. Entries will be judged based on their content, style and grammar.

Successful entries will:

Follow the guidelines.

Show that student has done research on her/his subject

Include the author’s own opinions

Demonstrate superb critical and creative thinking

PRIZES gift certificates will be awarded to first place winners in each age group.

1st place – grades 3 – 5: $50 bookstore gift certificate
1st place – grades 6 – 8: $75 bookstore gift certificate
1st place – grades 9 – 12: $100 bookstore gift certificate

For Teachers or Advisors of 1st place winners:
$100 bookstore gift certificate for classroom resources

In addition, 10 runners-up will receive a package from the German Information Center USA.

Good luck!

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