Annual Photo Contest

Each Fall, the Center for Undergraduate Global Engagement hosts a photo contest to showcase our students' remarkable global experiences. If you are interested in winning a Grand Prize or inspiring others to travel, we encourage you to participate! Whether you are abroad this semester or have been back since the summer term, all are welcome to submit their photos!

The categories for the contest are below:

  1. Lions Abroad: Photos of you and/or other students participating in a global experience

  2. Landscapes and Cityscapes: Photos that showcase the sights and sounds of a location

  3. Cultures, Customs, and Traditions: Photos that capture a cross-cultural interaction, celebration, ritual or other activity

  4. "Out of My Comfort Zone": Photos that highlight being outside your comfort zone, such as trying local food, being in a new location or having a unique experience

  5. Free for All: Have a photo that you love and doesn't fit in one of the categories? If so, submit them here

We will have Grand Prize Winners from each category and a random Lottery Winner! Even if you submitted one photo and did not make it to the final round of voting, you still have a chance to win! Each winner will receive $25 gift card to be spent at the Columbia Bookstore or Joe Coffee! You get to choose! We will announce the winners a couple of weeks following the contest deadline.

MAXIMUM of FIVE (5) photos per student and TWO (2) per category. A title and short description are optional for each photo submission but are encouraged. Photos submitted for each category above are welcome to have students included in any shots, not just the Lions Abroad category.

How to Submit Photo(s)

Submissions are CLOSED! And voting is now CLOSED! Thank you to everyone who participated in the public voting round!

Please submit your photos no later than October 15th, 2023.
The winner will be announced the week of November 1st, 2023.

Before submission, your photos must be titled: Last Name, First Name_Term_City,Country of Photo (Submission Category).jpg

For example: Rubinowitz, Allie_Fall2022_Copenhagen,Denmark (Landscapes).jpg

All photos must be submitted as .jpg, .jpeg, or .png and should each be a maximum of 10 MB in size.

If you have any questions, please reach out to Allie Rubinowitz at


You must be a current student in Columbia College, General Studies or Columbia Engineering and have completed a global experience during the semester, academic year, or summer terms. Even if you are currently abroad, you can submit photos for a chance to win! Global experiences could include, but are not limited to: research, service, fellowship, internship and/or study abroad experiences.

Non-Columbia students or graduate students who attended a Columbia-Led program are also eligible.

By submitting a photo, you retain the rights to your works while granting Columbia University the right to reproduce and display the works (in whole or in part) without further notification.

Judging Criteria

Your photos will go through two rounds of judging. Round one will be conducted by the Center for Global Engagement staff to narrow down the top photos in each category. Round two will be open to the public, and they will help us decide who our winners are in each category! So, be prepared to share your photos and adventures with others as part of the voting experience!

See below for criteria that may be considered when the finalists are being judged:

  • Highlights the photo contest category in a direct or abstract way
  • Showcases a quality photo, which takes into consideration the technical aspects of the photo, which may or may not include: lighting, clarity, composition etc.,
  • Demonstrates respect for the host culture
  • Evokes some form of emotion when the photo is viewed

Past Submissions

Want to see what has been previously submitted and won? Enjoy viewing the 2023 Annual Photo Contest, 2022 Annual Photo Contest, 2019- 2020 Annual Photo Contest, 2018-2019 Annual Photo Contest and 2016 - 2017 Annual Photo Contest finalist photo submissions.