Calling all budding artists for the National Culture Shocked! illustration competition for Transition Year students
Thursday, November 23, 2023

National Culture Shocked! illustration competition for Transition Year students 
Let's celebrate languages and cultures 

Have you ever been in a situation where you don’t know how to react? Have you ever been offered snails for lunch? Have you ever been considered rude because you are 5 minutes late or 2 minutes early?   

Share a story of a culture shock. It can be a funny or embarrassing anecdote of a cultural misunderstanding. Tell your story with a comic-style hand-drawn or digital illustration.  

Get inspiration from our Culture Shocked! Collection. You can access it here:  


  • Overall winner:  €200 One4all voucher for the MFL department in your school   
  • 2 runners-up: €100 One4all voucher for your MFL department in your school  

Award ceremony: The winning participants will be notified and receive a prize for their school. Their illustration will be published on the organiser’s website. A ceremony will take place online in early May 2024  

Important dates 

  • Submission deadline: March, 1 2024  
  • Winner announced: April, 15 2024  
  • Award ceremony: Early May 2024  

Terms and conditions 

  • The competition is open to individual and group submissions.  

  • Multiple entries are accepted per participant or group of participants. 

  • Entries must include: ONE comic-style illustration (up to 8 panels - hand-drawn or digital illustration accepted) accompanied by a title and a short description (250 words maximum) provided in TWO languages (English and another language - heritage languages welcome). 

Instructions for submission  

All entries must be submitted by email to  

Please, mention the words “ThinkLanguages competition” in the subject line of your e-mail.  

Only ONE entry per email. 

All entries must contain the following information in the body of the email:  

  • Name of students  

  • Name and address of the school  

  • Teacher's name + school email address  

  • Title of comic/illustration  

  • Description in English AND in other language (heritage languages welcome) 250 words max 

The illustration must be included as an attachment. Illustrations are accepted in .png or .jpeg (hand-drawn or digital illustrations accepted). 

Competition criteria  

The criteria on which judgement is based are found below. The adjudicators’ verdicts are final, and no correspondence shall be entered into regarding individual competition entries. Only winners will be notified.  

The shortlisted winners will be sent a Media Release Form by e-mail, giving us permission to publish their illustration on the organiser’s website or on social media platforms.   

Criteria for evaluating the entries  

1. The illustration addresses the topic of the competition  

  • The entry demonstrates intercultural awareness.  

  • The entry displays a sensibility and respect towards other cultures.    

2. Quality of the comic/illustration  

  • The illustration displays a good level of craftsmanship/ skill (neatness, care and precision of the illustration) and an understanding of the comic genre.  

  • The illustration is original, displays creativity and accurately depicts a ‘culture shock’. 

  • There is an absence of irrelevant or inappropriate elements in the illustration.   

3. Choice of title  

  • The title has been carefully selected to match the comic/illustration. 

  • The title is original (using a play on word, humour, cultural references…). 

4. Relevance and accuracy of the description  

  • The description clearly explains the comic/illustration (reasons for the culture shock). 

  • The description is provided in English and in another language. Both descriptions show a good level of competence in the selected languages.   

You can access a copy of these terms and conditions by clicking here.

Sample entry:

(the full sample entry including an example of a comic illustration can be accessed through the link above)


Wrong way / Contre-sens


This comic is entitled WRONG WAY and shows how things may feel strange when you are used to driving on another side of the road. For example, when you are a passenger in a car, you may have the impression that the car is going in the wrong direction.   

In Ireland, Australia, and Thailand people drive on the left hand-side but in countries such as Spain, Italy or the United States, people drive on the right hand-side. Roundabouts can be particularly triggering, and you feel that vehicles are going the wrong way. 

In France where I grew up, drivers are on the right hand-side of the road. Something funny happened to me the first time I came to Ireland. I was walking on the footpath of a busy street, and I saw a car passing by me. There was a dog on the front seat and I thought it was driving! It was a passenger, of course, but it was very confusing… My brain could not process what it was seeing.  


Le titre de cette bande-dessinée est CONTRE-SENS et illustre comment tout semble bizarre quand on a l’habitude de conduire de l’autre côté de la route. Par exemple, quand on est le passager, on peut avoir l’impression que la voiture roule dans la mauvaise direction. 

En Irlande, en Australie et en Thaïlande, on conduit à gauche alors que dans des pays comme l’Espagne, l’Italie ou les États-Unis, on roule à droite. La circulation dans les ronds-point est particulièrement déconcertante et on a l’impression que les véhicules roulent à contre-sens. 

En France, où j’ai grandi, on roule à droite. Il m’est arrivé quelque-chose de drôle la première fois que je suis venu en Irlande. Je marchais sur le trottoir d’une rue très fréquentée quand une voiture et passée près de moi. Il y avait un chien sur le siège avant et j’ai cru que c’était le chauffeur ! Ce n’était qu’un passager, bien sûr, mais je me souviens avoir été perplexe… Mon cerveau ne pouvait pas traiter l’information.