Nearly 300 students from as far as Asia have begun arriving ahead of this week's 2015 Scripps National Spelling Bee at National Harbor, Md., just south of Washington.

They hail from all 50 states as well as American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Defense Department schools in Europe.

As in past years, the bee will have a foreign flavor.  Spellers are coming from the Bahamas, Canada, China, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan and South Korea.  Fifty seven spellers are making return trips to the competition.

The three day competition starts today with a written test that covers both spelling and vocabulary, followed by two oral rounds on stage Wednesday.

The champion will receive $35,000 in cash, a $2,500 U.S. savings bond, $1,100 worth of reference works from Encyclopedia Britannica, and an engraved trophy.