Identities Abroad

The Study Abroad Center (SAC) wants to support you as you prepare for your study abroad experience. In addition to course planning and arranging accommodations, it is also important to engage in personal reflection before your departure. There may be certain aspects of your identity that could potentially impact your international experience in ways that you have not faced or thought about previously. As we are here to help guide you, you may want to consider meeting with the SAC staff to discuss this as you plan your abroad experience. 

In addition, to prepare for your study abroad experience, you may want to consider the following questions as related to your own personal identities: 

  • What accommodations will I need abroad?
  • What are the laws regarding accessibility in my host country? 
  • What is the local learning environment like? How are accommodations provided for students on campus?
  • What resources are available for students with disabilities? Who are the faculty and staff members that I will need to work with to arrange accommodations?
  • What are the housing and transportation options available? Is there handicap accessibility readily available?
  • How common is your dietary restriction in your host country?
  • How will you express your needs to vendors, restaurant staff, etc.?
  • Will you have the resources to cook your food if eating out is not an option?
  • Will you be able to bring specialty items to supplement your nutritional health? What does it look like to bring those into a foreign country?
  • Will the airline you are flying provide you with a special meal request?

Tips: If traveling to a non-English speaking country, know the words to describe your restriction in that language. It may be helpful to make a card that you can take with you that has the translation of your restriction on it so that you can show that to the staff. 

  • What are my goals for studying abroad? How can I best explain these to friends and family who may not be familiar with study abroad experiences and their benefits?
  • What support networks are in place to help while I’m abroad? Who can I lean on to help me navigate and adjust to being in another country?
  • What are the typical gender roles in my host society? Are these well-defined or more fluid? What are the perceptions and expectations for people that identify as different genders? 
  • How are my personal values and beliefs about gender similar to socially accepted gender roles? How are they different? 
  • What are the laws regarding sexuality and gender identity in this country? Are X-gender marker passports recognized? 
  • What resources (such as gender-affirming care abroad) are available? 
  • What are the cultural norms for dating and relationships (platonic and romantic) in this country?
  • What is the LGBTQ+ community like in my host country or host city? How do members of the community present themselves within society?
  • What are some common perceptions and stereotypes about race or ethnicity in this country?
  • How will I react if I encounter racism or discrimination abroad?
  • What is this country’s history and connections between power and privilege?
  • How will my racial or ethnic identity shape my international experience?
  • What is the dominant religion in my host country? How is it a part of daily life?
  • Are there any laws regarding religion? Is there a clear separation between religion and the government/host institution?
  • Is it safe for me to wear religious symbols or clothing? How important is it for me to be able to express my religion freely?
  • What religious holidays of the host society will fall during the time that I’m abroad?
  • How should I respectfully visit places of worship to learn more about my host culture? Am I open to visiting religious sites listed on my program itinerary?
  • Can I realistically continue to practice my religion abroad in the same way as I do at home or on-campus? Consider your priorities, such as finding a place of worship, seeking out members of your religious community, following specific dietary guidelines, worshiping according to a certain schedule, etc.