Religion and Spirituality Abroad

Religious history of different countries can have a major impact on cultural norms in daily life. Some international residents may be really accepting of a variety of religious practices, while others may have beliefs that lead to discriminatory interactions and exclusion of people with differing values. The Study Abroad Center (SAC) believes that students should be able to participate in their religion and/or spiritual practices abroad safely. With proper planning and preparation, you will be able to continue to engage in religious customs and connect with your spiritual community while studying abroad.

Questions to Consider

  • What is the dominant religion in my host country? How is it a part of daily life?

  • Will I be part of the religious majority or minority abroad? 

  • Are there any laws regarding religion? Is there a clear separation between religion and the government?

  • What is the level of religious tolerance in the host society? Will I feel safe and comfortable to practice my religion as I wish?

  • 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? How will I feel if I participate in course-related visits to religious sites?

  • 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.