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Diversity ResourcesDiversity Abroad
Diversity Abroad is the leading global education organization which targets non-traditional students for international education opportunities. Founded in 2006 Diversity Abroad reaches high school, community college, university and graduate students for international education and other global exchange opportunities. Specifically Diversity Abroad targets student group who traditionally have not take advantage of opportunities provided through global education exchanges. Find out more about our mission, history and who we are.
Study abroad allows you the opportunity to explore cultural patterns for gender roles. Whether a woman or man, you may experience a shift in the importance gender plays in their (perceived) identities while abroad. For men, this might mean they are expected to adopt a more "traditional" machismo attitude toward life and women. Men may find more discomfort with the open affection between men in many cultures. As for women, they may encounter restrictions in dress, behavior, and activities. As for transgendered individuals, they can be met with great confusion and the treatment and expectations will vary.
Prepare yourself by first reflecting on your own cultural understanding of gender roles and relations. Once you are in-country you may find that your perceptions of appropriate interactions do not correspond to the acceptable interactions in your host country. Learn what is expected in terms of dress codes, appropriate conversation topics, proximity and physical contact. Be observant and learn the social norms and the consequences for violating those norms. If you have any questions or concerns the GEC staff will gladly be able to help you.
Race and Ethnicity
Every student is entitled to have a wonderful experience while abroad; this applies to students of the minority or majority. Some students may be racial minorities at home but study in countries where their race is the majority. Others may be a racial minority for the first time. Students may find that race is less an issue than their nationalities when abroad.
Be aware to do research on your host country, as well as consult with your peers who have studied abroad. The links below will specify information on certain races while studying abroad:
Top 10 Reasons for African American Students to Study Abroad
Study Abroad Isn't Just for White Students
Reflections of Asian American Students
What About Discrimination?
(available for African Americans, Asian/Pacific Islander American, Hispanic/Latin American, and Native American)
LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender)
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students should expect to face many of the challenges typical of their heterosexual peers. Levels of tolerance, acceptance, and support for LGBT individuals vary greatly from culture to culture. The GEC staff encourages you to educate yourselves about the country and culture in which you'll be studying. Remember to consider the cultural, social, and legal issues involved.
To educate yourself about LGBT issues abroad, click the links below:
NAFSA: Association of International Educators Rainbow Special Interest Group
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgendered U.S. Peace Corps Alumni
Campus Pride: Queer Advice to Study Abroad
MSU LGBT Resource Page
International Gay and Lesbian Rights Commission with country-specific information
International Lesbian and Gay Association
Spirituality and religion play an important role in many of our students' lives and in the lives of the host community members. As you prepare for your study abroad experience, consider how your religion or spiritual beliefs may influence your experiences abroad. You will likely have encounters that challenge your notions of spirituality. You can alleviate potential misunderstandings by learning as much as possible about the culture where you you'll be living. Your experience abroad can be an incredible opportunity to learn about world religions and to understand social and historical views of religious acceptance and tolerance in your host country. Take the time to learn how people in your host culture worship and engage in different religious practices by exploring the links below:
U.S. Department of Religious Freedom Information
World Religion Links
To visit the Department of State Students Abroad site, click here.