Often an experience abroad can give one the feeling of being different when one has always been part of the majority group. Sometimes this otherness is a result of cultural differences or languages spoken, it may be a result of one's sexuality, race, ethnicity, or physical abilities. Regardless, as a traveler outside of your native lands, you will be perceived as different. Being perceived as different in any culture can be challenging, even in a culture where one knows all the rules and the objective of the game. Traveling abroad can add an additional element of challenge to any real or perceived difference one might have, as there are more variables and unknowns out there to discover.
This page is designed to be used as a resource for any student wishing to pursue academic studies abroad whether gay, straight, black, white, able-bodied, disabled, or some combination of all or none of these qualities. Many of the resources will provide hands-on anecdotal information, whereas others take a more factual approach.
Regardless of how you perceive yourself or how others may perceive you, take a few moments to look through the information provided. The more informed you are about your specific host country's make up, history, traditions, religions and so forth, the more prepared you will be for the specific experiences that will make up your daily life. Some cultures are more accepting of diverse backgrounds, whereas others are much more closed-minded and sometimes completely ignorant of the differences we experience daily in the US.
This document (pdf) is a general resource for all types of difference ranging from age to sexuality from race to physical ability and more.
RACE and ETHNICITY
Whether you are black, white, brown or somewhere in between, the color of your skin may impact the way you are perceived and treated when traveling outside the United States.
This document, developed by the international office at Brown University, provides anecdotal information about perceptions, treatment and other issues regarding traveling abroad from a race and ethnicity point of view. Some information includes religion as well.
This Web site was created by the Institute for International Education and offers several articles as resources for students of color and minority students who study abroad.
LGBTQ and sexuality
Students have extremely varied experiences abroad when it comes to sexuality. Depending on the location, culture and history, one may feel more or less comfortable being oneself in public.
This Web site is created by a special-interest group within the National Association for International Educators. It provides a wide range of materials associated with making the decision to study abroad, preparing to study abroad and returning from study abroad, as well as student testimonials and other resources.
This Web site is a portal for LGBTQ all over the world and keeps records of legal, human rights, and other movements across the globe as they pertain to LBGTQ issues.