Diversity and Identity Abroad

The Study Abroad Programs Office encourages all students to participate in transformational, international experiences. To assist with preparations, below are some resources and things to consider. We also welcome students to make an appointment with an advisor to discuss any concerns or questions about identity and diversity abroad, as the socio-cultural context of the host country might differ from that of the United States.
Have questions about a specific country?
Diversity Abroad offers Country Climate Notes for several popular study abroad destinations. Fill out this quick interest survey to request information about a specific country.

Things to consider:

  • Local attitudes in your host country can heavily influence the abroad experience for you, as an LGBTQ student. It’s helpful to approach expressing your sexual and gender identity as just another cross-cultural challenge.
  • Before you leave the U.S., learn as much as possible about the culture-specific norms of friendship and dating for relationships between people of any sexual orientation.
  • Before you go abroad, find out what kinds of legal rights LGBTQ persons have in your host country.
  • Once abroad, connect with local support networks and LGBTQ communities to help ease your transition and provide a base to explore your sexual identity in the host culture.

Web Resources:

  • Texas A&M GLBT Resource Center - A resource and referral center for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Aggies and their straight supporters. 
  • Diversity Abroad - Study abroad tips and resources for LGBTQ students - including a comprehensive LGBTQ Student Guide with country specific information. 
  • International GLBT Association - ILGA has country guides and an interactive map with information about how LGBTQ issues are addressed in specific countries. 
  • U.S. Department of State LGBTI Travel Information - Recommendations for LGBTQ travelers. 
  • NAFSA Rainbow SIG - This organization provides a scholarship made possible by a group of international education professionals who are committed to advocating on behalf of LGBTQ students. 
  • International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association - Features an interactive map providing country-specific profiles about laws and the availability of local advocacy, support resources for LGBTQIA communities.

Things to consider:

  • Research the program destinations and ask questions to understand the program, cultural norms, and resources available in your destination country (e.g., classroom accessibility, academic services, group meals, transportation, required and alternate excursions, housing options, and health care services).  
  • Verify quarantine regulations, if planning to travel with a service animal or emotional support animal. To verify related requirements, consult the United States Department of Agriculture Travel with a Pet (policies for entering a foreign country and returning to the U.S.), consult the U.S. Department of State Pet and International Travel, and verify specific airline regulations based on your flight itinerary.
  • Disclose your disability and medical condition to the Study Abroad Programs Office and Disability Services to initiate the process of securing reasonable accommodations. Early disclosure is strongly encouraged, as it may take 4 to 6 months to finalize arrangements.
  • Plan ahead. Shipment of special supplies, quarantine of service animals, immunizations, travel documents, and other necessary preparations will take time to complete. 
  • Verify with your doctor if your prescription medication is legal in the host country and how to obtain enough supplies for the duration of your stay.
  • Be flexible. The availability of disability accommodations and program adjustments are determined based on the following information: an assessment of the participant’s needs by an Access Coordinator in the Department of Disability Services, examination of the program itinerary with the study abroad advisor/trip leader and on-site staff, and exploration of available resources in the participant’s host destinations.  For more information about the request for accommodation process, visit http://disability.tamu.edu/requestingaccommodations.

Web Resources:

  • Texas A&M Department of Disability Services – campus office for academic accommodation coordination, evaluation referral, and disability-related information.
  • Mobility International USA – global non-profit committed to advancing disability rights and leadership. Its website and staff provide guidance related to international exchanges, travel preparations, and program development.
  • Mobility International’s Guide for Travelling with Service Animal - provides an article for preparing to study abroad with a guide dog. Note: this is not a guide for emotional support animal.
  • Diversity Abroad – is the leading international organization which connects diverse students, recent graduates and young professionals with international study, intern, teach, volunteer, degree and job opportunities. Its website provides study abroad tips, scholarship opportunities, and resources for students with disabilities.
  • U.S. Department of State Traveling with Disabilities – provides recommendations for travelers with disabilities.
  • Transportation Security Administration – provides details on available airport assistance and guidelines on traveling for those with disabilities, service dogs and animals, or medical conditions.
  • Abroad with Disabilities – is a nonprofit committed to promoting individuals with disabilities to travel abroad. Its website provides scholarship opportunities and preparation resources. 
  • International Narcotics Control Board – provides country-specific guidelines on medications and drug regulations.
  • Curb Free with Cory Lee – provides travelling experiences from the perspective of a wheelchair user, as well as tips/tricks for successfully travelling to various places with a wheelchair.
  • The Global Access Files –provides guides for advising students with disabilities and ways to make international education more inclusive.
  • Abroad with Disabilities – provides resources about international travel with disabilities and scholarship opportunities.

Things to consider:

  • Research the dominant religion for the host destinations and the local attitudes for other religions. In some countries, religious liberty might be different from in the United States.
  • Reflect on your typical spiritual practices and determine 1) which practices you accept foregoing based on the tolerance and/or lack of resources in the host country and 2) which practices you wish to continue.
  • Explore available spiritual community resources and support networks in your host destinations (e.g., places to worship and so forth).
  • Verify whether or not it is safe to wear certain religious symbols or clothing, it is acceptable to debate opposing religious views, and there are etiquettes to observe in places of worship.
  • Verify the availability of foods to accommodate religious dietary needs.
  • Be open to learning something new and understanding the cultural norms of the host country even if you might not agree with them.

Website resources:

  • Diversity Abroad – is the leading international organization which connects diverse students, recent graduates and young professionals with international study, intern, teach, volunteer, degree and job opportunities. Its website provides study abroad tips, scholarship opportunities, and resources for students.
  • BBC Religion and Ethics – provide resources on different world religions and news on current events.
  • The Pluralism Project –this site is managed by Harvard University, which is known for its interfaith research and engaging students studying religious diversity.
  • PEW – Templeton Global Religious Futures Project – this site offers religious demography and survey results for most countries worldwide.
General Resources
The following websites provide resources that apply across different diverse identities.

Diversity Abroad – this national organization provides information and resources for diverse students studying abroad.  
IES Abroadthis study abroad provider’s site includes country-specific resources for diverse students. They also feature a Student Blog site, where posts can be filtered to include diversity-focused posts.
SIT this study abroad provider features articles and information by country.
Unpacked – IFSA Butler this is a student-driven blog site that focuses specifically on diverse students abroad.
U.S. Department of State – Travelers with Special Considerations – provides  information specific to travelers of certain identities (religion, ability, LGBTI, and women).
GoAbroad.comprovides free downloadable ebooks tailored to specific identity groups and interests.

U.S. Department of State International Travel - provides country-specific information and safety guidelines.

Annual Report on Hate Crimes - OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) publishes hate crime reports about participating states and countries.