Depending on your sexual orientation, you may be granted different privileges or encounter different challenges abroad than you do at home.
Since many of the ideas we have about sexual orientation and sexuality are culturally based, you should be aware of how this will affect your relationships abroad, your cultural adjustment and reentry, and your overall study abroad experience.
Things to Consider Before Going Abroad
Adapted from Northwestern University’s “Identity Abroad: LGBTQIA”
- Does your right to be LGBTQ+ in the U.S. conflict with the religious or cultural values and traditions of your host country?
- How will you reconcile your human rights with the cultural values of your host society?
- Are there safety considerations that you should be aware of?
- What are gender relations typically like in your host country?
- What is considered to be typical male and female social behavior in your host culture?
- What is the social perception of members of the LGBTQ+ community in your host country?
- What roles do transgender people play in your host culture?
Things to Consider While Abroad
Adapted from Diversity Abroad’s “Diversity & Inclusion Abroad Guide: LGBTQ+ Students Abroad”
- How will I keep myself safe while I’m abroad? Should I come out to my host family or my roommates?
- What are the cultural norms for dating and friendship in my host country?
- What kinds of LGBTQ+ resources are there in my host country? What kinds of communities or support networks exist?
- What is the LGBTQ+ population like in my host country? How large and visible is it? How do they represent themselves?
- What are the terms and definitions used in my host country to talk about LGBTQ+ issues?
Suggested Articles and Videos
- GoAbroad.com. Meaningful Travel Tips and Tales: LGBTQ Traveler’s Perspectives.
- Goralka, Robin. Nine Major Life Lessons I Learned Studying Abroad as an LGBT. Go Overseas, 8 August 2013.
- Peace Corps. Viewpoints: The LGBTQ Volunteer Experience.
- Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide.
- University of Minnesota. [Video Orientation for GLBT Students Studying Abroad.](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-a93xd7SxY&list=PLgTVvhJQ-fkLq6m1VuXw_z2c26q9EN7XT&index=3
- University of South Florida. LGBT Student Guide for Education Abroad.
- Global Gayz
- International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association
- National Center for Transgender Equality. “Issues, Travel.
- Chin, Kellie. Beyond Fresa y Chocolate: LGBTQ+ Culture in Havana. Unpacked: A Study Abroad Guide for Students like Me.
- Goralka, Robin. Five Biggest Fears of Studying Abroad as an LGBT. Go Overseas, 8 January, 2014.
- Kemp, Brandon. Queer in Beijing: CET Academic Programs.
- Vendell, Dominic. 10 Reasons Why LGBTQ Students Should Study Abroad. Carleton College.
- Colleges of the Fenway, Global Education Opportunities Center. Identities Abroad: Student Info.
- The Guardian. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights around the world.
- IFSA-Butler. Unpacked: A Study Abroad Guide for Students Like Me. “LGBTQ+.”
- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Returned Peace Corps Volunteers.
- National Association of Foreign Student Advisors (NAFSA). Education Abroad Bibliographies. “GLBTQ Students Abroad.”
- NAFSA. “Rainbow SIG: Study Abroad Students.”
- U.S. Department of State. LGBTI Travel Information.
- University of California, Davis: Interactive map. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual Resource Center: Study Abroad.
- University of Minnesota. LGBTQIA Students Abroad.