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 LGBTQIA+ 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 LGBTQIA+ 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 LGBTQIA+ resources are there in my host country? What kinds of communities or support networks exist?
- What is the LGBTQIA+ 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 LGBTQIA+ issues?
- Carroll, Laura. How to Pick Where to Study Abroad as an LGBTQIA+ Student. Go Overseas, 2 July 2020.
- CIS. It’s National Coming Out Day! A Master Post on LGBTQIA+ Study Abroad Resources. 11 October 2018.
- Equaldex: The Collaborative LGBTQ Knowledge Base.
- Global Gayz
- GoAbroad.com. Meaningful Travel Tips and Tales: LGBTQ Traveler’s Perspectives.
- International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association
- National Center for Transgender Equality. “Issues, Travel.”
- Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide.
Trigger warning: one of the main foci of this organization and their website is to monitor and report on murder rates of gender-diverse people in different countries around the world, and that information is displayed prominently on the site. This site also contains information regarding discrimination, violence, and assault perpetrated against trans and gender-diverse individuals.
- Colleges of the Fenway, Global Education Opportunities Center. Identities Abroad: Student Info.
- The Guardian. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights around the world.
- IES Abroad: LGBTQ+ & Ally Resources.
- Peace Corps. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Returned Peace Corps Volunteers.
- Peace Corps. Viewpoints: The LGBTQ Volunteer Experience.
- U.S. Department of State. LGBTI Travel Information.
- University of California, Davis. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual Resource Center: Study Abroad. (Interactive map)
- University of Minnesota. LGBTQIA Students Abroad.
- University of Washington. LGBTQ Students.
- Vendell, Dominic. 10 Reasons Why LGBTQ Students Should Study Abroad. Carleton College.
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