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 my right to be LGBTQIA+ in the U.S. conflict with the religious or cultural values and traditions of my host country?
  • How will I reconcile my human rights with the cultural values of my host society?
  • Are there safety considerations that I should be aware of?
  • What are gender relations typically like in my host country?
  • What is considered to be typical male and female social behavior in my host culture?
  • What is the social perception of members of the LGBTQIA+ community in my host country?
  • What roles do transgender people play in my 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?

Highlighted Resources

Additional Resources


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