Study abroad offers you the unique and exciting opportunity to learn about and interact with people of different cultures, backgrounds, and perspectives. In most cases, your interaction with host nationals will be among the most rewarding aspects of your experience abroad.
In some situations, however, your race, ethnicity or other identity anchors may be read or interpreted differently than you are accustomed to in the U.S. You may also encounter different cultural norms related to race and minority status, where racism and other forms of discrimination are performed, viewed, and addressed differently than you are used to.
You may find that your racial or ethnic identity is seen in a new way. Understanding how cultural differences can impact perceptions of race, ethnicity, and identity in an international context is an important component of your preparation to study abroad. As preparation for these potential experiences, we encourage you to chat with your advisers on campus and also explore the following resources.
Resources, Guides and Personal Stories
- DiversityAbroad.com offers discussion forums, destination guides, student blogs and a funding directory to assist students of diverse backgrounds.
- IES Abroad – Race, Ethnicity, & Nationality Resources includes student blogs, videos and articles related to navigating race and ethnicity when traveling abroad. Also includes country-specific guides.
- Diversity Issues in Study Abroad is a collection of Brown University student perspectives about diversity, identity and discrimination abroad.
- ALLABROAD.us is a comprehensive site for students interested in diversity issues abroad. The site also provides specific advice for African Americans, Asian and Pacific Islander Americans, Hispanic and Latino Americans and Native Americans.
- Study Abroad Matters: Top 10 Reasons for African American Students to Study Abroad addresses the specific benefits to African American students of studying in another country.
- I Was a Student of Color Who Studied Abroad. Here Are 4 Questions I Wish I Had Asked Before I Left
- Kinky Gazpacho: Life, Love & Spain by Lori L. Tharps is a travel memoir that tells the story of a young Black woman’s experiences living in and falling in love with Spain, all while grappling with attitudes and treatment towards her racial identity in the U.S. and abroad.
OMAD study abroad programs
If you want to study the topic of diversity and identity abroad, the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity (OMAD) offers programs that focus on these topics.
Optional orientation: Racial Identity When Studying Abroad
Based on feedback from students, we have developed the module “Racial Identity When Studying Abroad”. We hope to give study abroad students the opportunity to both consider and reflect on experiences such as encountering racial stereotypes, developing support systems, and understanding identity. Students, alumni, and panelists will break into small groups to discuss the complexities of race and identity through the lens of studying abroad. All past and future study abroad students are welcome to attend.
For more information and to sign up for the next session.