Studying abroad can be a life-changing experience for any student, but for those who identify as LGBTQIA+, there may be additional considerations to take into account. We want to ensure students are fully prepared for their study abroad experience so we have created this resource to help guide you. Here are some questions that LGBTQIA+ students should ask themselves before embarking on their study abroad journey:
- What is the legal and social climate in the country where I will be studying? Some countries have laws that discriminate against LGBTQIA+ individuals, and in some places, it may not be safe to be openly LGBTQIA+. Research the laws and cultural attitudes in the country you will be studying in, and consider whether it will be a safe and comfortable place for you to be.
- Are there LGBTQIA+ resources available at the host country where I will be studying? Will there be a support system in place for LGBTQIA+ students? It’s important to know what resources and support systems are available to you in your host country.
- Search online for LGBTQIA+ organizations in the host city.
- Contact the study abroad office or our Enrollment manager for recommendations.
- Connect with current or former study abroad students for their experiences.
- Utilize social media or LGBTQIA+ travel apps for information and connections.
- How will I handle language barriers? If you’re going to a country where you’re not fluent in the language, it might be harder to navigate LGBTQIA+ resources and social scenes. Understand there may be appropriate terms to describe someone who identifies as LGBTQIA+ in the country you are visiting.
- How will I handle culture shock? Will you feel comfortable with the new culture and its customs? Having friends and family to discuss your experience is key. Our staff is also committed to supporting you along every step of the way. This support system will help you talk about your day to day life navigating a new culture.
- Is it safe to openly express my identity as an LGBTQIA+ individual? The safety of openly expressing one’s LGBTQIA+ identity when studying abroad can vary depending on the host country’s cultural attitudes and laws regarding LGBTQIA+ rights. In some countries, LGBTQIA+ individuals may face discrimination, harassment, or even legal consequences. It is important to research the local cultural attitudes and laws regarding LGBTQIA+ rights before traveling and to take appropriate safety measures if necessary.
By taking the time to consider these questions before you go, you can ensure that your study abroad experience is as safe, comfortable, and enjoyable as possible.
For more information on any of these topics feel free to reach out to us via phone (480) 874-0100, on our contact us page, or follow us on Instagram @ibsabroad and send us a direct message! We would be more than happy to chat with you!