Goucher College is committed to providing study abroad programs that meet the needs and interests of our diverse population of students. The Office of International Studies now partners with Diversity Abroad, and we offer confidential advising for students who have questions and concerns about study abroad relating to personal identity.  We encourage all students to visit the following sites and speak with an OIS advisor to learn more about personal identity and study abroad.  The best thing you can do if you're concerned about your own diversity while studying abroad is to research your host country and familiarize yourself with the country's culture, history, and laws.

Racial and Ethnic Concerns:  Racism, unfortunately, is something that anyone may encounter all around the world.  However, this should not prevent anyone from going abroad.  Remember, different attitudes exist wherever you go regardless of your ethnic or racial background.  Do your research on your host country. 

Religion Abroad: Religion is an important part of culture. While abroad, you may encounter people of various religious and non-religious backgrounds. It is important to understand your beliefs and those of your future host country to identify any opportunities or challenges that may arise during your time abroad. Consider the local religion as a lens to the local culture. Perhaps you can attend a worship service to give insight into the community even if you don't feel a religious affiliation.  Be sure you know the local laws in regard to religion and demonstrate respect to wear appropriate attire and to icons.  If you're unsure what is appropriate be sure to ask a cultural mentor.  Please see a list of resources below to help locate resources.  

Being Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Transgendered Abroad:  Be aware that the places you visit can be more or less liberal than what you are used to at home. Laws and attitudes toward sexual orientation and different lifestyles vary from country to country. For example, in some countries, it is a serious crime to be gay; however, in the Netherlands, gay marriage is legal. The best thing you can do is to thoroughly research your host country before leaving. 

Students with Physical or Learning Differences: In the wise words of Jennifer from the University of Minnesota, "Don't expect anything, just be prepared to react to everything." Some countries or host universities will not recognize learning or physical differences nor have the capacity to accomodate them as well as U.S. universities - however, some will. Rather than look at challenges to mobility or learning as a loss of independence, try to see challenges as you responding to and adapting to the host culture. Don't forget that you are studying abroad to experience something different.  

Useful Resources:

American Identity Abroad


LGBTQ Study Abroad Resources PowerPoint

NAFSA Rainbow SIG Student Resource: LGBT Issues Abroad

U.S. Department of State LGBT Travel Information

Country-by-Country search of LGBT issues: International Gay and Lesbian Association

LGBT Student Guide for Education Abroad

First hand journals pertaining to disability abroad experiences: Mobility International USA

Religious Diversity Abroad

International Humanist and Ethical Union

International Religious Freedom - U.S. State Department Resource

The Pluralism Project