Information for LGBTQIA Students

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LGBTQIA life exists in every corner of the world, but the degree to which individuals are free to express their identity varies widely from country to country. As with other facets of the study abroad experience, being aware of cultural norms and laws is essential for a safe, productive international experience.

When considering a study abroad location, take time to ask program administrators questions about the local culture:

  • How conducive is the local host culture to outward expression of LGBTQIA sexuality?

  • Are there any culture-specific sexuality or gender issues that you need to be aware of?

  • How does the local culture respond to varied sexual identities and gender expressions?

  • Do local laws protect or prohibit specific gender expressions and sexual identities?

  • Is there a culture of violence or tolerance toward LGBTQIA individuals in the host country?

Knowing the culture of a region will not only help you select a study abroad program, it will also assist you in managing the inevitable culture shock that comes with each international experience.

For information, please take a look at the NAFSA: Association for International Educators Rainbow Special Interest Group (SIG).

Additional Information:

The Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) has the following advice: “As in any cross-cultural situation, it pays to observe, be sensitive to local customs, and express yourself appropriately and respectfully. If you come to the experience with your own sexual politics and a desire to actively challenge local cultural norms, that could complicate your interactions with people both inside and outside the classroom. Be true to yourself, but stay open to every learning opportunity.”

If you have any further questions, please contact the Office of International Programs by phone or e-mail through the links provided on the left.