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Office of International Programs

Your Identity Abroad

The resources on this page can help you navigate your identities while abroad so you can bring your full self to your study abroad experience. IP advisors are Rollins Safe Zone trained, and are here to help you with your entire study abroad experience. If you would like to discuss any aspect of your identities, please schedule a time to meet with us.

Be Yourself!

The resources on this page can help you navigate your identities while abroad so you can bring your full self to your study abroad experience. IP advisors are Rollins Safe Zone trained, and are here to help you with your entire study abroad experience. If you would like to discuss any aspect of your identities, please schedule a time to meet with us.

At Rollins, we believe study abroad is for everyone! But we know it can feel like there are BIG barriers to study abroad. Study Abroad Myths are just that -- myths. Take a look at common myths versus reality and how to overcome them.   

Breaking Down Barriers and Myths 

Study abroad should not and does not pose a barrier to successful degree completion. Instead, participating in study abroad can be an important part of your college experience and actually help you stay on track for graduation, potentially improve your GPA, and find employment after graduation with the valuable skills you’ll gain because of your experience. Read more here for all the advantages study abroad can equip you with for finishing your college experience and entering the professional job market. 

Resources for Your Identities

Your unique identities (i.e. race, ethnicity, gender and gender expression, socioeconomic class, sexual orientation, veteran status, physical ability, etc.) may feel heightened or be less emphasized while abroad as you encounter cultural differences and norms in the local communities. Cultural attitudes of racism, diversity, and inclusion vary globally and you may find yourself in the minority or in the majority, which could be vastly different from your regular lived experience. Read on for tips and resources than can help support you while abroad. 

Student health and safety are of primary importance while abroad and we remind you that attitudes of appropriate gender roles including acceptable attire, expected behavior, friendships, romantic relationships, and sexual harassment vary around the world compared to the US. Research and understand the cultural norms for women in the country of your program and utilize the resources below.

Believe it or not, men are an under-represented group in study abroad! You may be the only man, or one of just a few men on your program. While men may be at a lower risk for certain forms of violence abroad, including sexual violence, you might be seen as a target for theft or other crimes. You might also be able to be an ally for the other students on your program who may encounter more increased risks or harassment. Cultural attitudes and norms around masculinity vary widely: use this opportunity to gain new perspectives and reflect on your own identity. 

If you identify as LGBTQIA+ you may want to consider cultural views and practices of a country particularly in regard to your safety. Transgender and gender non-conforming students with current housing accommodations on campus should consult with their study abroad advisor to ensure similar accommodation abroad. The resources below provide useful information on travel as well as applicable laws and attitudes toward LGBTQIA+ persons around the world.

Student Athletes can absolutely participate in study abroad, including a semester abroad. Your NCAA student athlete eligibility is not affected, and you retain your athletic scholarships during a semester abroad. Some semester programs have access to facilities for you to train and stay in top condition. Plan early with your coach to ensure your study abroad goals fit well into your athletic and academic commitments. 

You should  be aware of common stereotypes about Americans abroad and should research and understand the historical, political, and cultural relationship between the US and your host country. This includes recognizing contemporary and historical issues of power and privilege. This is particularly true for White (and White presenting) American students studying abroad in countries where they may be in the minority, potentially for the first time. Recognize and be willing to accept that your view of the world is just one among many valid views by listening and suspending judgment of the host culture.

Since the US is a major global power closely followed by the rest of the world, make sure to stay up to date on US current and political events because you will most likely be asked to share your opinion on these matters by locals.

It’s important to understand that concepts of racism, diversity, and inclusion vary from culture to culture and may differ from that of the US. Students who identify as Black, Indigenous, or Person of Color may encounter different attitudes toward their outwardly perceived racial and/or ethnic identity, some welcome and some familiar, from their host culture. Use the resources below to gain insights, know what to expect, and prepare for your time abroad. 

If you are a First Generation student (the first in your family to attain a bachelor’s degree) you may also be the first in your family to pursue a global experience. Your family may have concerns about travel safety, costs, academics, or the benefits of study abroad. Share the resources below with your family as well as those on this page for Financial Need and any other aspects of your identity. During your study abroad advising session, your family member(s) can also join to ask any questions they may have.

Study abroad does come with some additional costs, but with planning, thoughtful choices and good budgeting, it does not need to become a financial burden. Rollins Approved Semester Program are designed to be financially accessible to most students and International Programs has need-based scholarships for these programs and also has need-based scholarships to off-set costs for Summer Approved and Field Study Programs. There are also scholarships available through program providers and other external sources. Advisors in IP can help you explore programs and scholarships to find an opportunity that aligns with your financial reality. 


Cultural attitudes toward disabilities and accommodations abroad may be different than those in the US, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is not enforced outside of the US. If you require accommodations for physical or mental health needs, as well as academic accommodations, please register with the Rollins Office of Accessibility Services if you have not already done so. Students with accommodations on campus should consult with an advisor in IP to ensure similar accommodations abroad. 

For some students, studying abroad opens up new experiences that can be rewarding and refreshing to those who feel comfortable in familiar settings. For others, the challenges of adapting to different schedules, cultural norms, and new people and places can be daunting. Neurodiverse students are encouraged to speak with an IP advisor or with program alumni to learn what to expect. Some accommodations or medications that are familiar in the U.S. are less common abroad or may not be feasibleour advisors can help you find the right program for you! 

Students with Veteran status and dependents of veterans may be able to utilize VA benefits to help fund their study abroad. Please consult with the Rollins Financial Aid Office to confirm your benefits.

Non-traditional Students may have responsibilities such as family or professional commitments that differ from other student groups. These and other factors are important to consider when planning for study abroad but should not prevent you from a rich and rewarding study abroad experience.