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Office of International Programs

Your Identity Abroad

Your unique identities (i.e. race, ethnicity, gender and gender expression, socioeconomic class, sexual orientation, veteran status, physical ability, etc.) may feel heightened while abroad as you encounter cultural differences in the local community. Some of your identities may be less emphasized based on local norms too. 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.

We encourage you to utilize the resources on this page to help you navigate your identities while abroad so you can bring your full self to your study abroad experience equipped with cultural understanding. IP advisors are here to help you with your entire study abroad experience and if you would like to discuss any aspect of your identities please schedule a time to meet with us.

Be Yourself!

We encourage you to utilize the resources on this page to help you navigate your identities while abroad so you can bring your full self to your study abroad experience equipped with cultural understanding. IP advisors are here to help you with your entire study abroad experience and if you would like to discuss any aspect of your identities please schedule a time to meet with us.

International Programs Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

We believe global citizenship requires an understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion in local and global contexts. Our programs encourage and support critical cultural engagement so that our students can apply this understanding and carry it forward into their personal and professional lives. We celebrate the unique identities of all students so they can fully experience study abroad as their authentic selves. We design equitable policies and processes to increase access to education abroad, and create a welcoming environment that allows all those we engage with to be heard, valued, and respected. 

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.

Study Abroad Myths are just that myths. Take a look at some common myths versus reality and how to overcome them.

Ready to get started on your study abroad experience? Great! Start by completing the Study Abroad Pre-Advising Questionnaire and then schedule an Advising Session to meet with one of our advisors.

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. How can you be an ally for the other students 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. What can you do to blend in with your host culture and be respectful of others? Depending on your background, you may be tempted to respond to threats: how can you do this in a way that prioritizes everyone’s safety and avoids any escalation of violence? 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 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 too. Some semester programs even 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 costs but with planning and utilizing the resources below it does not need to become a financial burden. If you are a Pell Grant recipient look for semester programs that have Pell Grant match and consider applying for the Gilman Scholarship through the US Department of State. Creating and sticking to a budget for your time abroad can also make it more financially comfortable. Remember you can apply for a need-based scholarship with International Programs and program providers, many who offer scholarships for students from diverse identities.

It’s important to remember that cultural attitudes toward disabilities and accommodations abroad are different than those in the US and that 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. This will provide you an accommodation letter you may present to your host program upon arrival to request similar accommodations. Students with accommodations on campus should consult with their study abroad advisor to ensure similar accommodations abroad.

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 different 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.