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As a student going abroad, it's important to consider your host country’s cultural attitude towards gender identity. No matter where you go in the world, it's likely gender roles and cultural norms will be different than what you're used to experiencing in the U.S. or your home country. Since your gender will be viewed through the cultural expectation of your host country, you may feel uncomfortable or that you're being treated differently at times. It’s important to consider how you would handle encountering these differences in your host culture. You may face a range of challenges or issues. Some important things to learn prior to departure are dating, gender discrimination, and women’s safety. Also, when starting to research study abroad programs choices, you should consider the host country's culture. Carefully think about how any differential societal perception and norms may impact your experience.

Questions to ask about your host culture

  • What's the attitude towards gender in my host country?
  • How do men treat women in my host country?
  • What are considered typical gender roles in my host society?
  • What are the societal perceptions and expectations for men, women and transgender individuals in my host country?
  • What are the gender stereotypes of Americans in my host country?
  • Are there differences in political and social power based on gender?
  • How do my personal values compare with my host country’s attitudes about socially accepted gender roles?

What resources are available at Loyola?

Your Loyola Study Abroad Advisor can help you find more information about the country you plan to go to and connect you with other Loyola students who have studied in that country before. Additionally, program evaluations available in the office are a good way to learn what former students have to say about your host country and what you may encounter abroad.

Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs facilitates intentional reflection of the intersections of identities and critical social analysis of systems of privilege and oppression, seeking to enhance the experience of all members of the Loyola community by cultivating culturally competent agents of social change.  

Coordinated Community Response Team brings together students, staff and faculty to create a campus culture where gender-based violence of any kind, specifically domestic/dating violence, sexual misconduct and stalking is not tolerated. They are committed to education, training, increased accessibility to services, and promotion of accountability and justice to make our diverse campus community is safer and more supportive of survivors.

What are some additional resources I can utilize?

Advice for Women Travelers is provided by the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office and lists a number of tips for women travelers.

Amnesty International provides resources to understand gender and sexual orientation discrimination and issues in the world.

Culture Shock is a series of books is useful to aid in understanding gender issues in your host country.

Greenheart Travel has a post where a transgender student who studied abroad in Japan shares his story.

Her Own Way: A Woman's Safe Travel Guide provides information about security, packing, culture shock and more in this Government of Canada resource for women travelers.

JourneyWoman is an online travel resource for women.

Pathways to Safety International offers resources to assist American citizens and legal permanent residents who are sexually assaulted in a foreign country.

National Center for Transgender Equality provides considerations for transgender people when travelling.

Sexual Harassment And Prevention In College Students Studying Abroad is a resource provided by Safety Abroad First - Educational Travel Information that  explores how women can minimize their risk of being sexually harassed while traveling abroad.

Trans Respect versus Transphobia Worldwide posts country-specific guides detailing the human-rights situation of trans and gender-diverse people.

Transgender Passengers resources are posted by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration.

Women Travelers is an online resource provided by the U.S. Department of State.

Want to find out more about possible funding opportunities? Check out our list of Scholarships for more resources on a variety of ways to help cut down the cost of study abroad.

Carla Ronger SP17 Rome