Not only can study abroad help you experience a new culture, it can also be an exciting time for self-reflection and personal discovery. For LGBTQIA+ students, this process can pose opportunities as well as challenges. In the U.S., perceptions of non-traditional relationships vary across the country. In a similar same way, non-traditional relationships are perceived differently in foreign countries. When researching study abroad programs, it is important to keep in mind the cultural values, social customs, and laws in potential host countries. Be sure to start early in identifying resources in the host country that are devoted to its LGBTQIA+ populations. Keep in mind that the more you know about the country's social customs and policies, the better prepared you will be to address these topics while abroad.
As you research program options, you may want to reflect on these questions:
- Does your right to be LGBTQIA+ in the U.S. conflict with your host country's religious or cultural values and traditions?
- How will you reconcile your human rights with the cultural values of your host society?
- Are there safety considerations that you should be aware of?
- What are gender relations in the host culture?
- What is considered typical male and female social behavior in the host culture?
- What is the social perception of members of the LGBTQIA+ community?
- What roles do trans people play in the host culture?
- Does your study abroad program offer LGBTQIA+ friendly housing?
- Does your study abroad program discuss LGBTQIA+ considerations during their orientation?
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.
What are some additional resources I can utilize?
Amnesty International provides resources to understand gender and sexual orientation discrimination and issues in the world.
Diversity Abroad is an organization that provides resources on diversity abroad, including specific materials for LGBTQIA students.
Greenheart Travel has a post where a transgender student who studied abroad in Japan shares his story.
GlobalGayz is a gay-owned charitable travel and culture website focused on les-bi-gay-trans life in countries around the world.
International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and intersex Association is a worldwide federation campaigning for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex human rights who posts a guide to sexual orientation laws in the world.
LGBTI Travelers is a resource site provided by the U.S. Department of State.
NAFSA Rainbow Special Interest Group counsels study abroad students who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. Check out their biannual newsletter for great articles about LGBTQ+ topics abroad!
National Center for Transgender Equality provides information for transgender people when travelling.
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.