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Religion and Spirituality

Studying abroad can provide you the opportunity to not only experience a different culture, but to also examine the role of religion as a component of the cultural context of the host country. As a part of the study abroad process, you may find yourself reflecting on your own religious and spiritual identity and practices. This reflection can make for a richer experience as well as a better understanding of the host culture and your own. Also, when starting to research study abroad programs choices, you should consider the host country culture carefully and think about how any differential societal perception and norms may impact your experience.   Keep in mind that some cultures may have different views about religion, or certain religions, and so it is important that you do your research and be prepared before you study abroad.

When preparing to go abroad, consider the following questions:

  • Will you be part of a religious majority or a religious minority abroad?
  • If you're planning to practice your religion abroad, are there places of worship you can visit? If not, how will you plan to practice your religion?
  • How tolerant is your host country about religion and spirituality? How are atheists or agnostics perceived? Will it be safe for you to wear religious symbols and/or clothing?
  • Is there separation of church and state in your host country? Are there laws about religion?
  • If you have religious dietary restrictions, will they be accommodated in your host country?
  • If you are living in a homestay, are you open to living in a household with a different religious background than yours?
  • Are there any religious holidays that are celebrated as public events in your host country?
  • Are there any places of worship that you'll be able to visit, as part of your study abroad program or on your own? What do you need to know before visiting (such as dress code, etc.)?

Source: Brown University

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.

Campus Ministry invites students to reflect on their relationships with themselves, God, and others as they discern an ongoing response of commitment, conscience, and compassion.

What are some additional resources I can utilize?

General

DiversityAbroad provides preparation tips and strategies for questions about religious diversity abroad.

U.S. Department of State Department posts reports about religious freedom in various countries.

Worship location directories are a great first step to finding your faith abroad.  Just start with a simple internet search. 

Christianity

Christianity Today International is an international network of Christian ministries.

World Council of Churches represents a broad range from orthodox and protestant denominations.

Hinduism

Hinduism Today is a guide to Hindu organizations and resources worldwide, including temples and ashrams by country.

Islam

Islamic Finder is a directory of prayer times, Islamic organizations, and mosques worldwide.

Zabihah is a directory of halal restaurants and markets worldwide.

Judaism

Jewish Virtual Library posts a synagogues of the world directory.

KahalAbroad provides Jewish students studying abroad resources, tools, and connections they need to meaningfully engage with the Jewish community and deepen their Jewish identity.

World Union of Jewish Students is an umbrella organization, uniting and representing independent Jewish student associations working in over 50 countries.

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.

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