Diversity and Identity Abroad

Identities are intersectional, and you will soon incorporate “student abroad” as one more aspect of your identity. Before applying, we encourage you to consider how the many ways you see yourself as a member of multiple, diverse, intersecting communities will be reflected and experienced when you travel abroad.

In addition to learning about yourself and your place in the world, studying abroad means learning about your host country’s multifaceted society and culture. As you begin your journey, you may find that you are seen and understood by individuals from your host country in a completely new context from how you see yourself, or how you are seen here on campus, in Chicago, in your hometown, or elsewhere in the United States or your home country. Encounters with new worldviews and perspectives can foster productive intercultural dialogues and greater opportunities for learning, but they can also be surprising, challenging, or even deeply unsettling. These experiences can be growth-producing, but they can also be stressful, so we urge you to prepare yourself and to prioritize your mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

Regardless of how you identify, you are encouraged to learn about the cultural context of the communities among which you will live and study while abroad. The resources below are starting points for questions you may want to research about your study abroad location before you apply for your program, and certainly before you depart. For additional, location-specific information about your study abroad destination, feel free to make an appointment with your study abroad program’s coordinator, speak with staff at the Center for Identity + Inclusion, reach out to study abroad program alumni, seek out guidance from other affinity offices on campus, ask questions to faculty who teach and research in these locations, and find other information online to help you contextualize your multiple identities in your host country’s culture. UChicago is also a member of Diversity Abroad, which offers a wealth of information and resources (including scholarships!) designed for students from diverse economic, educational, ethnic, and social backgrounds.

  • Accessibility Abroad
    Students with disabilities can and should study abroad. Learn more about accessibility considerations and support resources for international travel.
  • First Generation Students Abroad
    First generation students can and do study abroad. Find out more about how to plan for study abroad, how to budget for your experience, and how study abroad can enhance your goals at UChicago and beyond.
  • Gender Abroad
    Students of all genders may encounter stereotypes and different standards for socially acceptable behaviors and gender roles. Find strategies for staying safe and helping your friends stay safe while reflecting on gender identities abroad.
  • LGBTQ Students Abroad
    For students identifying at any place along the gender and sexuality spectra, find ways to prepare yourself for a different culture vis-à-vis gender and sexual identity.
  • Race, Ethnicity, and Nationality Abroad
    It is important for students of every racial and ethnic identity—majority and minority—to reflect on how they (and their peers who may not share the same identity) may experience their identity and be perceived abroad. Find information about racial, ethnic, and nationality considerations abroad.
  • Religion and Spiritual Life Abroad
    Students should consider how their religious or spiritual beliefs and practices will be perceived abroad, as well as gain an understanding of how the majority and/or minority religious and spiritual beliefs of their host country influence daily life.