Identities Abroad

As you begin applying to study abroad, consider your various personal identities.  Whether you are a first time traveler, or an adult learner, or identify as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, these identities matter when traveling and preparing for your study abroad experience.  Please explore the resources below as you consider your study abroad options.

What personal identities matter to you? Reference this Social Identity Wheel as you reflect on your personal identities, and how they may impact your experience abroad. Research your host country and how your various identities may be perceived. 

As always, the OIP is here to support you and guide you through the process.  Do not hesitate to contact us directly with any specific questions or considerations.  These resources are just the start.

As a first generation college student, study abroad may be unfamiliar to you and your support system. The OIP is here to help you and your family navigate this experience from understanding the finances, to talking with your family about why you want to study abroad. 

To start, here are some questions to consider while you explore your study abroad options and discuss with your support system:

  • How will I talk about study abroad with my family and support system? How should I share the benefits of study abroad?
  • How will I finance this experience? 
  • What sort of support does the program offer for students abroad?
  • Consider the program length and location when exploring your options.
  • How will this experience fit into your academic schedule? 


How One First-Gen Student Prepared To Study Abroad 

IES: First Generation Resources 

Cultures vary country to country, and their understanding and views on race and ethnicities vary as well. A student's racial and ethnic identity may be perceived differently than typically viewed in the United States.  You may now identify as a member of the majority or minority, adjusting to a new cultural context.  Understanding the views and history of race in your host country is key when planning study abroad.

To start, consider this question: how will my personal racial or ethnic identity shape my experience abroad? 

  • How is my race/ethnicity perceived in my host country? Are there certain stereotypes associated with my race/ethnicity?
  • What is the history of racial or ethnic tensions in my host country?
  • Will I be treated the same or differently than I am in the US? Will I be considered a "minority/majority" for the first time?
  • What discriminatory laws are in place? What protections are offered in the host country and through the study abroad program?
  • Research and bookmark resources that offer advice and personal narratives specific to you. 


Top 10 Reasons for African Americans to Study Abroad

Traveling with Natural Hair

Black and Studying Abroad: Tips for Maintaining Your Identity 

Black & Abroad

Minority & Students of Color Abroad: Diversity Abroad

All Abroad

If you identify as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, we are glad you are here to browse these resources, and consider how your personal identities may impact your study abroad experience.  Are there specific programs or countries that offer friendly LGBTQIA+ policies and communities? How does a student identify those programs? To start, consider reviewing the following resources and questions as you begin researching your study abroad options.  As always, the OIP is here to help you navigate this experience.

Some questions to consider as you choose your host country:

  • What is the country's specific stance on LGBTQ rights? 
  • Do members of the LGBTQ community feel comfortable to be publicly "out" in this specific society?
  • What resources does my program or host institution offer for members of the LGBTQ community? 
  • Are there countries that identify as LGBTQ friendly?


Maps - Sexual Orientation Laws

IES: LGBTQ+ & Ally Resources

9 Major Lessons I Learned Studying Abroad as an LGBT

Best Countries for LGBTIQ+ Study Abroad 

Can I get a Passport with My Current Gender?

Rainbow Special Interest Group: Scholarship

LGBTQ Guide to Travel Safely 

Just as cultures differ, so do disability accommodations and perceptions. Attitudes and laws surrounding disabilities will vary depending on your host country and it is important you are aware of their disability rights. The key for any study abroad participant is flexibility. Students are encouraged to communicate their needs and consider alternative ways to meet them.  To start, consider researching the climate for people with disabilities in the countries you are interested in studying abroad. The OIP staff are here to help you in navigating this process.  After reviewing these resources, consult the OIP when determining your decision.


Mobility International USA (MIUSA)

Preparations for Travel with Mental Health Conditions 

Handling Mental Health While Abroad

Perhaps you have traveled abroad as an active service member, and you'd like to study abroad and continue your cross cultural engagements.  We are happy you are here!

To start, it is important to consider your VA benefits.  Although students can utilize Veteran’s Benefits (State and/or Federal) to help fund their study abroad program, please be aware that Veteran’s Benefits will not cover all of your study abroad expenses, and not all study abroad programs are eligible for VA benefits. It will all depend on a combination of the type of education abroad program, the type of VA benefits the student is receiving, and the academic requirements.


Gilman-McCain Scholarship 

Post-9/11 GI Bill: Study Abroad Program

If this is your first time traveling, especially abroad, know you are not alone.  Framingham State University support many students on their first traveling experience.  The OIP and your program are here to support you!  Please utilize the following questions and resources to guide you through the process.  When in doubt, ask!

  • How do I obtain a passport?
  • What's a visa and do I need one?
  • Do I secure my own airline flight?
  • What do I pack?
  • How do I access funds while I am abroad?


6 Tips for First-Time Travelers 

When traveling and studying abroad, it is important to understand the host country's attitude and policies towards gender.  The role gender plays in the United States tends to be very different than most countries, and regardless of your personal identity, these policies and views may impact your experience abroad. Many women travel safely each year without incident.  However, women travelers are more likely to be affected by religious and cultural beliefs of the foreign countries they visit.  It is important you research your host country before traveling abroad and are aware of the role gender plays in their society.  

Questions to consider when exploring your options:

  • What are the local attitudes towards gender? 
  • Are men and women treated differently?
  • How are men and women expected to behavior? Expected to wear?
  • Are there policies and/or laws in place pertaining to gender?


U.S. State Department Women Travelers 

Her Own Way - Canadian travel guide for women

Guide for Women Travelers

Adult learners, typically students 25 years of age or older, participate in study abroad programs, both short and long term.  Adult learners may have additional considerations when studying abroad, for instance a full-time job or caregiver responsibilities.  During advising sessions, voice your questions and concerns, and the OIP and your program abroad will help you navigate the process.

Questions to consider:

  • What housing options are available? What adjustments can you make, if needed, to be comfortable in your housing?


Must Ask Questions for Adult Learners Traveling Abroad

Study Abroad for Adults - Yes, It's a Real Thing