- Why study abroad
- Things to consider as you plan
- Planning resources
- Region-specific information
- Traveling tips
Studying abroad can open up your world in ways you may never have thought possible. For students who identify with the LBGT community, studying abroad may simply require a bit of planning and a few questions as you choose a program, but WMU Study Abroad is here to help. In this section, you can browse through a vast array of planning resources.
Take advantage of the opportunity to study abroad while you’re in college; you’ll be glad you did!
- 10 Reasons Why LBGTQ Students Should Study Abroad
- One Woman’s Reflection: What I learned as an LGBT Student Studying Abroad
- Benefits of Studying Abroad: University of California, Merced, has compiled statistics from several studies that show how beneficial studying abroad can be for students
Openness: How open do you want to be about your identity?
If you go to a country that is more accepting than the U.S., you may feel comfortable being more free and open. On the other end of the spectrum, you could be in a host country where the religious beliefs and culture make you feel that you have to be more “closeted” in your identity than you are in the U.S. Consider these possibilities and ask yourself: How open do I want to be able to be?
If you are not currently open about your identity, the culture of a different country may make you feel more comfortable in coming out; make sure that you seek out a support network during this time.Do your research, and learn about your host country before you go.
- Climate/Culture: How accepting is the culture and community of individuals who identify as LGBT? What is considered appropriate male/female behavior within the host culture? Is the culture accepting of trans individuals?
- Relationships: What types of relationship-behavior is acceptable in your host country? This can even include hand-holding or association with LGBT individuals. Review the region-specific information below, as well as Culture-Crossing for information on country-specific cultural norms, such as eye contact, physical contact, and much more.
- Laws: Are there any specific laws regarding same-sex relationships or associations with LGBT individuals? Be aware of local legislation before selecting your site.
- Safety Concerns: Whether there are official laws regarding sexuality or not, is a particular destination going to pose a threat to your safety? Is the culture supportive of LGBT individuals, or are they targeted for ridicule or violence?
- The US State Dept. has a country by country guide of human rights practices, whether regulated by law or just an unwritten part of the local culture: (Section 6 of each country’s report will describe human rights practices regarding discrimination).
- Also, have an awareness of where the US embassies are located: Visit the US embassy online for a map of all US Embassy locations and other important travel information.
- Availability of Support Networks: are there local LGBT organizations you can connect with while you’re there? Leaving your personal support system of friends, family, and/or organizations in the US might be difficult. Seek out the availability of support networks before you go: Resources to help you find LGBT support organizations around the world (from Grand Valley State University).
- Housing Options: Are there LGBT-friendly host families available? Private rooms and/or individual bathrooms for transgender individuals? Be sure to discuss any housing concerns with your study abroad specialist well ahead of departure; specialists are here to help!
- Travel Documents: Some challenges are possible in cases of differing gender presentation and/or in midst of transitioning. See the Traveling Tips section for helpful resources on this topic.
Here you will find LOTS of links to helpful resources regarding country-specific laws, understanding culture, and other travel tips to help you plan your study abroad experience.
- International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans & Intersex Association
- State-Sponsored Homophobia Report and Gay & Lesbian Rights Maps, by region
- Worldwide map of LGBT rights across the globe
- Full report/overview of LGBT rights worldwide
- Culture-Crossing a user-created database of cross-cultural information of every country in the world. Provides information regarding cultural norms and customs, such as greeting style, gender issues, and even customs regarding eye contact and communication.
- U.S. Department of State
Country by country guides & info:
- U.S. Department of State: Country by Country breakdown of Human Rights Practices
- University of South Florida:Comprehensive guide, broken down country by country
- Finding a support network: The University of Michigan has compiled resources for finding a support network abroad, categorized by area
- Information sessions: an informal meeting in the study abroad office with peer advisors to go over the basics of study abroad and the application process.
- Walk-in hours for advising: for more specific information from study abroad specialists on specific regions or programs during the fall and spring semesters, by appointment only in the summer.
- A Student's guide to study abroad: a free comprehensive guide to study abroad with a section on LGBT resources
- Office of LGBT Student Services at WMU
- Office of Diversity & Inclusion at WMU
Here you will find a multitude of resources and information, broken down by the region of the world. You may want to utilize these to narrow down an area where you would like to study, or to help you prepare for your journey.
- Travel guides based on actual visits to most of the countries in Africa
- ILGA: Legality Chart
- South Africa: The Triangle Project
- Durban Lesbian and Gay Community Centre (Durban, South Africa)
Asia & The Middle East:
Latin America & Caribbean:
- Global Gays
- Netherlands: Study Abroad program focused on “International Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender”
- ILGA Europe
- US State Department: LGBTI Travel Information
Travel Tips for Transgender Travelers:
- National Center for Transgender Equality
- Transportation Security Administration
- US State Department’s Smart Traveler & Smart Traveler App: register for updates on travel warnings and information, and to help embassies, friends, and family to contact you in the event of an emergency
- NAFSA Rainbow Scholarship
- FEA Rainbow Scholarship: awarded to a deserving LGBTQI student who aims to participate in a high-quality, rigorous education abroad program
- Fund for Education Abroad
- IIE Travel Grants
- American Institute for Foreign Study, Diversity Scholarship: for students participating in an AIFS program
- CIEE Robert B. Bailey Scholarship: for use with CIEE programs
- William Jefferson Clinton Scholarship: for study at The American University in Dubai
- ISA Diversity Scholarship: for students studying abroad through an ISA program
- CEA Diversity Scholarship: for students going abroad through a CEA program
- IES Abroad Merit-Based Scholarship for Under-represented Students: for students going abroad through an IES program
- IES Abroad David Porter Diversity Scholarship: for students going abroad through an IES program
LGBT Scholarships: The following are private scholarships intended for LGBT students. They are not specific to study abroad, however, so you should check with each one individually to determine if the funds can be applied toward study abroad programs.
- Gamma Mu Foundation Scholarships: for Gay men enrolling or enrolled in an accredited college or university.
- Point Foundation: for undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate students who are marginalized because of their sexual orientation or gender identity
- Pride Foundation: a variety of scholarships for LGBTQ students and students of LGBTQ parents
- Davis-Putter Scholarship: for students who have actively participated in struggles for civil rights, economic justice, international solidarity, or other progressive issues.
- Campus Pride: National Scholarship Database for LGBT students.
- Scholarship search engine and additional resources: for LGBTQ students from Affordable Colleges Online.
Adapted from the websites of University of Minnesota (http://www.umabroad.umn.edu/students/identity/) Northwestern University (http://www.northwestern.edu/studyabroad/resources/online-guide/identity-...), University of Michigan (http://www.internationalcenter.umich.edu/swt/diversity/lgbt.html), and NAFSA’s Rainbow SIG (http://www.rainbowsig.org). Visit their websites for more information.