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Identities Abroad


The student experience

Pictures of Beppu, Japan and Australia

Preparing for identity considerations abroad is an important part of any study abroad journey. Take time to learn about the host country or city of your program, including how different aspects of your identity might be perceived in another cultural context.

Please see below for helpful resources in planning for your time abroad and your identities. If you have further questions or suggestions, please contact a member of the Education Abroad staff.

General Identity Resources:

University of Wyoming students with disabilities participate in study abroad programs around the world; the key to a successful experience is planning. Understand, however, that attitudes and perceptions about accessibility and accommodation for students with emotional, mental, learning or physical disabilities may vary at different program sites and locations.

Students registered with University Disability Support Services (DSS) who are eligible for on-campus accommodations are also eligible for accommodations abroad when it can be arranged.

Accessibility Resources, Guides and Personal Stories

One of the more memorable and enjoyable experiences for students who study abroad is the ability to discover a diverse and unique array of food. For students with dietary restrictions based on health, lifestyle, or religion, mindful planning and preparation can allow you to engage in these same experiences. 

Resources, Guides and Personal Stories

  • Medical Dietary Restrictions:
    • IES Abroad: tips from a woman with Type 1 diabetes and how she stays safe and healthy while studying abroad
    • CeliacTravel: travel tips to maintain a gluten-free diet while abroad
  • Religious Dietary Restrictions:
    • Zabihah: the world’s largest guide to Halal restaurants and markets around the world
    • Kashrut: a kosher travel guide organized by country
  • Vegetarian & Vegan Dietary Restrictions:

Not having traveled does not always mean that you will have greater difficulty on study abroad than more experienced participants.  A first-time traveler who is organized, open-minded, and adaptable often has a better time, learns more, and is more of an asset to the group than an unprepared or irresponsible or inflexible person, regardless of their prior experiences.

Please see our First Time Traveler’s page for tips and resources. 

Whether you’ve traveled before or this is your first time abroad, it’s important to consider your host country’s cultural attitude towards gender identity. Gender roles abroad may differ from those in the U.S. You may choose not to behave in exactly the same ways as local men and women do; however, it is important that you educate yourself about cultural gender roles within your host community in order to make sensitive choices about how you will behave while abroad and to understand how your personal views and opinions may be interpreted by your host culture.

Resources, Guides and Personal Stories

*In this section, we refer primarily, but not exclusively, to cisgender-identified women and men, as transgender-identified individuals or gender-queer individuals may have additional considerations—see the LGBTQIA Students Abroad section for additional resources.

Paris, france photos with Eiffel Tower

Each year degree-seeking international students studying at the University of Wyoming participate in our education abroad programs. Some students choose to go back to their home country, while others choose to explore another part of the world.

If you choose to study abroad here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Research and apply to programs early. 
  • Speak to an Education Abroad advisor as you consider programs
  • Communicate with your International Students and Scholars (ISS) advisor as soon as you have picked a program. They can discuss how studying abroad will affect your F-1/J-1 visa status and the proper documents and signatures necessary to re-enter the U.S. 
  • Student visa requirements vary by country, so you will want to explore application requirements well in advance of the program. You may need to apply for “transit visas” to pass through a country on the way to your final destination. Carefully think through travel routes to get to your study abroad destination

It is important to be aware of the cultural, legal and social issues regarding sexual orientation and gender identity abroad and how they could affect interactions with people in your host country.

In order to have a rewarding and safe experience, you will benefit from thinking about your own sexual orientation and gender identities, and from researching the LGBTQ+ climate of the country you will be visiting.

Educate yourself about specific laws pertaining to sexual behavior, orientation and/or gender expression. When doing your research, try to find out about:

  • The age of consent in the country and laws related to sexual behavior
  • Restrictions on freedom of association or expression for LGBTQ people

Resources, Guides and Personal Stories

Racial and ethnic relations vary by culture, meaning that while you’re abroad, you may be part of an ethnic minority or majority for the first time in your life or have to think about your identity in a new way.

For instance, if you’re visiting a country where you have ethnic or racial roots, you may have to consider the local norms and expectations in ways that other students with different backgrounds may not. Remember that in countries with ethnic or racial conflicts, you may be inadvertently identified with one group or another simply based on your appearance. On the other hand, perhaps you’ll be considered American first, and your ethnic or racial identity will be secondary.

Resources, Guides and Personal Stories: 

One exciting and interesting aspect about experiencing another culture is developing a deeper understanding of religious traditions and beliefs that differ from our own. If you are planning to practice your religion abroad, you’ll want to explore what degree of religious tolerance there is in your host country. Will it be safe for you to wear religious symbols and/or clothing? How are atheists perceived?

Resources, Guides and Personal Stories: 

  • IES Abroad's Religion & Spirituality Resource page offers a collection of student perspectives about diversity and gender abroad and dietary resources.
  • Look at international news sources like The Economist or BBC Religion and Ethics to get a sense of current political and societal issues in your host country.
  • On the Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures Project, explore religious change and its impact on societies around the world through topics such as how religious beliefs shape social values and political attitudes, trends in religious affiliation, and restrictions on the practice of religion.
  • Northwestern's page on resources for specific Religious & Spiritual groups abroad
  • Use this interactive map to see how your identity may interact with those in your host country. This map displays the largest religious group in each country.