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Identity & Diversity Abroad

We think every member of UNC-Greensboro's diverse student population should go abroad! We're happy to work with each student to find a program that works for them, and are aware that some of our students may have different considerations to keep in mind. We are proud members of both Diversity Abroad and ISEP, so we have highlighted some of their key resources, along with others, to help you plan. Please don't hesitate to ask an advisor for more information/resources about your specific concerns.

The BIG 8 (+) of Identity:

Identity -Big 8

Most students go into their study abroad experience prepared to learn about other countries and cultures, but you might be surprised how much it leads you to learn about yourself!

Different surroundings prompt us to see ourselves with new eyes, and consider our identity in ways we may not have before. Other cultures will have their own views of race, disabilities, sexuality, religion, gender, and other components of our identities. While abroad, you may find yourself a minority for the first time, or face different discriminations than at home. 

It's important to consider how your identity may be viewed while abroad, so here are some resources based on the "Big 8" model of identities to help you get started.


Culture/National IdentityAll of our students will navigate a new culture while abroad, so the following resources can help:
- Check out specific student stories on ISEP's Voices Blog, or search for topics on their main Blog page. 
- Read up on different cultures in ISEP's Country Handbooks.
- Make a plan to Cope with Culture Shock.
- Prepare to Engage in Challenging Conversations while abroad.
- Think about how to Deal with Stereotypes while abroad. 

AgeThere's no such thing as too old to study abroad--just ask past participant, Vickie! Adult students have all the same opportunities available to them, even if they may have different considerations to keep in mind while choosing a program. We have many short-term options, but we can and do send our adult students abroad for a full semester or even year, if it works for them.
- Watch Vickie's Video [link to video coming soon!]
- Consider some Questions for Adult Students

 AbilityYes, you can absolutely go abroad if you have disabilities, and we're happy to help you plan your program. We know that not all students can access our office, so please feel free to request that an advisor meet you on the first floor, or even at a different location. 
- Get started with some Questions and Tips for students with Disabilities. 
- Continue planning with Mobility International USA's wealth of information about going abroad, including their Resource Library that will allow you to search by destination, disability, and more. 

Class/Socioeconomic StatusThe majority of our students don't have a passport before beginning the study abroad process, and for some, it may even be their first time on an airplane. Whether its due to finances or background, studying abroad might not be part of your family culture, but you can set a new trend!
- Consider what it means to be a First Generation Student abroad
- Prepare to be a Student on a Budget Abroad 
- Check out why one ISEP Blogger says, "I Could Afford Studying Abroad and So Can You"

Race/EthnicityMany students who are used to being classified by their ethnicity in the U.S. are surprised to find that once abroad, they are classified first and foremost as an American, which can lead to a bit of an identity crisis. Adding to that, cultural norms, stereotypes, and even exposure to minorities vary widely country to country.  Here are some ways to investigate your racial or ethnic identity abroad:
- Check out information for Students of Color Abroad.
- Read individual student stories by searching ISEP's blog (use the search icon in the upper right corner)
- Consider Tips for Heritage Seekers going abroad.
>> Come to a "Brown & Abroad" workshop, hosted by IPC. No matter where you are in the process, even if you're not sure you'll go abroad, you're invited to these student-led conversations where you'll hear about their experiences as minorities abroad. Discussion topics vary, but include everything from how to get your family on board, to tips on hair care. There's always a lively Q&A! Workshops are held each April & November.

Gender Did you know the majority of study abroad participants are female? We hope to encourage more males to go abroad, but also prepare all students for how their gender may impact them abroad--including the very different expectations they may face in other countries.
- Check out information meant for Women Going Abroad.
- Read this Open Letter to Men who Don't Think Study Abroad is for Them, on
(Note: Transgender and Gender nonconforming resources are included in the Sexual Orientation section below)

ReligionWhether you practice a religion or not, you may be surprised by the role of religion in other countries. It's helpful to prepare yourself for the different belief systems you might encounter, or to consider how you might practice your own beliefs abroad.
- Think about what Religious Diversity might mean in other countries. 
- Read one student's experience with Faith as a Global Citizen.

Sexual OrientationAcceptance and attitudes towards sexuality and gender expression can vary widely country to country. Some students find their time abroad allows them to express themselves in way they weren't able at home, while others find themselves in more restrictive cultures. Luckily, there are lots of resources to help you plan.
- Start considering questions for LGBTQ+ Students Abroad.
- Check out GoAbroad's comprehensive LGBTQ Travel Guide.
- Read travel information from the National Center for Transgender Equality.
>> Come to IPC's "LGBTQ+ Abroad" Meetup. No matter how you identify, you can hear about the experiences of our LGBTQ+ students and ask them all your burning questions about going abroad. Held each semester, in April & November. See a recording of the Spring 2020 LGBTQ+ & Abroad session here!



Below are some further resources for other student concerns that might not be part of the "Big 8", but may still impact your time abroad. If you are part of a population we haven't included here, be sure to let us know so we can update our information!
  • Athletes: With busy training schedules, it can be challenging to fit study abroad in, but it's not impossible! Read one student's advice for How to Study Abroad as a College Athlete, and talk to your coaches about your desire to go abroad.
  • Mental Health: Going abroad is inherently stressful and can pose challenges for Managing Mental Health While Abroad, however, if you plan ahead, it doesn't have to be a barrier. Our international health insurance, GeoBlue, covers mental health care abroad, and provides you with additional resources once enrolled. You can also connect with UNCG's Counseling Center before going abroad. 
  • Non-US citizens: Just because you may not hold a U.S. passport or are already studying abroad, it doesn't mean you can't participate in one of our programs. However, you do want to be aware of your residency status and any visa restrictions, so start with NAFSA's Guide to Study Abroad for International Students for some areas to consider.
  • Veterans: Studying abroad can enhance previous international experience, and there may even be scholarships specifically for veterans to go abroad. Check out more information about Using Veteran's Benefits for Education Abroad, and talk to UNCG's Military & Veteran's Services.