Education Abroad Identity Abroad

Shana Wanjohi identity abroad testimonial
Miriam Manna identity abroad testimonial
Archit Mishra identity abroad testimonial
MBA Otago exchange testimonial from Muanya Onyiuke from Spring 2023
Maddy Pi Identity Abroad testimonial from exchange at Lyon Spring 2023
Shana Wanjohi identity abroad testimonial
Miriam Manna identity abroad testimonial
Archit Mishra identity abroad testimonial
MBA Otago exchange testimonial from Muanya Onyiuke from Spring 2023
Maddy Pi Identity Abroad testimonial from exchange at Lyon Spring 2023

It is important to the Carlson Global Institute that you feel equipped and supported during your time abroad. Study Abroad will look different for each of you, depending on a number of factors: race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, etc. 

If at any point you would like to discuss how your identity might impact your experience abroad, we would be glad to speak with you and we are always available to meet. You are not alone in your questions. You can schedule an appointment with an education abroad advisor by visiting the Undergraduate Advising website or the Graduate Advising website.

Below is a collection of questions that are important to ask yourself and resources to use that can support you in your program selection,  preparation and time abroad.

Are we missing something? If you know of a resource that could be added to this page, please send it to us at cgi@umn.edu.

Many first- generation students are also the first in their families to study abroad. Like entering University for the first time, navigating this experience may include more preparation for you and/or your family/guardians. Below are resources and questions that you can explore with your support system (including us!).
 
Questions to ask yourself:

  • How will I explain the importance of studying abroad to my family/guardians and friends?
  • What information will make my support system feel more comfortable with me studying abroad?
  • If I support my family financially, am I able to study abroad?
  • Do I have my passport?
  • If it is my first time traveling, do I know how to navigate the airport and international customs & immigration? 
  • Do I have any intersecting identities alongside being a First-Generation student? 
  • Do I need to put any systems in place for my family/guardians while I am abroad?
     

Resources:

At Carlson, international students are not required to study abroad in order to fulfill the International Experience requirement, as studying at Carlson fulfills this. However, international students are still welcome to study abroad during their time at the University of Minnesota! Here are some questions to ask yourself and resources to use as a starting point. If you are a student of color, it might also be helpful to look at the Students of Color questions and resources.


Questions to ask yourself:

  • What is the relationship between your home country and your host country?
  • Have you researched the visa requirements for your host country? Will I need to return to my home country in order to apply for a visa for my host country? Do I have dual citizenship and will this affect the entry requirements for my host country?
  • How much will my study abroad program cost? Will the cost be different than domestic students?
  • Where is my home country’s embassy in my host country?
  • Where do I find safety in my host country if an emergency situation arises?
  • Do I need to carry immigration paperwork with me while in my host country?
  • I would like to study in my home country. Are there restrictions from the government and/or the host university for students who hold my passport?
  • I would like to do some personal travel while studying abroad. Do I need to obtain visas for any neighboring countries? If so, where would I need to apply for these visas?
  • When will my US J-1/F01 student visa expire? Am I able to enter back into the United States at the end of my program? 
  • Do I have my I-20 with my passport? Do I need to obtain a travel signature on my I-20 prior to departing?
     

Resources:

Students who are larger-bodied are just as welcome to participate on an education abroad program as any other student. Studying abroad may look a little different, but that is okay!

 

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Do I need to plan anything out ahead of time?
  • Do I need to pack anything specific that I will not be able to find in my host country?
  • Will my host country have my size clothing?
  • Will my host country have my size undergarments?
  • Does my education abroad program or host university have any seating accommodations for larger-bodied students?
  • Do I need to connect with my education abroad advisor to ask about specifics for my program?

 

Resources:

Education Abroad is an option for all students. As a student who identifies as LGBTIA+, it is important to consider how your identity(ies) is perceived and/or accepted abroad and how it may be different than in the United States.

As a student who identifies as LGBTQIA+ these are the questions to ask yourself: 

  • What is the relationship between the United States and my host country?
  • Are there laws and regulations that are currently in place in my host country criminalizing LGBTQIA+ identifying people?
  • How are LGBTQIA+ people socially treated in my host country?
  • Am I planning to or currently in the process of changing my name? If so, how will this affect my study abroad or host university application process?
  • If your gender presentation is different from your legal sex, or you are in the process of transition: 
    • Will there be challenges with my legal documents when entering or exiting my host country? 
    • Will I be able to find gender-affirming health care? 
    • Will there be challenges obtaining my medication(s)? 
       

Resources: 

Wherever you study abroad, there are different perspectives, attitudes, and cultural practices around religion and spirituality. There may be cultural expectations related to faith and practice in your host country that counter your personal values and beliefs. There could also be obstacles to your religious practices. It is also important to realize that there are many cultural differences around the world and you will be entering into a new culture that still needs to be respected, so if you cannot see yourself comfortably practicing your religion or spirituality in a certain country, then it may be wise to look at other study abroad programs. 


Questions to ask yourself:

  • What is the primary/dominant religion(s) in my host country?
  • If I don’t practice religion (atheism/agnosticism), how will I be perceived/treated in my host country?
  • Will it be safe for me to wear religious symbols or clothing in my host country? 
  • Are there laws restricting religious expression in my host country? 
  • Will I be able to practice my religion in my host country the same way I do at home? 
  • Will my dietary restrictions be difficult to maintain in my host country? If yes, how could I prepare? 
  • Are there any places of worship I can attend in my host country? If not, how will I practice my religion individually? 
  • Are there any religious holidays that are public events in my host country?
  • Do people of my faith in my host country practice differently than I do at home? 
  • Am I open to a homestay with a family that does not practice my religion? 
  • What housing is available with my program? Do I need to discuss specific housing arrangements in accordance with my religion?
  • Will I incur higher costs in relation to my housing and meal arrangements in accordance with my religion? Am I able to adjust my financial aid to cover these higher costs?
     

Resources:

As a student of color, it is important to consider how your racial and ethnic identity is perceived abroad and how it may differ from how you are perceived in the United States.  As you prepare for your study abroad experience, here are some questions to ask yourself and resources to use as a starting point.

Questions to ask yourself: 

  • What is the relationship between the United States and my host country?
  • How are people from my racial background treated in my host country?
  • How safe will I be as a person of color in this particular country? Or will I feel safer abroad than I do in the US?
  • How will mainstream American media affect the host country’s people’s expectations of you?
  • Am I the only student of color participating on my study abroad program? How will this impact my time abroad?
  • How might assumptions about how Americans look affect assumptions about my nationality?
  • What is the host country’s history on their own minority population?
  • Am I studying in the country where my heritage is from? How will being a hyphenated student affect my time abroad? What assumptions will be made about my identity?
     

Resources:

Student parents are encouraged and welcome to participate on any of the Carlson Global Institute education abroad programs. There are some program models that will not allow dependents to travel along, so it is important to have a conversation with your education abroad advisor if you wish to have dependents travel with you.


Questions to ask yourself:

  • How will I explain the importance of studying abroad to my family and friends?
  • If I support my family financially, am I able to study abroad?
  • Are my dependents able to travel with me?
  • If my dependents are traveling with me, did I acquire international health insurance for them (This is a required step by UMN)?
     

Resources:

Education Abroad is an option for all students with all abilities. Students should reach out to the Education Abroad Advising Team earlier rather than later to disclose their varying abilities and to discuss study abroad options. 


Questions to ask yourself:

  • Will my current accommodations at home be mirrored by my host university? (flexibility for longer test time, reduced workloads, mandatory excursions, etc.) 
  • What are the cultural perceptions around people with disabilities in my host country? Is the host country safe for people with disabilities?
  • Does my host country have laws protecting and encouraging accessibility? 
  • What is the physical environment and terrain of the host city?
  • Will I have easy access to transportation?
  • Does my host university have accessible buildings, classrooms, etc.?
  • Are local businesses (i.e grocery stores, banks, convenience stores, marts, etc.) accessible to people with disabilities?
  • How will I plan my international travel to and from my host country? (airport assistance, airline regulations and resources) 
  • If I am the only person with a disability in my program, how will that impact my experience abroad, if at all?
  • Does my travel insurance have resources for people with my disability, and if yes, what does it cover?
  • How should I respond if people give me unsolicited help?
  • Am I willing to disclose my disability to others?
  • Are there any key phrases in the host country language that will assist me in getting around my host city?
  • Will my service animal be able to go abroad with me? What would I need to do to prepare to bring my animal abroad? 
     

Resources:

As white cis-gender students, it’s imperative to understand and comprehend how you will be accepted into the culture of your host country. It is also important to know that you still have privilege while studying abroad, and how you will represent white Americans. It is equally important to reflect on how your identity may change while abroad. 

Questions to ask yourself:

  • How will your identity change abroad? 
  • Will you be a part of the racial minority in your host country? 
  • What is the history of the host country in regards to race and ethnicity? How does it currently affect the climate in the host country today?
  • Will your power dynamic change in your host country? 
  • Will you have the same/different amount of privilege in your host country? 
  • How will you represent the United States and white Americans while abroad? 
     

Resources:

Students using the G.I. Bill and/or who are active duty are welcome to study abroad, but may have restrictions on financial aid and location. It is important to check in with Veteran Services, your ROTC contact, and OneStop when planning your international experience. 

Please note that not all Education Abroad programs are eligible for VA benefits. Students should check with the UMN Veterans Affairs Office directly (veterans@umn.edu) with program specific questions about eligibility.


Questions to ask yourself:

  • Do I need to obtain clearance in order to study abroad in my host country?
  • What will I do if I receive orders of deployment?
  • How is the military viewed in my host country? How will that affect my experience as I learn and interact more in the country? 
  • What military assistance and benefits can I use towards my study abroad program? Have I talked to the Military & Veteran Office and Office of Scholarship and Financial Aid on how they can be used?
  • Do I need to continue PT (or a fitness regimen) while abroad? Does my host university/program have facilities that I can readily use?
  • What are the dates of the program and how may that affect my term tuition reimbursement? 
     

Resources:

*Carlson Global Institute program managers put this page together with found resources from UCLA, Diversity Abroad, the Learning Abroad Center, etc.