Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Studying abroad is for all students regardless of sexuality and gender identity. Though studying abroad is primarily about your academic growth, it’s important to choose a program that will support you personally as well.
When choosing a study abroad program as an LGBTQIA+ student, environmental factors may play an important role in where you go. While LGBTQIA+ life exists almost everywhere, different countries or institutions have different laws, policies, and cultural attitudes toward diverse sexual and gender identities. Making sure you are informed on customs, different attitudes, and laws in your new environment is an important part of having a positive and satisfying experience.
Drexel Study Abroad is committed to supporting our students as they prepare for study abroad, and we encourage you to be as open as possible with your advisors about your needs or concerns. We have assisted past LGBTQIA+ students in preparing for their experiences abroad and may be able to provide additional resources to you as well.
Questions to Consider when Planning to Study Abroad
- How open am I now about my sexual orientation and gender identity? How open am I willing to be when I am studying abroad?
- Do I only want to go somewhere that is very tolerant and affirming of my identity? Am I open to going to a country that may discriminate against LGBTQIA+ individuals?
- How important is it to me to find other LGBTQIA+ students during my study abroad program?
- Does the country or host institution I’m interested in have resources available for LGBTQIA+ individuals?
- Am I willing to abide by the cultural customs and local attitudes in the host country?
Questions to Consider when Preparing to Study Abroad
- What are the cultural attitudes toward sexual orientation and gender identity in my host country? What are the local attitudes and customs in the region of the country where I will be studying?
- Are there any laws restricting same-sex behavior? What are the laws regarding identity and travel documentation?
- Are there resources available for people of alternative sexual and gender identities in my host country and institution?
- Does my host university have organizations and/or student groups for LGBTQIA+ students? Are there LGBTQIA+ friendly establishments nearby?
- If I need access to medication, supplies, or medical services, will I have access in my host country? Will I need documentation to travel with medication (i.e. hormones)?
Questions to consider when Returning Home
- If you chose to come out while abroad, how will this affect your personal life when you return?
- If you chose to conceal your sexual orientation or gender identity while you were abroad, how will this affect you when you return?
- How will you approach conversations regarding your experience abroad to your family, friends, or colleagues/classmates?
- What resources are available for you to successfully reintegrate?
The following resources provides insight and recommendations, but may feature individuals sharing their opinions and experiences, which may not be the same as yours. Drexel University is not affiliated with any of the resources listed below.