Whether you identify as LGBTQ+ or if you are exploring your identity, you will find that the social and cultural climate, legal systems, and personal interactions in other countries will often differ from the United States. While preparing for a study abroad program, it is important to reflect on the culturally-structured ideas and definitions of gender and sexual identity. Consider carefully how your identity as a LGBTQ+ person may influence your relationships with host nationals, your cultural adjustment, and your overall education abroad experience.
Questions for Reflection
- What are the laws concerning sexuality and gender expression in my host country?
- In what ways do the cultural norms surrounding dating and friendship in my host country differ from those in the U.S.?
- What are the cultural norms regarding "consent" in my host country?
- If I am "out" at home, will I feel safe being "out" abroad? Which groups, if any, should I consider coming out to? (Host family, classmates, local and international friends...)
- What community support networks for LGBTQ+ identifying people exist in my host country?