When preparing to study abroad, you will want to consider how your host country’s social norms and cultural mores may affect you. Aspects of your identity may be perceived and understood in very different ways to what you are accustomed. Spend some time reading and researching your host country in order to have a better sense of what you might expect.  Some students may find this side of study abroad very challenging, but also a rewarding learning experience.

Hamilton Study Abroad Student Videos

To ensure a successful experience abroad, let your program provider know if you have any disabilities that will affect your time abroad.  Your program provider can help you prepare for what to expect by providing you with country-specific information and can advocate for resources on your behalf.  It is important to note that other cultures have their own way of addressing disabilities and access so we recommend doing your research before you choose a program and also as you prepare to study abroad.

As the first person in your family to go to college, studying abroad may also be something very new.  The Global Learning Office has first-gen staff members who can walk you through the process of studying abroad and explain all the big and small details.  Take a look at some of these additional resources: 

Go Abroad Meaningful Travel Tips and Tales

IES First Generation Resources


Before going abroad, it is helpful to do some research on your host country so that you have an understanding of the cultural and local attitudes toward sexual orientation and gender identity. You may also want to speak with LGBTQ+ students who have been abroad in order to have a better sense of what to expect. Your program provider and their on-site staff can also be very helpful in identifying local events and groups that can help you build your local support network. Depending on where you are studying, it may be important to research the laws of your host country regarding sexual orientation and gender identity since other countries have different laws that may affect you.

Students of color have a range of experiences abroad.  Research into your host countries history, culture, and politics may help you be better prepared for the context in which you will be living.  Speak with other students of color who have been abroad about their experiences.  Although your experience may be different from theirs, they can help you identify some possible support networks and coping strategies. In some locations, students of color might find themselves in the majority population or they may find that they are identified by their citizenship rather than their race or ethnicity.  

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