Global Education

Racial and Ethnic Diversity

Cultural and racial diversity are often significant factors for students in choosing an education abroad program. You should research attitudes regarding race and ethnicity in the countries you are interested in studying abroad and do a self-examination of your understanding of your own racial and ethnic identity. Attitudes toward race differ widely around the world, and reactions to racial differences may include curiosity and questions about your background or generalizations or assumptions about you based on your physical appearance. If you choose to study abroad in an area where people have had very little to no contact with others from your background, you may experience an elevated amount of attention in public places.

Some students of color abroad may be surprised to find they are sometimes identified first by their nationality rather than their race or ethnicity.

Consider ahead of time what mental and emotional preparedness looks like to you, if you experience prejudice, discrimination or harassment abroad. Put your safety first. If you are concerned about experiencing a racially motivated incident abroad, talk with your resident director, in-country contacts and/or other students in your group. Build a support community of other people before you depart or while in country.