Diversity & Identity

Is studying abroad for everyone? Yes! The opportunity to learn from other cultures, explore fields of study from a new perspective, and gain an edge in the professional sphere is an opportunity meant for you. Plus, the sharing of diverse perspectives between different cultures is valuable and makes our global society more interconnected and culturally competent.

When you go abroad, you'll see how culture, identity, location, laws, and more impact local people's opinions and perspectives. You'll also have the chance to share your views and identities with others, while gaining new insight on your own perspectives and biases. This cultural exchange is meaningful for all parties involved, but it isn't always easy to navigate. Being in an unfamiliar place with different social norms can be difficult, so here are some resources you may find helpful as you consider how your various identities and affiliations will impact you while abroad. 

Students with disabilities participate in UA study abroad programs around the world! Studying abroad can help you learn more about yourself and expand your worldview. As expressed by alumna Amanda Parkman, "[Studying abroad] is one of the best things I have ever done. I gained lifelong friendships, amazing memories, and it reinforced my independence”.

The key to a successful study abroad experience for all students is researching your options and planning early. We recommend you start planning one year prior to studying abroad. After attending a Study Abroad 101 session, meet with a Study Abroad Coordinator to explore accessible programs. It’s also important to discuss your plans with the Disability Resource Center (DRC). Study Abroad and the DRC will work with you to arrange reasonable accommodations abroad and assist you with the pre-departure process.

The lens through which disability is viewed varies greatly throughout the world. Views on independence, confidentiality, and respect for individual rights also differ from one country to the next. In many countries, there are no standards or requirements for providing access for disabled individuals. Accessible features like ramps, or parking spaces, Braille, assistive technology, or other curricular accommodations may be non-existent in parts of your host country, especially in rural areas. With some preparation, students with disabilities can enjoy a meaningful study abroad experience.

Tips for Success

Discuss accessibility with us. Talk with your DRC Disability Consultant and Study Abroad Coordinator early, so reasonable accommodations can be organized in advance.

Remember that disability is viewed differently in other cultures. Be flexible and open to different ways of accommodating your disability. Be aware that there will be changes in the interaction between your disability and the new environment.

Accessibility varies widely in other countries. Learn about what types of accommodation are typically provided in your countries of interest. Use online resources such as Mobility International USA to connect with other disabled students who have studied abroad.

You can do it! With planning, preparation and flexibility, you can have an amazing experience abroad!

Online Resources

University of Arizona Disability Resource Center: hear from disabled students who have studied abroad and learn more about resources available

Mobility International USA: excellent resource center for disability-related questions about going abroad

Access Abroad: Comprehensive guide from the University of Minnesota for students with disabilities who want to study abroad

US Department of State – Traveling with Disabilities: offers wealth of valuable information regarding traveling abroad with a disability

Abroad with Disabilities Facebook Community: discuss topics relevant to study abroad and learn about resources and tips to prepare for your trip

It is important to be aware that the way in which lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) identities are perceived and understood differs greatly between each country and culture. While LGBTQ individuals can be widely accepted in some countries, other countries can be largely intolerant. As in any cross-cultural situation, it pays to observe and be sensitive to local customs, as well as to express yourself respectfully. There isn't one way to conduct yourself while abroad, but it is important to remember that your identity is complex. Aspects of your identity that feel most salient in the United States may not feel as important abroad. For example, you may be surprised that in many countries, others perceive your most salient identity to be your national identity as opposed to other identities you hold.

We recommend utilizing the online resources listed below as you prepare for your study abroad experience. Educating yourself about the country you will be studying in, how they address LGBTQ issues, and any applicable laws will go a long way in helping you have a safe and meaningful experience abroad.

Online Resources

International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association: online country guides and an interactive map with information on how GLBT issues are addressed in specific countries

NAFSA: Association of International Educators - Rainbow Special Interest Group: valuable information for LGBTQ students traveling overseas

US Department of State LGBT Travel Information: helpful country-specific information, including the human rights report

University of Arizona LGBTQ Affairs: on-campus resource for students

In the United States, you may be seen first through the lens of your race or ethnicity. However, while abroad you are likely to be first classified as an American regardless of your race or ethnicity. Depending on your region of travel, it may be the first time you are in the position of being a minority or a member of the majority. People will likely have an opinion, which they are eager to share, about the United States and may even share opinions about your race or ethnicity.

Many people you encounter abroad will also show a sincere interest in you whether it be your American culture, your ethnic culture, or your racial background. There may be people who stare at you or who are eager to touch your hair or your skin. If you are traveling in an area where people have little or no contact with people different from them, know that people may be very curious, especially children. If somebody says or does something that is offensive to you, try to distinguish between a person who is genuinely curious about you or your culture and someone who has bad intentions. You may find yourself in some uncomfortable situations, but try your best to be flexible and understanding. However, always remember to put your safety first.

Latino/a/e/x and Hispanic Students Abroad

Why should Latino/a/e/x or Hispanic students study abroad?

In addition to all of the main reasons any student should study abroad, there are plenty of great reasons you may want to study abroad as a student of Hispanic or Latino/a/e/x background. You may want to connect with your country of heritage, visit another country where you speak the language, or practice your Spanish or Portuguese language skills if you don't use them in an academic setting often. Or, on the other hand, you may want to experience a different kind of exploration and see a part of the world with which you have no personal connection and challenge yourself to travel somewhere you don't speak the local language, maybe for the first time.

What scholarships or resources are available for Hispanic or Latino/a/e/x students?

For all students, a great place to start is on the Finance section of our website. From there, you can find study abroad-specific scholarships that may apply to you and your program. It's also a great idea to check out Scholarship Universe to look for study abroad scholarships and for Hispanic/Latino/a/e/x student scholarships!

Check out this article from Go Abroad about other scholarship options offered by organizations outside of the university!

We also recommend this list from the Project for Learning Abroad, Training, and Outreach (PLATO) as a great starting point for resources.

What have previous Hispanic or Latino/a/e/x students shared about their experiences?

Check out this YouTube video full of Latino/a/e/x students sharing their experiences!


Native American/Indigenous Students Abroad 

Why should Native American/Indigenous students study abroad?

In addition to the many reasons any student should study abroad, there are several reasons why Native American students should go abroad. You may want to connect with other indigenous cultures around the world, learn about other countries' perceptions of the USA, share your indigenous background with others around the world, represent your community abroad, and more. 

What scholarships or resources are available for Native American/Indigenous students?

We recommend this list from the Project for Learning Abroad, Training, and Outreach (PLATO) as a great starting point, as well as their article about going abroad as a Native American student. We also suggest All Abroad's Content on Native American Students.

For scholarships, in addition to the general information found on our website, we recommend you look through Scholarship Universe for any study abroad or Indigenous-identity scholarships. Also, these resources may offer you funding from campus or non-campus groups serving indigenous students:

Native American Student Affairs

The American Indian College Fund

Education Forward Arizona - Native American Scholarship Program

What have previous Native American/Indigenous students shared about their experiences?

Check out this YouTube video of a Native American student's experience in Asia and read this article about her.


Asian American and Pacific Islander Students Abroad

Why should AAPI students study abroad?

In addition to the many reasons all students should study abroad, AAPI students have many distinct reasons to study abroad. You may want to connect with your culture of heritage by visiting a country your family has lived in, practicing a language you speak at home in an academic context, or learning a language spoken by older members of your family. Or, on the other hand, you may want to challenge yourself and travel to a country where you don't speak the language and engage with cultures that are unfamiliar to you.

What scholarships or resources are available for AAPI students?

We recommend this list from the Project for Learning Abroad, Training, and Outreach (PLATO) as a great starting point.

For funding, in addition to the general scholarship and financial aid information on our website, we recommend searching Scholarship Universe for study abroad or AAPI scholarships. Additionally, organizations outside the university have scholarships you may qualify for:

APIA Scholars

Asian Pacific Fund

Korean American Scholarship Fund

What have previous AAPI students shared about their experiences?

Watch this video from a Filipino American student describing his experience in Mexico.

Watch this video from multiple students talking about their experiences around the world.

Here's a blog post about an Asian American student's experience in Japan.

Here's a blog post about an Asian American student's experience in France.


Black/African American Students Abroad

Why should Black/African American students study abroad?

In addition to the many reasons all students should study abroad, Black students may have many other race-specific reasons to study abroad. You may want to engage with other Black communities outside of the USA, connect with your heritage, explore Black history on a global scale, experience life outside of the USA's way of doing things, and more. 

What scholarships or resources are available for Black/African American students?

We recommend this list from the Project for Learning Abroad, Training, and Outreach (PLATO) as a great starting point.

Additionally, here is a piece from All Abroad about discrimination.

In addition to the general scholarship and financial aid resources on our website, check out Scholarship Universe for opportunities related to study abroad or Black identity. Additionally, organizations outside of the university offer scholarships to students of color that can often be used to study abroad:


Thurgood Marshall College Fund

What have previous Black/African American students shared about their experiences?

Check out Black Girls Abroad, a source full of women sharing their experiences abroad.

Here's a blog post with advice and resources for going abroad.

Here's a blog post from a Black student studying in Italy.

Here's an article about caring for Black hair abroad.


General Race and Ethnicity Online Resources

Diversity Abroad - Racial & Ethnic Minority Students Abroad: good questions to ask and tips to have a successful study abroad experience

All Abroad.us Resources: great information for African American, Hispanic, Native American and Asian/Pacific Islander students

PLATO - Resources to Support Underrepresented Students: comprehensive collection of articles and websites to help increase the participation by diverse students in study abroad

Religion often plays an important role in the culture of many countries and can be a great way for you to learn more about the country and its people. It is a good idea to research the religion(s) observed in your host country before you go abroad. Depending on where you go, religion may play a larger or smaller role than it does here in the US.

While you may be used to being part of the religious majority in the United States, your beliefs may make you a part of the religious minority while abroad. Most importantly, you want to be aware of the level of religious tolerance in your host country so you can make an informed decision on how you will practice your religion while abroad.

Students should always understand local laws, especially in regards to activities that appear as proselytizing and/or preaching. Always demonstrate respect to icons, statues, etc. and by wearing appropriate clothing (for example, many churches and temples forbid shoulders or knees to be exposed). If you are unsure how to dress or act, ask!

Online Resources

U.S. Department of State Religious Freedom

BBC Guide to Religion

As the number of veteran students within higher education continues to increase, so too does the number of veterans participating in study abroad. When spending time overseas as part of the military, it is often difficult for individuals to remove themselves from being viewed through the military lens by local residents. By studying abroad, veterans can experience life overseas in a different way than they may have while in the military.

Many veterans are able to use their benefits to help fund their study abroad experience. If you are interested in using your VA benefits to assist in payment of a study abroad program, you must plan ahead. You will need to work closely with Study Abroad and the UA Veterans Services Office to find the program that fits the requirements of the VA and your study abroad goals. In most instances the VA will only cover tuition costs and not other study abroad related fees. The Veterans Services Coordinator will be able to assist you in determining what, if any, the VA can cover.

Online Resources

UA Registrar's Veteran Services Office: on-campus resource to assist veterans and dependents eligible to participate in the GI Bill.

Post-9/11 GI Bill - Study Abroad Programs

Veterans Education and Transition Services (VETS): on-campus resource that supports the success of student veterans

Each and every study abroad program is a little different. Some are led by faculty-leaders, others are a cohort model and some provide a student a great amount of flexibility and independence. Having a child should by no means deter you from studying abroad; it simply requires you to consider your academic and personal needs as well as those of your child. Each Study Abroad Coordinator is happy to discuss programs in their region that would allow more flexibility, so that you can study abroad with your child. As you research different programs and locations, be sure to consider visa requirements for students and their dependents, childcare options in that country/city, and what kind of housing options are available on that particular program.