Identities Abroad

*This information has been adapted with permission from the University of Michigan’s Center for Global and Intercultural Study

Identity is a construct that continues to evolve and change; the International Center for study abroad acknowledges that identities, while they may shape who we are, are unique to each person. The resources in this section can provide a springboard for research and will be updated as needed.

Studying Abroad can be an indispensable educational, professional, and personal experience, and the USD International Center encourages all students to participate and engage with this unique opportunity. Studying abroad can be a great way to explore a passion, enhance your resume and see the world.  

As you explore your study abroad options, you'll want to consider all aspects of your identity and how they factor in the cultures and countries you'll be spending time in abroad. We encourage you to do some research into social norms, cultural mores, and local practices before your program begins. You'll want to participate as much as possible in the host culture and should be prepared for the experience, which can be both personally challenging and rewarding.

These resources are a springboard for your own research: they might prepare you for some of the specific dynamics that you may experience in several countries but these are only a starting point, by no means an absolute or exhaustive list.

Whether you are thinking about studying abroad, or you have been accepted to a program, it is important to prepare and familiarize yourself with various issues that might impact your experience in another country. Even though you might be a minority based on your nationality in your host country, you may also receive additional attention for your additional identities, including race and ethnicity, which may or may not be discrimination. You might feel judgment from people based on your gender, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, disability, or religion, and your unique identities interact and intersect with one another to affect your experience. Remember that nowhere in the world is completely free of ignorance. 

No matter what happens, don’t let the possibility of discrimination keep you from experiencing and enjoying the life-changing opportunity to study abroad. Keep in mind that every identity and experience is unique, and you will have your own, specific experience abroad.