The Education Abroad team is committed to creating a safe space on top of a supportive and inclusive environment for every student on campus or while studying abroad. However, whether you are thinking about studying abroad, or if you have been accepted to a program, it is important to prepare and familiarize yourself with different historical and cultural understandings of diversity and inclusion around issues such as race/ethnicity, gender identity, sexuality, religion, and disability. You should be aware that customs, beliefs, laws, facilities, and social practices are likely different than at University of Montana. When studying abroad, you may be the minority the first time in your life, or you may be concerned how your race, sexual orientation, language, ethnicity, religion, gender, etc. will impact your experience.
Before you depart for your international experience, it is important you think about your identity and how you feel about your identity while abroad. We encourage you to do the following:
- Research your host country, examine your expectations, and consider how realistic they may be.
- Make use of both UM and external resources that will assist you with this research and offer advice, personal narratives, and other information
- Reach out to students who have studied abroad in your host country (Education Abroad can provide names of former study abroad students)
As you consider your own identities, think about these questions in relation to your prospective education abroad destination
- What will you feel comfortable/uncomfortable talking about in that country?
- How will you react if aspects of your identity are received negatively, or if someone makes a comment that offends you?
- Is it safe for you to go to that location? Are parts of your personal identity are punishable by law in that country?
- How will your identity change in that country? How might you navigate that change while you are there and once you get back home?