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Diversity & Identity Abroad

Learning Abroad welcomes all students who meet eligibility requirements to pursue a program abroad during their time at the University of Houston. Some students feel that Learning Abroad is not available to them because of their identity, however Learning Abroad works with all students to support their goals. We encourage students to plan ahead in an effort to learn about and utilize all resources available as well as having time to request any additional support needed. 

LGBTQIA+ Students

Learning Abroad supports LGBTQIA+ students going abroad. All Learning Abroad full-time staff members have completed UH Cougar Ally Training. Students can talk with our advisors in addition to the UH LGBTQ Resource Center for more information or support. 

Travel Resources

LGBTQIA+ individuals may face unique challenges when traveling abroad. To prepare for your travel, you can refer to information provided by the State Department.

Diversity Abroad provides information and resources specifically for students traveling abroad, including travel tips and destination guides.

For additional country-specific resources, please refer to IES Abroad. A map of sexual orientation laws around the world can be found on ILGA.

GoAbroad.com has created a free and comprehensive eBook for students abroad that features a world map of LGBTQIA+ acceptance and covers topics such as how to come out to your host family.

Scholarships

In addition to the other scholarships mentioned on our page, there are many scholarships for LGBTQIA+ students. Please refer to the LGBTQ Resource Center for additional options.

Rainbow Scholarship:

  • Available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who are currently enrolled as undergraduates
  • Program must be at least 4 weeks long and student must earn UH credit
  • Deadline: January 11th
  • Amount: up to $5,000 for semester programs

 Transgender Students

TSA procedures can be invasive of everyone’s privacy and are of particular concern to transgender people because of their potential to “out” people in unsafe ways, possibly leading to harassment and discrimination. For any concerns you may have, please refer to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) as well as the National Center to Transgender Equality for additional guidance.

 

Veteran Students

Learning Abroad supports active duty personnel and student veterans going abroad. 

In most cases, students can use their veteran education benefits for credit-bearing reciprocal exchange and faculty led programs when tuition is paid directly to the University of Houston and course(s) are part of the student’s degree plan. Affiliated programs and learning abroad programs where tuition is not directly paid to the University of Houston are not eligible for funding. 

For more information, reivew the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Post-9/11 GI Bill Study Abroad Program fact sheet and meet with your Learning Abroad advisor. 

 

Accessibility Abroad

Learning Abroad supports students of all abilities in going abroad.  While we cannot guarantee that any or all of the program sites can accommodate your unique needs or interests, we will do our best to inform you of your options. The checklist below outlines the process to find the right program for your goals and needs in addition to how you will work with Learning Abroad and the Center for Students with DisABILITIES.

Just as cultures are unique, so are accommodations for and perceptions of students with disabilities. The key for any learning abroad program participant is flexibility. In addition to meeting with Learning Abroad, it is important that students do their own research and consider the following:

  • What are the physical environments like in your host country?
  • How are people with my disability viewed in your host country?
  • Is learning mainly from lecture, readings, independent research, etc?
  • How are the assignments different?
  • What housing options exist?
  • Do you need to do their own cooking? Laundry?
  • How will my accommodations be funded?
  • Is transportation available and accessible?

Important Documents:

Helpful Resources:

Funding Your Program Abroad:

http://www.miusa.org/resource/tipsheet/gettingstartedwithfunding

Race & Ethnicity Abroad

Learning Abroad supports students of all races and ethnicities in going abroad. While many students of color study abroad without incident, perceptions of your identity may be different from what you are used to in the U.S. You may experience unexpected or more intense instances of discrimination. Understanding your host country’s cultural and social climate can better prepare you to for such experiences and provide you with appropriate response strategies.

In addition to meeting with Learning Abroad, it is important that students do their own research and consider the following:

  • Research the historical and cultural climate of your destination. Remember that cultural norms vary by destination. Researching the local culture and history can provide valuable insights into what to expect. As an example, locals may engage you in political discussions in some countries because politics is a less ‘taboo’ topic to bring up with strangers than in the U.S.
  • Be aware that locals may make assumptions based on physical appearance. In some destinations, locals assume that Americans are white, and therefore may incorrectly identify your ethnicity based solely on your physical appearance. For example, people in Spanish-speaking countries may assume that Latinx students speak Spanish fluently.
  • Build a support network. Before and while abroad, identify individuals that you can talk to about your experiences abroad. This may include your peers, faculty member, onsite staff, or friends and family in the U.S. Writing a journal or blog may also be helpful in sharing your story.
  • Bring your ethnic beauty products with you. These items, such as hair care products or specific make-up shades, may be difficult to find abroad unless you are traveling to a destination that aligns with your ethnic identity.
  • Be sure to enjoy your time abroad! We encourage you to learn about the local culture and race relations, but do not let that keep you from enjoying the experience. Be prepared for what you may encounter, but don't go abroad expecting racism or discrimination

Helpful Resources:

Diversity Abroad provides information and resources specifically for students traveling abroad, including diversity guides for most countries, and health and safety tips.

For additional country-specific resources, please refer to IES Abroad.

All Abroad provides resources for all students, including information about discrimination issues, group-specific advice, and student mentor advice.

For in depth student perspectives, please refer to the Glimpse Race Abroad Acclimation Guide (PDF).