Race, Ethnicity and Nationality Abroad
You may be eager to be a part of the majority population for the first time, may be concerned about potential racial bias and prejudice as a student of color, or may be planning to experience the region that holds your family’s heritage. Depending on where you go abroad, your physical features, nationality, ancestry, or heritage may lead to unique situations or interactions that you aren’t accustomed to. It is important to know that people in other countries have different cultural norms and be prepared for differing viewpoints about your culture.
While you are getting ready for your time abroad, be sure to research your host country’s demographic and culture and prepare yourself for differing viewpoints.
Questions to Consider
- Are there laws or attitudes in your host country that affect aspects of your racial, national, or ethnic identity?
- What is the demographic of your host community? What are the racial and ethnic majority or minority? Which groups have power and privilege? How does this compare to your home country and how might these affect how you are perceived in your host country?
- How are people with the same racial, ethnic, or national identity as you treated?
- Are there stereotypes about the different aspects of your identity?
- If you find something to be offensive, how should you react?
- Has your host family housed minority students before? Will this be an issue for them?
- Will there be other minority students in my program?
- Who will you contact if you face racial or discriminatory incidents?
- Be aware that there are different cultural norms abroad and that people you encounter may be less “politically correct” than you may expect.
- Integrating yourself in the culture will make you stand out less, but keep in mind that your skin, hair, or other features may still be highlighted.
- Research the kind of relationship your ethnic, racial, or national identity has with your host country. You should also learn more about immigration in general.
- Learn more about other minority students’ experiences abroad. Reach out to other students who have studied abroad or research it online.
- Don’t go abroad expecting racism or discrimination, but be prepared if an incident does arise.
Plato Underrepresented Students Resources Contains links to organizations, resources, and scholarships that support academic advancement for underrepresented groups.
Diversity issues in Study Abroad Reflections A collection of quotes by Brown University students about their experiences abroad, addressing issues of diversity.
Diversity Abroad aims to serve the needs of diverse and underrepresented students in the field of international education. On their website you can find their Diversity and Inclusion Abroad guide, as well as articles written by diversity abroad students.
On-Campus Resources for All Students:
Affiliate Provider Scholarships – Most affiliates offer diversity scholarships. If you’re going abroad with one of our affiliates, make sure to check their website for more information.
Diversity Abroad Scholarships Scholarship database for underrepresented minority students
Additional Resources and Scholarships:
Asian/Pacific Islander-American Students