Religion and Faith Abroad
Religion is an important part of many cultures worldwide. You may meet people of varying religious or nonreligious beliefs and backgrounds while abroad. It is important to explore and understand your beliefs and those of your future host country while preparing for your time abroad. This preparation is a way for you to identify the challenges and opportunities you may have regarding religion and faith during your time abroad.
Questions to Consider:
- Is there a dominant religion in the country I will be living in?
- Am I a part of that dominant religion?
- What are the laws regarding religion?
- Is there a strong idea of separation between religion and state?
- How tolerant is the country toward other religions or beliefs?
- How would my clothing or religious symbols be perceived in this country?
- Try to be respectful. Be aware of your attire and your actions in public. If you don’t know what is considered appropriate, ask someone.
- Be sure to let your program directors know about any religious dietary restrictions in a timely manner.
- Regardless of your religious affiliation, join a local faith community and attend local worship services. Use the local religion as a way to learn more about the local culture.
- Try to identify places of worship if you plan to practice your religion abroad.
- Be open minded about the practices of your host country, even if you are criticized for your beliefs.
- If you plan to live with a host family, inquire about the family’s faith and how that might impact your experience.
Try searching for your denomination in your host country or city since many denominations have their own networks.