As a student going abroad, it is important that you consider your host country’s cultural attitude towards gender identity. No matter where you go in the world, it is likely the gender roles and cultural norms will be different than what you are used to experiencing in the US or your home country. Since your gender will be viewed through the cultural expectation of your host country, you may feel uncomfortable or that you are being treated differently at times. It’s important to consider how you would handle encountering these differences in your host culture. You may face a range of challenges or issues. Some important things to learn about prior to departure are things like dating, gender discrimination, and women’s safety. Also, when starting to research study abroad programs choices, you should consider the host country culture carefully think about how any differential societal perception and norms may impact your experience.
Good questions to ask about your host culture include:
- What is the attitude towards gender in my host country?
- What are considered typical gender roles in my host society?
- What are the society’s perceptions and expectations for men, women and transgender individuals in my host country?
- What are the gender stereotypes of Americans in my host country?
- How do men treat women in my host country?
- Are there differences in political and social power based on gender?
- How do my personal values compare with my host country’s attitudes about socially accepted gender roles?
- Your LUC Study Abroad Advisor: Can help you find more information about the country you plan to go to and connect you with LUC peers who have studied in that country before. Additionally, program evaluations available in the office are a good way to learn what former students have to say about your host country and what you may encounter abroad.
- Student Diversity and Multi-Cultural Affairs: Facilitates intentional reflection of the intersections of identities and critical social analysis of systems of privilege and oppression, SDMA seeks to enhance the experience of all members of the Loyola community by cultivating culturally competent agents of social change.
- Coordinated Community Response Team: The team brings together students, staff and faculty to create a campus culture where gender-based violence of any kind, specifically domestic/dating violence, sexual misconduct and stalking is not tolerated. They are committed to education, training, increased accessibility to services, and promotion of accountability and justice to make our diverse campus community is safer and more supportive of survivors.
AllABROAD.us: A website that has some responses from recent study abroad students about gender differences they encountered while abroad.
Culture Shock: The CultureShock! series of books is useful to aid in understanding gender issues in your host country.
Diversity Abroad: Preparation tips and strategies for questions about race/ethnic, class, financial, gender, ability, religious, sexual orientation, first generation, and more dynamics abroad.
Amnesty International: Resources to understand gender and sexual orientation discrimination and issues in the world.
Her Own Way: Advice for the Woman Traveller: The Canadian Consular Affairs Bureau provides information about security, packing, culture shock and more in this article for women travelers.
JourneyWoman: An on-line travel resource for women.
Sexual Assault Support & Help for Americans Abroad: Offers resources to assist American citizens and legal permanent residents who are sexually assaulted in a foreign country.
Sexual Harassment And Prevention In College Students Studying Abroad: The SAFETI On-Line Newsletter addresses issues of safety in study abroad. This article explores how women can minimize their risk of being sexually harassed while traveling abroad.
Women Abroad: Safety tips, student comments, and other resources from University of Michigan's International Center.
Women Travelers (US State Department): Information for Women Travelers
Women Travelers (FCO): Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) lists a number of tips for women travelers. The FCO is the department of the British Government responsible for overseas relations and foreign affairs.
National Center for Transgender Equality: Considerations for transgender people when travelling.
Greenheart Student Stories: A transgender student who studied abroad in Japan shares his story.
U.S. T.S.A.: Resource for transgender passengers.
Transrespect vs. Transphobia: Country-specific guides detailing the human-rights situation of trans and gender-diverse people.
Loyola offers more than 150 programs in 70 countries across the world, a full list of programs and locations is available here. If you are interested in studying gender as a part of your study abroad experience, consider the following programs.
- Barcelona, Spain: "Global Contemporary Issues in Women’s Studies/Gender Studies" (WSGS 201 or WSGS 497)
- Amsterdam, The Netherlands: "International Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender"
- Amsterdam, The Netherland: "Society, Culture, & Gender in Amsterdam"
- Paris, France: French Studies program with gender studies course offerings
- Chiang Mai, Thailand: Gender studies course offerings