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Diversity & Identity

Your identity matters. Here and abroad.  

Study Abroad, UC San Diego is committed to helping advance and promote the participation of a diverse student body in all of its international programs. We believe that the joy and life-long impact that a study abroad program can have on an individual is an experience that should be accessible to all regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, gender, disability, economic background etc. To advance this endeavor, Study Abroad, UC San Diego will act as a resource and support center for interested students who seek advice and guidance as they embark on their journey of self discovery. We are in the business of empowering students by informing them of the boundless opportunities available to them.

Student Stories

[IES]: Jamaica talks race, class and privilege in Spain

[CEA]: Tanya talks diversity in Argentina & its LGBTQ community

[CIEE]: A student gives the perspective of a Black girl in Cape Town

[IFSA]: Precious talks studying in Argentina and China as a Black woman

[IFSA]: LizaMarie talks being Mexican American in Latin America

[DIS]: Let's talk about you

Global Seminars Blog

Read all about amazing and engaging experiences from UC San Diego Tritons participating on Global Seminars all over the world!

Click to Read

UCEAP Blog

Check out UCEAP's Blog 'The Californian Abroad', the "go-to hub for UC students who love to travel, connect with other cultures and inspire others to live life fully."

The Californian Abroad

Resources from Other UC Campuses

UC Santa Cruz - Who Am I Abroad?

UC Davis - Access and Diversity Resources

UC Berkeley - Student Stories

Being Me Abroad | Natural Hair Care

IES Abroad staff share their natural hair routines while abroad.

More Natural Hair Tips

 

First Generation Student?

Planning Tip #1: Talk to Your Advisors and Fellow Students

Use your resources! Meet with study abroad advisors, academic advisors, and financial aid advisors regularly - they will help guide you through the process. Talk to students who've already studied abroad to get firsthand advice. Don't know anyone? Study Abroad will connect you with returnees.

Planning Tip #2: Do Your Research

Plan time in your schedule to really research study abroad. Bookmark important sites. Learn all of your options to make the best decisions for choosing a program and to prepare for success abroad.

Planning Tip #3: Find Support

Deciding to go abroad, especially if no one you know before you has done it, can be daunting. Some family and friends may not understand your motivations, but it's important to find people in your life who will support your decision and who can help you ease into a study abroad program more smoothly.

More resources to help YOU succeed abroad:

Students of color abroad

Study Abroad UC San Diego is committed to promoting access to study abroad for students of color, and offers the following resources that will help make study abroad safe, empowering, and fun for students of all backgrounds.

Here are some questions to ask yourself if you are a student of color:

How will my ethnicity and skin color be perceived in my host country? What kinds of ethnic stereotypes are there in the country?

How should I react if I experience something that I find offensive?

Is the person just curious... or do they have bad intentions?

If I'll be staying with a host family, will they have hosted minority students before? Will my ethnicity be an issue for them?

Am I used to being a part of the majority at home but will be a minority abroad? Vice versa?

Will there be other minority students in my program, or a community there that can support me?

Who can I contact if I do face racial or discriminatory incidents during my program?

Does my program have support staff that will understand and help me through racial/discriminatory incidents that I may face?

Here are some tips for students of color to consider:

First and foremost, while you may face some uncomfortable situations abroad, always remember to put your safety first.

Remember that people abroad have different cultural norms and tend to be less “politically correct” than people in the U.S.

The more you integrate with the culture the less you'll stand out, but your skin, hair, or other features may still attract attention.

Research what kinds of contact and relations your minority group has had in your host country. You may also want to research immigration in general.

Be aware that people may generalize or incorrectly identify your ethnicity.

Learn more about other minority students’ experiences abroad. For example, you can talk to other minority students who have studied abroad or find information online.

Build a support network among other study abroad students so that if you do face racial or discriminatory incidents you'll have support to deal with it.

Be prepared if an incident does arise, but don't go abroad expecting racism or discrimination.

Here are some online resources to check out:

AllAbroad.us PLATO: Project for Learning Abroad, Training & Outreach

LGBTQ+ students abroad

Study Abroad UC San Diego is committed to promoting access to study abroad for LGBTQ+ students, and offers the following resources that will help make study abroad safe, empowering, and fun for LGBTQ+-identified students.

Here are some questions to ask yourself if you are a LGBTQ+-identified student:

What are the laws regarding homosexuality and gender identity in my host country?

Is it safe for me to be out when I’m abroad? Should I come out to my host family?

What are the cultural norms for dating and friendship?

What kinds of LGBTQIA+ resources are there in my host country?

What is the LGBTQIA+ population like in my host country? How visible and large is it? How do they dress, behave, etc.?

Here are some tips for LGBTQ+ students to consider:

First and foremost, always put your safety first.

Before you leave, familiarize yourself with the customs and laws of your host country.

Research whether or not talking about sexuality is taboo.

Research the terms and definitions used in your host country to talk about LGBTQ+ issues.

Find a support network abroad.

Here are some online resources to check out:

Travel Resources

Organizations

Scholarships

Studying Abroad as a Transgender Student

Transgender students are valued members of the University of California, San Diego communities. While studying abroad at other campuses, the values and cultures regarding transgender students may not be the same as at UC San Diego. In order to provide support for the needs of incoming and current transgender students currently or planning to study abroad, we strongly encourage students to contact their study abroad advisor. For more information regarding transgender living concerns and the transgender community studying abroad from UCSD, please go to http://lgbt.ucsd.edu.

International Legal Issues

Domestic Legal Issues

Heritage-seeking students abroad

For many ethnic minority students, learning about their heritage is very important. Going abroad presents these students with an opportunity to connect and learn about their ancestral history and culture firsthand. These students may pursue study abroad in the country where their families come from “not because it is unfamiliar and new, but rather because it is somewhat familiar."

Here are some questions to ask yourself if you are a heritage-seeking student:

How will I be perceived in my home country?

Will I be accepted in my home country?

How should I react if I find something to be offensive?

Am I used to being part of the minority at home? How will it be to be a part of the majority abroad?

Will there be other heritage students in my program?

Here are some tips for heritage-seeking students to consider:

Remember although there is an ethnic affiliation between you and the people in your home country, there are many cultural differences and you might not be accepted as one of their own.

Dressing and acting like the locals can make you stand out less.

Research the customs and culture of your home country. There might be great differences between what you think you know about the home country based on how you were raised and what it is actually like.

Be aware that people may generalize or incorrectly identify your ethnicity.

Learn more about other heritage students’ experiences abroad. For example, you can talk to other heritage students who have studied abroad or find information online.

Students with disabilities abroad

Study Abroad UC San Diego is committed to promoting access to study abroad for students with disabilities, and offers the following resources that will help make study abroad safe, empowering, fun, and accessible for all students.

Here are some questions to ask yourself if you are a student with disabilities:

How are people with my disability viewed abroad?

How should I respond if people give me unsolicited help?

If my disability is invisible, am I willing to share it with my peers or host familty?

How accessible are places in my host country?

Will my disability prevent me from participating in certain excursions because of inaccessibility?

What resources and accommodations do I need to participate in my academics abroad?

Here are some tips for students with disabilities to consider:

Talk with other students with disabilities and learn about their experiences abroad.

Let your counselor or program director know about your disability, if you are comfortable doing so, so that as many accommodations as possible can be made.

Keep in mind that places abroad may not be as accessible as you are used to.

Remember that people with disabilities may be treated differently than you are accustomed to.

Research before you go so you have some idea of what to expect.

Be flexible and think creatively about how you can accommodate your disability abroad.

Here are some online resources to check out:

DACA and undocumented students abroad

DACA and undocumented students are advised to work with the Office for Undocumented Students Services and Study Abroad to obtain the most updated information on how their status may affect their plans to study abroad. There are options to study away within the U.S.that DACA and undocumented students may wish to consider.

UC San Diego Undocumented Student Services: (858) 822-6916

Other University of California Undocumented Student Resources:

UCI Dreamers – UC Irvine

International students abroad

Are you an international student who is considering study abroad? Be sure to check out the International Students and Study Abroad information page:

 

International Students and Study Abroad

 

*Important: International students in F and J visa status are encouraged to start preparing early if they are interested in studying abroad while at UC San Diego. It is recommended that you begin researching and applying for study abroad opportunities at least one year prior to your expected study abroad start date. Click on the link above to review all steps to understanding how studying abroad may affect your status.

Women abroad

Being a woman studying abroad can be an eye-opening experience, because every culture has different attitudes towards women. Try to find out about your host country’s cultural values and behaviors regarding women both before and during your trip.

Here are some questions to ask yourself if you are a woman studying abroad:

What are the societal and cultural views of gender in the host country abroad? How does this impact the way in which women exist in society? How does this impact your decision to study abroad?

Are there societal and cultural ways in which women are supposed to behave, express themselves, and relate?

Are there safety and security concerns for women traveling alone or in a group? How does this differ to your current practices at home? Might this limit or change when and how you go out such as at night or in particular locations?

What are the cultural norms regarding friendship and dating?

Do people in my host country have stereotypes of American women?

Here are some tips for students with disabilities to consider:

Do research on gender roles and their history beforehand.

Put your safety first and be aware of your surroundings.

Dress and act like the local women to avoid standing out.

Be aware of cultural differences, including body language, that may be misinterpreted in your host culture.

Talk with other women who have studied abroad to find out more about their experiences.

Here is an online resource to check out:

Women Travelers (U.S. State Dept.)

Age diversity abroad

While colleges and universities may traditionally serve a particular age group (18 - 26-year-old students), we recognize and value supporting our students who are older. We offer the following resources that will help make study abroad safe, empowering, fun, and accessible.

Here are some questions to ask yourself if you are an older student studying abroad:

Do I have work, home, and/or family obligations that prevent me from studying abroad for an extended period of time?

Will there be other adult students in my program?

How old are the other students participating in my program?

How do people in my host country view adult students?

What skills do I want to gain or improve while I’m abroad?

Here are some tips for older students to consider:

Look into short term programs if you cannot afford to spend an extended period of time away from your family and can’t take too much time off work.

Talk with other adult students who have studied abroad.

Sometimes you might feel that you don’t fit in, but remember not to isolate yourself from the rest of the group. Get to know the others and let them get to know you.

Research what people close to you age in the country you will be studying in and the areas they may live. For example, do they work? Take care of their children and/or parents? Live alone or with extended family?

Religion and spirituality abroad

Religion plays a role in many cultures around the world. If you are planning to practice your religion abroad, ask locals or your program staff to see if there are any places where you can worship safely. Even if you don't practice a religion yourself, many on your program may. It can be helpful to find ways to support your peers, and to understand how to be an ally for them while you're abroad. You’ll also want to find out what degree of religious tolerance there is in your host country.

Here are some questions to ask about religion and studying abroad:

What is the dominant religion in my host country?

Will I be part of the religious majority or minority abroad?

Are there any laws regarding religion? Is there a separation between religion and government?

How tolerant is the host country of other religions? What about atheists and agnostics?

Is it safe for me to wear religious symbols or clothing?

What are ways I can respect the religion in my host country and participate in cultural events, even if I don't practice that religion?

Here are some tips about religion:

Stay open minded about religious practices, even if you receive criticism for your beliefs.

If you are planning to practice your religion abroad, you may want to find out what places of worship there are.

If you have religious dietary restrictions, be sure to let your program director or appropriate staff know ahead of time, especially if you are living with a host family.

Depending on where you go, religion may have a larger or smaller role than it does in the U.S.

Use your experience abroad to learn about world religions and the role they play in diverse cultures.

UC San Diego campus resources

Articles and other resources

Top five reasons to study abroad

  1. Changing perceptions, challenging stereotypes:
    Show the world that Americans come in all shapes, sizes, colors, creeds, sexualities, genders etc. It is this diversity, in all aspects, that makes us as Americans truly special.
  2. Learn about new cultures while sharing your own:
    Be a cultural ambassador for America and share your heritage and background with others while at the same time learning about new cultures.
  3. Grow:
    Experience a unique type of personal development. Your experience abroad will test you in ways you never thought possible. Overcoming these trials will make you a stronger more confident individual.
  4. Become a leader by being a role model:
    By sharing about your experiences abroad, you will encourage others like you to take that leap and pursue their own adventures. Lead by example.
  5. Live without regrets:
    To live in another country, study, and immerse yourself in a completely new culture is an opportunity that does not come often. As a college student you will have many sources that will help you finance it. Don't let this opportunity pass you by!

Why Should You Study Abroad?

"Studying abroad isn’t just a fun way to spend a semester; it is quickly becoming the key to success in our global economy... It’s also about having real experience with the world beyond your borders – experience with languages, cultures and societies very different from your own." — Michelle Obama