LGBT Student Resources for Study Abroad
The Safe Zone Project
The Education Abroad Office at Murray State has joined The Safe Zone Project! The Project is designed to radically reduce prejudice and discrimination
on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender
expression at Murray State University by creating a safe and affirming
campus. By displaying The Safe Zone symbol, the Education Abroad Office is committing to being active and visible allies, being trusted to maintain confidentiality, and responding to all students interested in international education with understanding, support, and empathy.
LGBT Study Abroad Resources
Study Abroad is a rewarding experience for college students, encouraging both personal and academic growth. The process of selecting and applying to a program can be overwhelming at times, and we recognize that members of the LGBT community may have specific concerns as they embark on their journeys. We hope this list of resources will address some of these concerns. For more information, see one of the Education Abroad Advisors.
Before you go
Every student should learn as much as possible about the country or countries where they plan to study. Cultures can vary greatly in terms of what is considered appropriate behavior and how sexual identities are defined and understood. You will find that attitudes and tolerance toward gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered
issues vary from country to country, and even within the US. Some countries are more welcoming and legally protective than the US, while others may be less accepting and more restrictive. All students need to be
aware of the legal issues related to sexuality in other countries. LGBT students need information regarding the receptivity and social climate of the host country.
Take the time to learn about:
- LGBT organizations and support resources
- Laws of the host culture
- Norms/styles of behavior in the host culture
- LGBT media
- General attitudes toward LGBT persons
- Meeting places
Funding your study abroad
The office of Student Affairs is sponsoring an LGBT student study abroad scholarship for the 2012-2013 academic year. See our scholarship page for more information on how to apply for this and many other scholarships.
Other LGBT-specific study abroad scholarships:
It is important that all students are aware of and consider the
implications of being identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual or
transgendered in the host-culture and how being "out" might impact
interactions. Students go abroad to experience a different way of life,
and with that comes the opportunity to explore his or her sexual
orientation in a new context. Do you anticipate "coming out" during this
experience abroad? Do you want to connect with local LGBT organizations
or support services while abroad? Students should think about how they
will answer questions about their sexual orientation in the language of
their host country.
Often programs place students in home-stay or housing situations so that
they may be more immersed in the local host culture. It is important
that all students are aware of and consider the implications of being
identified as gay,
lesbian, bisexual or transgender in the host-culture and how coming out
might affect the host-family relationship.
Many transformations in personal development and self- awareness can occur while studying abroad, prompted by the fact that the restrictions of the home culture have been removed. Returning home is therefore a transition that can be difficult at times. Consider the following:
- If you choose to come out while abroad, how will this affect your return to friends and family? Will you be able to re-integrate these relationships upon your return or will you need to find a different supportive community?
- Be aware before you come back home of the ways in which you may have changed both independent of and as a result of your coming out.
- Consider the implications of coming out when back home. Often family and friends may want to dismiss your sexual orientation as temporary due to the experience abroad, rather than acknowledge a lifelong identity.
For more information:
Information by country
Compiled by the The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC)
The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) is a
leading international organization dedicated to human rights advocacy on
behalf of people who experience discrimination or abuse on the basis of
their actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or
International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association
A worldwide federation of national and local groups dedicated to
achieving equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered
individuals everywhere. The site offers a country-by-country world
survey of the legal position of GLBT individuals (Keep in mind that not
all countries offer a safe environment for openly gay people).
- Student to Student Guide
NYU student-written Study Abroad Guide on the experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) students studying abroad compiled by members of NYU's Global Ambassador program – a leadership organization of returnee study abroad students. In this guide, students discuss their time abroad in popular study abroad locations, including practical information and insider tips on places to visit to things to do.
Information adapted from the following sources: