Preparing to Study Abroad
Preparing to study abroad can be unsettling because most students know little about the new culture and environment in which they will be living. To prepare for this experience, students should allow time to consider how religion or spiritual beliefs may influence their encounters abroad by asking themselves: What is the predominant religion of the host country? How might my beliefs and practices be viewed in that society and how could this influence people's interactions with me? Learning in advance about the culture and religion of a given country can alleviate potential misunderstandings.
While Living & Studying Abroad
Students should take advantage of the experience abroad to understand how people in the host culture worship and engage in different religious practices. A good way to do this is by considering the following questions: What are the host community's important religious observances and ceremonies? Do you wish to study the predominant religion of the host country? Are religions associated with differing levels of social class? How will you practice religion while abroad? Will your beliefs preclude them from befriending people from other religious backgrounds? Do you wish to connect with a group or attend a religious service while abroad? Are there members of the students religion in the area where you will be living? What actions and beliefs are frowned upon or considered taboo in this culture? Is atheism accepted? Students should speak with their Education Abroad advisor about such questions so that Education Abroad can assist in gathering the information needed prior to departure.
Bringing the Experience Home
Preparing for the return home is as important as preparing for departure. Students should think about what has been gained from this experience. What have you learned while abroad and how will you use the experience later on? Did study abroad allow you to pursue new research or have an internship? Compare these to your pre-departure goals. Are you interested in sharing your experience with others? Before returning to the US it is helpful to consider how changes in self-identity may affect relationships with family and friends back home.
Muslim Student Association
UK Newman Center
320 Rose Ln
Office for Institutional Diversity
311 Main Building