Preparing to Study Abroad
Before leaving the US, we encourage students to learn as much as possible about the country where they plan to study. Cultures vary in terms of how sexuality and sexual identity are defined and understood. Students are encouraged to explore and research the cultural, legal, and social issues relevant to the host culture. What are the culture specific norms of friendship and dating for relationships between people of any sexual orientation? Are you interested in talking with other students who have studied abroad about general attitudes toward LGBT persons? Students should speak with their UK Education Abroad advisor about these questions so that they can assist in gathering information.
While Living & Studying Abroad
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.
Bringing the Experience Home
Preparing for the return home is as important as preparing for departure. Students should begin to 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 to your pre-departure goals. Are you interested in sharing their experience with others? Before students return to the US it is helpful to consider how changes in sexual identity may affect relationships with family and friends back home.
UK Gay/Straight Alliance
Office for Institutional Diversity
311 Main Building