Education Abroad as a LGBT*Q Student
BGSU supports the endeavors of lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, trans* and gender non-conforming students, and recognizes that these students may want information or advice regarding their identity in relation to an academic global experience. Preparing for what to expect in a particular culture can make the difference between a wonderful experience or an unpleasant one. Before you go, it is important to reflect on the culturally constructed ideas and definitions of sexual and gender identity, and consider carefully how your identity as a LGBTQ person may affect your relationships with host nationals, your cultural adjustment, and your overall education abroad experience.
Cultures vary in terms of what is considered “appropriate” behavior and how sexuality and gender identities are defined and understood. Learn as much as you can about your host culture’s styles of behavior and general attitudes before you go. If unprepared, behavioral signals such as eye contact, smiling, and touching may lead us astray in a foreign culture. For instance, did you know that in some Asian countries hand-holding among males is a custom of special friendship and does not necessarily imply homosexuality?
Furthermore, it is very important to familiarize yourself with the laws of your host country. In some countries, where sexual orientation can be a basis for persecution under the law, personal safety considerations may require you to hide your sexual identity. Would you be willing to hide your sexual identity? Would you reconsider your options?
It will be impossible to know everything about another culture before you depart and you shouldn’t strive to completely understand your host country before you leave Bowling Green. For your safety you should know the laws and general attitudes concerning sexual orientation and then watch, listen, and learn from the people themselves.
The following resources may be especially helpful as you gather information. Students are also welcome to discuss their concerns with the Education Abroad Advisor in the Education Abroad, International Programs and Partnerships. Call 419-372-0479 to set up an appointment.
- 9 Major Life Lessons I Learned Studying Abroad as an LGBT- Go Oversear.com: https://www.gooverseas.com/blog/what-i-learned-lgbt-studying-abroad
- Fund for Education Abroad Rainbow Scholarship: https://fundforeducationabroad.org/apply/instructions/
- LGBT Ohio Scholarships-Human Rights Campaign: https://www.hrc.org/resources/scholarships
- American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS) Diversity Scholarship: http://www.aifsabroad.com/scholarships.asp
- ISA Diversity Scholarship: http://studiesabroad.com/admissions/document/scholarships/study/isa-scholarships
- Gamma Mu Scholarship: https://gammamufoundation.org/scholarship-guidelines/
- Point Foundation: https://www.pointfoundation.org/
- Campus Pride Scholarship Database: https://www.campuspride.org/national-scholarship-database/
- IGLTA Foundation: https://www.iglta.org/foundation/
- APIQWTC Scholarship: http://www.apiqwtc.org/resources/apiqwtc-scholarship/
- LGBT Students & Study Abroad- StudyAbroad.com: http://www.studyabroad.com/resources/lgbt-students-and-study-abroad
- Sexual and Gender Expression Abroad- Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE): https://www.ciee.org/gap-year-abroad
- LGBTI Travel Information- U.S. Department of State: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/go/lgbt.html
- Gender Transition and Passports- U.S. Department of State: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/information/gender.html
- LGBT Returned Peace Corps Volunteers: https://lgbrpcv.org/
- Know Your Rights: Airport Security: http://www.transequality.org/know-your-rights/airport-security
- Global Gayz Travel Blog: http://www.globalgayz.com/
- NAFSA Rainbow Special Interest Group: http://www.rainbowsig.org/
- The International Lesbian and Gay Association: http://ilga.org/
- The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission: https://www.outrightinternational.org/