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Study Abroad Office

A group of students pose together like the last supper

Religious Diversity

Spirituality and religion play a role in many cultures around the world. By going abroad, students will have the unique opportunity to gain new perspectives on religion around the globe and gain familiarity with belief systems that may differ from their own. To have a successful experience abroad, an open mind is key. When researching your host country, you might find that you are part of the religious minority even though you may be used to being a part of the religious majority. If you are planning to practice your religion abroad, it’s a good idea to ask locals or your program staff to see if there are any places where you can worship safely. In addition, you will want to find out what degree of religious tolerance there is in your host country. It is especially important to understand your beliefs and your host country’s beliefs in order to identify any challenges or opportunities that may arise during your time abroad.

Questions to consider with an Advisor/by yourself:
  • What is the dominant religion in my host country?
  • Will I be a part of the religious majority or minority abroad?
  • Are there any laws regarding religion?
  • How tolerant is the host country of other religions?
  • What are some ways I can respect the religion in my host country and participate in cultural events, even if I don’t practice that religion?
  • Will I need additional support to complete my academics? (i.e. excused days for holidays)
  • Is there a club at the school I’m attending for my religion?
  • Are there communities of my religion in the area?
  • Is there active discrimination against my religion in the country I’m traveling to?
  • Is it safe for me to display my religion affiliation in a prominent way? (i.e. symbols or clothing)
  • Will I have access to necessary food resources in order to eat according to my beliefs?
  • How are atheists and agnostics viewed in my host country?
Tips for having a positive study abroad experience:
  • Stay open minded about religious practices
  • If you have religious dietary restrictions, be sure to let your program director/staff know ahead of time, especially if you are living with a host family
  • Use your time abroad as an opportunity to learn about different faiths
Resources:

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