Diversity and Identity
LGBTQ+ Students Abroad
Our office is committed to ensuring all PSU students have a safe and successful experience abroad. We are available to provide individualized support regarding the unique considerations that LGBTQ+ students have when studying abroad. Norms regarding gender identity and sexuality vary greatly throughout the world. In some countries, being out may be dangerous, or even illegal. In other countries, being Queer or Trans is welcome. It is important for LGBTQ+ students to thoroughly research a country’s cultural climate, laws, and resources before choosing an education abroad program. Speaking to other LGBTQ+ individuals about their experiences abroad may help with your decision. The staff at the Queer Resource Center and Education Abroad Advisors are available to discuss any questions or concerns before, during and after your program.
Things to Consider
- Cultural context and customs: Are public displays of affection frowned upon? Is the country non-secular? What do gender norms look like in my host country? Are they flexible? Is talking about sexuality taboo?
- Outness/visibility: Is being out safe in public?
- Laws regarding homosexuality: Is it illegal to identify as LGBTQ+?
- Housing (and host family, if applicable): Should I come out to my host family? Should I come out to my roommate? Would I prefer to live alone?
- Availability & desire for LGBTQ+ community while abroad: Is there an LGBTQ+ community? Will I be able to be successful without an LGBTQ+ community?
- Nearby resources, organizations, and support: Are there resources nearby if I need assistance? Will I be able to access medical care that is affirming of my identity?
- Rural vs. urban environment: Will a rural environment provide the resources and community I desire?
- Host institution policies and programs: Is there an LGBTQ+ resource center on campus? Does the host institution celebrate and support diverse students? Does my host institution list gender identity and sexuality in their non-discrimination policies?
- Gender expression vs. legal sex (especially regarding visas and travel documents): Does the picture on your passport and any visas match your current gender expression? Does the legal sex designation on your documents match your current expression? Is there a spectrum of socially acceptable gender expression in the country you are studying?
- Name in Use vs. Name on legal documents: Does the university where you will be studying allow for a different name than your legal name to be reflected in campus records and systems? How will you introduce yourself with your current name if your professors, peers, staff, etc. know your legal name?
- Pronouns (especially for the Romance languages): Does the local language offer gender-neutral pronouns? Does it offer the pronouns you use? Do you know how to explain pronouns to people in the local language?
- Public Restrooms: When you are abroad, will you be able to comfortably and safely use public restrooms? How will you navigate gendered restroom options? How will you respond if you experience policing when attempting to use public restroom facilities?
- Access to healthcare: Will I need access to medications while abroad? What kind of documentation for these medicines do I need in the host country?
Erasmo Ruiz studied in Barcelona, Spain through ALBA. Now that he has earned his MS in Educational Leadership & Policy from PSU, he has returned to Spain in order to teach English at Colegio San Benito in Madrid.
My mission in studying abroad was to gain a global perspective, intercultural literacy, worldliness, and Spanish language fluency. I was also curious about the different languages and customs. My experience abroad has enabled me to see the world from a completely different perspective. This experience abroad has also made me more culturally competent, and motivated me to learn more about other cultures.
- Fund for Education Abroad Rainbow Scholarship
- Local and National LGBTQ+ Scholarships
Scholarships for LGBTQ Students
- For Education Abroad scholarships, please visit Scholarship Resources.
- LGBTQ+ International Safety Tips: A Guide to Safe Travel
Trans Non-Binary Experience Abroad (video by PSU student)
PSU Country-Specific Guide for LGBTQ+ Students
- LGBTQ Guide to Travel Safety
- Follow the Rainbow A presentation for queer and trans students going abroad, done as a collaboration between Education Abroad and the Queer Resource Center
- International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans & Intersex Association Information on legislation in different countries that affects members of the LGBTQ+ community.
- 2015 IGLA Lesbian & Gay Rights in the World Map
- LGBT Student Guide to Studying Abroad A Go Abroad publication with a step-by-step guide.
- "8 Questions LGBT Travelers Should Ask Before Traveling Abroad"
- Global Gayz Gay Travel, Culture & LGBTQ+ Human Rights.
- International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission Reports, newsletters and other information about the state of LGBTQ+ rights.
- Out Traveler Travel tips, lodging information and city guides specifically for the LGBTQ+ community.
- Spartacus International Gay Guide Travel Index A document that ranks countries based on how liberal and gay-friendly they are.
- National Center for Transgender Equality Information for transgender individuals regarding traveling and navigating airport security.
- NAFSA Rainbow Special Interest Group Information for U.S. students abroad.
- U.S. Department of State This website provides information for LGBTQ+ individuals going abroad-- including pre-departure and immigration resources.
- Diversity Issues in Study Abroad A Brown University publication of diverse student experiences while abroad.
- The LGBT Guide to Study Abroad A Tufts University guide based on location.
- Expert Advice for LGBTQ College Students Designed for LGBTQ students and anyone who supports them. From apps to campus organizations.