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Gender Abroad

It is important for study abroad students to consider and ask questions about the cultural attitude towards gender identity in their location of interest. In nearly every study abroad location, it is likely that the gender roles and cultural norms will be different than what you students are used to experiencing in their home country. Students may feel that they are being treated differently than what they are used to when living in another country and it is a good idea to prepare for this. Transgender, non-binary, genderqueer, and cis-women students, in particular, may face certain challenges or issues related their gender while abroad. Some countries may conform to very traditional gender norms, while others may be more accepting of gender differences. It is important to research the country that you want to go to in order to prepare for cultural differences and to ensure a safe study abroad experience. Some important things to learn about include dating norms, gender discrimination and women’s safety.
 
As you start to plan your study abroad journey, it is important to consider some questions about your host culture of interest. These may influence where you choose to study abroad or how you prepare for the experience. Some of these questions might include:
 
  • Will others in my host country accept my identity?
  • Will I feel safe enough to talk about my gender identity?
  • How will others react to me telling them my preferred pronouns? How will I correct them if they misgender me?
  • Is the campus an inclusive environment? Are there student groups that support and create communities for trans/non-binary/genderqueer students?
  • Are there different housing opportunities available to ensure that I have a safe space?
  • Am I in the process of transitioning with the aid of hormones? Will I be able to bring the medical equipment with me that I need?
  • What should I do if the gender on my passport does not match my true gender?
  • Do I have a friend who is also considering studying abroad? Could we plan together to increase our safety while abroad? 

Resources
 

For trans, non-binary, and genderqueer students
 
Transrespect vs. Transphobia Worldwide
This tool reports on countries around the world and includes research on gender recognition, state-sponsored discrimination, and more.
 
IES Abroad - Being Non-binary in Spain
Read a non-binary student’s experience while abroad in Spain.
 
University Studies Abroad Consortium - Trans and Studying Abroad
This trans student talks about their study abroad experience, and offers advice for LGBTQIA+ students who plan to study abroad.
 
Matador Network Trans Safe Travel Guide
A trans* guide on safe traveling.
 
National Center for Transgender Equality
Know your rights: airport security.
 
For women
 
Diversity Abroad - Women Abroad
Helpful information for women who are considering studying abroad.
 
Government of Canada - Safe Travel Guide for Women
A safe-travel guide for women.
 
US Department of State: Traveling as a Woman
The US Department of State addresses issues that women may face while abroad.
 

Webster Resources

 
Webster Alliance
A Webster organization of LGBTQ+ students and allies.
 
Webster's Office of Study Abroad
Webster’s Office of Study Abroad is here to support you before, during, and after your education abroad experience. To discuss your options and concerns before studying abroad, please schedule an advising appointment with us.
 
Webster's Multicultural Center & International Student Affairs Office
The Multicultural Center & International Student Affairs office offers support in many ways. They meet with students to offer social advising, talk about mental health, and offer emotional support as well. Contact their office to see how study abroad fits in with your experience at Webster.