AIDE General Social Identity Resources
Faith, Spirituality, and Religion Abroad
At AIFS Abroad, we want to support all participants in their study/internship abroad journey, inclusive of gender, race, religion, age, physical ability, or sexual orientation. Everyone has a complex identity, and faith, spirituality, and religion are important factors when deciding on a program location.
Everyone’s experience is unique. We recognize the location you choose can have an impact on your sense of belonging. We encourage you to use the information below as you review your options to select the program and location that will be the best choice for you. If you do not hold the identities that are amplified here, this information is still a great resource for you as well. It will give you a better understanding of those who have this identity.
If you would like to speak with AIFS alumni who share your social identities or one of our AIDE Advocates, you can use the student portal or email us at email@example.com and let us know. We would be happy to connect you.
Questions to Think About:
- What are the dominant religions in your host country? How similar or different are they to your own beliefs?
- Will you be a part of the majority or minority in your faith, spiritual, and/or religious practice?
- Does religion heavily influence the government and legal system in your host country? What are the laws regarding faith, spirituality, and/or religion?
- Is it safe to practice your religious or spiritual beliefs in your host country/culture? Can you wear religious clothing or other outward displays of your spiritual/religious beliefs?
- Is your host country/culture accepting of other religions and spiritual practices?
- Will you be able to practice your dietary habits in your host country? What provisions do you need to make or questions do you need to ask as you prepare for your program?
- In what ways can you respect and learn from the other religious and spiritual practices that are present in your host country/culture?
Tips to Consider While Abroad:
- Be mindful that the different cultural norms around faith, spirituality, and religion that you encounter abroad may be less inclusive than you may expect. More details on cultural norms will be provided in your pre-departure handbook and at the on-site orientation upon arrival.
- Be mindful of culturally-appropriate clothing for different locations, including religious or sacred spaces, beaches, and in the classroom.
- AIFS Abroad staff in-country are there to support you, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. They can provide insight into local cultural norms, connect you with resources in your host community and assist you if you experience challenges.
- It is recommended that all participants follow “common sense” safety precautions as they would in the United States, are vigilant of their surroundings and make a conscious effort to travel in groups as often as possible.
If you witness or experience discrimination while abroad, we encourage you to report it to AIFS Abroad staff. If you do not feel comfortable reporting to staff on-site – or if the incident involves on-site staff – please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions and tips include selections from the University of Alabama Capstone International, Diversity Abroad, and Michigan State University Office for Education Abroad websites.
AIFS Abroad Scholarships and Grants
AIFS Abroad offers scholarships and grants for participants. Learn more:
Scholarships & Grants