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 firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. We would be happy to connect you.
Questions to Think About:
What is your inspiration for going abroad? This can include heritage reasons, a book or movie you enjoy, or wanting to explore a subject comparatively to how you understand it in the U.S. context.
Do you need to get a passport? The steps to follow and application can be found online at USA.gov. Your study abroad office and/or university might offer assistance with this process as well.
Have you ever flown on a long-haul flight?
Do you need to secure extra funding? Talk with your study abroad office and financial aid office to understand how your financial aid package will apply to a study and/or internship abroad and what additional funding sources exist at your campus and online. Keep in mind that scholarship deadlines often fall before program deadlines, so start planning as soon as possible.
What sort of support structures will help you be most successful throughout the study/internship abroad experience?
How will you introduce the idea of studying/interning abroad to your family? How will you continue the conversation if they are not supportive at first?
Are there stereotypes in your host country about the different aspects of your identity?
What other intersections of your identity may take the foreground if your first-generation status is not recognized in the host country (race, citizenship, first language, gender, sexuality, religion, etc.)?
Tips to Consider While Abroad:
There are different cultural norms abroad, and people you encounter may be less inclusive than you may expect.
Although a social identity for many U.S. college students, first-generation status is not as common at universities abroad, so you will likely not find support specifically for that aspect of your identity. However, many universities have support structures in place that you may find helpful in addition to the AIFS staff on-site.
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.
Create a budget to help with your finances before you go abroad and adjust if needed once you get used to your routine while in-country. Make sure to include day-to-day spending, possible excursions, potential trips, and incidentals. Find activities and experiences that fit into your budget. When invited to an activity, be encouraged to accept or decline the invite based on your budget and personal preferences.
Remember that all your life experiences will be great training for any difficulties you might face while abroad. You have the means to navigate this experience successfully, and doing so will better prepare you for your career and life ahead.
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 email@example.com.
Questions and tips include selections from the University of Alabama Capstone International and Michigan State University Office for Education Abroad websites.
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