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:
How is mental health and wellness viewed at your host institution, host country, and host culture?
What resources do you usually use to maintain your mental health and wellness? Will they be available to you during your time abroad?
Do you regularly utilize any health or counseling services at home, and will these be available and covered by insurance abroad?
What healthy coping mechanisms can you utilize while adjusting to a new culture and/or experiencing culture shock?
Do you regularly utilize medication to maintain your mental health? If so, is the medication legal in your host country? If not, is there an alternative medication or treatment that your doctor can prescribe? Are you able to bring enough of the medication with you? If so, what is the legal amount of medication that you can bring?
Are there support groups at your host institution or organizations or groups in your host community?
Tips to Consider While Abroad:
Although mental health and wellness are perceived differently in different countries and cultures, many universities around the world have professional and medical support structures in place that you may find helpful in addition to the AIFS Abroad staff on-site and insurance.
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 an additional support system of family, friends, mentors, program alumni, and/or staff from your home institution and host institution that can be of comfort and encouragement as you navigate your journey abroad.
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.
Although AIFS Abroad is committed to supporting all students in their study abroad journey, we cannot guarantee that it will be possible to honor all accommodation requests. AIFS staff will review all requests, consult with onsite staff and host institutions and communicate with you throughout this process.