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:
Does your host country have a military? How are people who serve in the military treated in your host country and how does this compare to your experience at home?
Do you need to maintain a fitness regimen, and what facilities will be available?
How will the academic and cultural context abroad shape this international experience compared to your time abroad in the military?
Will you need to list your military service on a visa application, and will there be a visa issue if you have served in certain countries?
Will you discuss your military experience with locals, and if so, how? How might it be perceived?
Do you regularly utilize any health or counseling services at home, and will these be available and covered by insurance abroad?
Are there stereotypes in your host country about the different aspects of your identity?
If you find something to be offensive, harmful, hurtful or insensitive, what would your reaction be in your home culture and how would it be in your host culture? Is there anything about your reactions that needs to change or be adjusted to keep you safe?
Tips to Consider While Abroad:
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.
Be mindful that there are different cultural norms abroad and that people you encounter may be less inclusive than you may expect.
Research the military history of your host location to familiarize yourself with the region’s background related to U.S. military involvement. Understanding how this has changed over time may help you to contextualize some of the complex cultural dynamics you could encounter.
Worried about a current or future security clearance? Create a spreadsheet to store sustained foreign contact information for serious connections you make abroad. Keep track of your addresses abroad and details for two references per address. You can check out the SF-86 form for more info.
Utilize your network of friends, both abroad and at home, and your host family, if applicable.
Don’t go abroad expecting discrimination, but be prepared if an incident does arise.
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.