AIDE General Social Identity Resources
Non-Traditional Participant 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:
- Do you have work, home, and/or family obligations that prevent you from studying/interning abroad for an extended period of time?
- Will you need to set up auto-pay, pay rent in advance, or find a solution to store your belongings if you are in a long-term program?
- Will there be other non-traditional participants in your program? Are you comfortable interacting with students of different age groups?
- How do people in your host country view non-traditional age (sometimes referred to as mature) participants?
- What skills do you want to gain or improve while you are abroad? How might this experience help with defining your life in a relevant and important way?
- 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 need to change or tools you need to explore to navigate the culture you are in?
- What housing options are available for your program?
- Are there any physical limitations that you need to be mindful of when selecting a program?
- Do you regularly utilize any health or counseling services at home, and will these be available and covered by insurance abroad?
Tips to Consider While Abroad:
- There are different cultural norms abroad, and people you encounter may be less inclusive than you may expect.
- Look into short term programs if you cannot afford to spend an extended period away from your family and can’t take too much time off work.
- 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.
- Sometimes you might feel like you don’t fit in, but remember not to isolate yourself from the rest of the group. Get to know the others and let them get to know you.
- Upon your return, take time to reflect on how your worldview has developed through participation in a study abroad program.
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 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