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 the demographic of your host community? What are the racial and ethnic majority or minority groups in your host country? Which groups have power and privilege? How does this compare to your home country, and how might these affect how you are perceived in your host country?
What is the racial and ethnic history of your host country? How are people that share the same or a similar racial, ethnic, or national identity treated in your host country?
Are there stereotypes about the different aspects of your identity in your host country?
Are there laws or attitudes in your host country that affect aspects of your racial, national, or ethnic identity?
How are current events shaping the way your race and ethnicity are interpreted by the host community?
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 tools you need to explore to navigate the culture you are in?
Has your host family housed students of your race or ethnicity before? Will there be other participants with the same racial or ethnic background in your program and/or accommodations? What support does the host university offer to visiting participants who hold your identity?
Will you be part of the racial or ethnic majority in your host country? How will that experience differ from your experience at home?
Do you regularly utilize any health or counseling services at home, and will these be available and covered by your insurance?
What other intersections of your identity may take the foreground if your race or ethnicity is not in the minority (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.
Integrating yourself in the culture will make you stand out less, but keep in mind that if your appearance is different to the local majority population, your skin tone, hair, or other features may still be highlighted.
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.
Research the history of your host location to familiarize yourself with the region’s ethnic and racial background. Understanding how this has changed over time may help you to contextualize some of the complex cultural dynamics you could encounter.
Research international student organizations on your host campus as well as clubs and organizations in your host community.
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.
Hispanic Scholarship Fund: HSF empowers families with the knowledge and resources to successfully complete a higher education, while providing scholarships and support services to as many exceptional students as possible.
Jackie Robinson Scholarship: “JRF Scholars” receive grants of up to $30,000 over four years to complement the financial aid they receive from their colleges or universities.
Ron Brown Scholarship: RBSP competitively awards Ron Brown Scholars four-year $40,000 scholarships ($10,000 each year) to the most talented and economically-challenged high school seniors who demonstrate a keen interest in public service, community engagement, business entrepreneurship and global citizenship
United Negro College Fund: The UNCF manages various scholarship programs and each program has its own eligibility criteria, open/close dates and required documentation. To apply for a UNCF scholarship, you must apply through the on-line application process.