Identities Abroad and Away

UC Santa Cruz Study Abroad is committed to inclusion and equity in our various program options as well as striving to make everyone’s experiences abroad enriching, positive, and safe.

Studying abroad and away can present students with rewarding lifelong experiences that can challenge perceptions of identity. We tend to define ourselves using different features of our personalities, backgrounds, and physical appearance. Often identifying with several groups at once, we use these characteristics to distinguish ourselves as individuals and help us understand how we entwine in the larger context of American culture. When preparing yourself to be immersed in another culture, it is important to consider all the different ways that you identify as an individual, recognizing how your identity might be perceived abroad and away as well as how you want to present yourself to your host community.

Consider and anticipate the possible challenges you might face. For example, if your major identifying characteristic at home is race, it may surprise you that the people around you while you are abroad or away could find your nationality (perhaps US citizen) to be more significant. What rights do Queer people have in your host country? Will you be a minority or part of the majority abroad?

Use the links on the left to navigate sections based on your unique identity.

You can visit to learn more about travel warnings, visa requirements, and local laws. 

Project for Learning Abroad, Training, and Outreach (PLATO) has useful resources for scholarships and information to support underrepresented students in study abroad. Visit to learn more.