Religious Diversity

Russia, End of the Graffiti Trail - Katie Rees

Religious Diversity Spirituality and religion play an important role in many of our students' lives, and in the lives of the host community members. One of the most exciting and interesting things about experiencing another culture is developing a multi-dimensional understanding of religious traditions and beliefs that differ from our own. It is a good idea to research religion in your host country before you go abroad. Maybe you’re used to being part of the religious majority at home, but will be part of the religious minority abroad.

If you are planning to practice your religion abroad, you can see if there are any places of worship you can visit. You’ll also want to find out what degree of religious tolerance there is in your host country. Will it be safe for you to wear religious symbols and/or clothing? How are atheists perceived? By going abroad, you’ll gain a new perspective on religion. You’ll return home with an increased familiarity with other belief systems and a greater respect for them.

Must Ask Questions about Religion

  • What is the dominant religion in my host country?
  • Will I be part of the religious majority or minority abroad?
  • Are there any laws regarding religion? Is there a separation between religion and government?
  • How tolerant is the host country of other religions? What about atheists and agnostics?
  • Is it safe for me to wear religious symbols or clothing?

Tips about Religion

  • Stay open minded about religious practices, even if you receive criticism for your beliefs.
  • If you are planning to practice your religion abroad, you may want to find out what places of worship there are.
  • If you have religious dietary restrictions, be sure to let your program director or appropriate staff know ahead of time.
  • Depending on where you go, religion may have a larger or smaller role than it does in the U.S.
  • Use your experience abroad to learn about world religions the role they play in diverse cultures.

Resources