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Center for Global Education

LGBTQIA+ Students Abroad

» LGBTQIA+ Students Abroad

As a student who identifies as LGBTQIA+, there are some additional considerations and issues to consider before and during your time abroad. Aspects of your gender and sexual orientation identities may feel highlighted while you are abroad because of cultural differences in the local community.

After reviewing steps to go abroad, practical considerations, and LGBTQIA+ student abroad stories, meet with your Global Education Advisor for additional questions and support.

LGBTQIA+ students abroad have the opportunity to:

  • Understand gender & sexuality in cultural contexts.
  • Gain a new perspective on identity.
  • Build transnational solidarity with LGBTQIA+ communities.
  • Learn about different social movements advocating for gender and sexual rights.
  • Challenge the perceptions of LGBTQIA+ people.
  • Confront diversity issues in an unfamiliar culture.

Getting Started

Questions to Consider When Selecting a Program

The Center for Global Education can help you find a program that best aligns with your needs, interests and considerations below:

  • What are the cultural attitudes, perceptions, and police attitudes toward sexual orientation and gender identity in my host community? Do local laws protect LGBTQIA+ people?
  • What are considered gender-specific social behaviors and customary gender relations in the host country?
  • Do I prefer a single or shared room, and/or access to gender-neutral restrooms? 
  • How open will I be about my sexual orientation and/or gender identity with my in-country staff, professors, peers, host family and others?
  • How important is it to me to find other LGBTQIA+ students and friends while abroad? What are my expectations about seeking and finding community?
  • Are equipped/supportive doctors and mental health practitioners available in my host country?
  • Will I need access to any medications or supplies? Are they available in my host country? If not,
    will I need any additional documentation to travel with my medication or supplies?

LGBTQIA+ Friendly Locations pride-parade-2-1.jpg

The way LGBTQIA+ individuals are perceived vary from country to country and also within regions of the same country. Research the safety implications in the host country to help mitigate risks and understand how your LGBTQIA+ identity may affect your experience.

The locations listed below have laws to protect the LGBTQIA+ community, local organizations that provide advocacy and support, multimedia resources about LGBTQIA+ identities in the region, and LGBTQIA+ events.

  • Argentina (Buenos Aires)
  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Costa Rica
  • Czech Republic
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hong Kong
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Spain
  • South Africa (Cape Town)
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • The Netherlands
  • United Kingdom

Visit the Country-specific guide on LGBTQIA+ rights and social attitudes for the most popular countries where Chapman students study abroad.

Please note that you are still subject to your host country’s laws even if you feel they are discriminatory.

Male student on the beach with penguins
Noah Feinberg '18
Television and Writing Production
My time in Cape Town showed me a completely different side of the LGBTQIA+ experience. I also recognized certain aspects that resembled my experiences with the LGBTQIA+ community in the states. Having lived in suburban towns my whole life, experiencing the LGBTQIA+ culture in various countries throughout Africa was an invaluable experience.

LGBTQIA+ Student Stories Abroad

  • Out and About: The Different Experiences of LGBT+ Abroad: Chapman student Kate Minzner '16 reflects on LGBTQIA+ students' experiences abroad
  • Dopes on the Road: Meg Ten Eyck, an LGBTQIA+ advocate and community educator, shares her transgender guide to staying safe while traveling.
  • Out and Abroad: LGBTQIA+ Study Abroad Panel: Hear from previous LGBTQIA+ Chapman study abroad participants about their global experience:

Preparing to Go Abroad pride_cover-1.jpg

Once you've been accepted into a program, the items below will help make sure you are prepared for your international experience!

  • Research your host culture. The more you know, the better prepared you will be for the interaction between your identity and new environment. 
  • Think about how you will answer questions about your identity in your host country language - look up key vocabulary words ahead of time.
  • If you choose to come out while abroad, how will this impact your family and friend relationships? If you choose not to disclose your identity while abroad, how will this impact your experience?
  • Check out IGLTA's free travel resources and information who continuously working to promote equality and safety within LGBTQ+ tourism worldwide.
  • Read Diversity Abroad's helpful information for LGBTQ+ students abroad.
  • If you are transitioning, you may want to update your passport to represent your gender. View laws, rights, and policies about selecting your gender marker on passports, knowing your passport rights, and rights with airport security.
  • To find communities abroad through social media, you can follow @lgbtqtravelers and @iglta.

LGBTQIA+ Study Abroad Scholarships 

Once you are accepted into a study abroad program, you can seek out and apply for scholarships to help support your international educational journey:

While Abroad

Once you are abroad, check in with program staff who are trained to help all students work through their adjustment and may have mental health support as well.

You can always reach out to the CGE at globaled@chapman.edu if you need assistance or Public Safety in an emergency at (714)997-6763. 

Additionally, we would love to get any photos or stories about your time abroad. We can share them with other students who are considering studying abroad.