Diversity Resources

Center for International and Cultural Education

Study away is for everyoneForced perspective shot looks like a person in a tennis shoe stepping on a tiny Stonehenge! Whatever your gender identity, racial and ethnic identities, relative levels of ability, sexuality, religion (or none), nationality(-ies), economic status – study away is for you, and there are programs that can work!

Jump to: Myths & Facts • Online Resources for Diverse Students

At Gustavus, we do not consider studying away a luxury that belongs only to a few people. We know that gaining global understanding is important for literally every student. While national borders matter in terms of our nationalities, our relative ability to travel the globe, and in other ways, they do not hold much sway over the flow of commerce and ideas, our propsects for global sustainability, or the future of work in our world. We want every Gustie to develop nuanced and practical perspectives on these and other global concerns – and this means you!

Consider some of the myths and facts about identity and study away:

  • Myth: Study away is only for students with lots of financial resources.
    Fact: On the contrary, study away is not only for wealthier folks! There are many affordable programs – and we add more affordable opportunities to the list each year. Some of the semester options cost no more than studying on campus! There is also a lot of need-based funding out there for study away, and we can help you think about what some of those options are.
  • Myth: Study away is for students in the languages or who study culture in fields like anthropology.
    Fact: Sure, study away is great for students in those fields, but gaining intercultural competence and global understanding is important for every student in every field. And there are opportunities targeted to nearly every major, plus short-term opportunities that you can choose as an elective.
  • Myth: Studying away does not work for students with disabilities.
    Fact: There are definitely added challenges for students with disabilities, but that does not mean that studying away is impossible. Students with disabilities study away all the time! Talk with the CICE team and the Accessibility Coordinator about what might work for you. See us as early as you can as you start planning.
  • Myth: Studying away is only for U.S. students.
    Fact: Nope! Study away is open to all of our degree-seeking Gusties, including our international students. Sure, the U.S. is already a new environment for many of you, but there's no reason not to gain the added benefits of studying in another new location (or multiple other locations, in some programs).
  • Myth: Studying away gets you off-track for graduation.
    Fact: Not at all. Gusties are able to choose programs wisely to continue making degree progress. Seldom does any Gustie end up adding a semester because they studied away (it's only an issue when studying away contributes to a decision to change majors and, even then, students usually graduate on time).
  • Myth: Studying away may be unsafe for LGBTQ+ students.
    Fact: While there are certainly location- and culture-specific things to think about, a lot of LGBTQ+ students study away in all kinds of locations and regions and have wonderful experiences. Sometimes, seeing genders and sexualities from the perspective(s) of another culture is one of the best ways to get a broader view of how identities work.
  • Myth: For U.S. students from racial and ethnic minority backgrounds, it's best to study away in a place related to your ethnic heritage (e.g., African American students studying in Africa, etc.).
    Fact: This idea is maddeningly limiting! All students, regardless of their identities, should consider their full array of objectives when looking at study away opportunities. If exploring your heritage is important to you, that's great! But for most students, criteria such as academic offerings, type of program experience, available housing options, costs, and other factors play an important role, and that makes sense for everyone. Besides, 'heritage study away' is sometimes disappointing, as it seldom feels like the homecoming we might imagine for ourselves (and this is true for everyone: Asian Americans, Latin Americans, African Americans, European Americans, Middle Eastern Americans, Pacific Islanders, etc.).
  • Myth: Studying away is not an option for undocumented students or students in the DACA program.
    Fact: It's true that undocumented students should not travel abroad, and DACA students will want to consider carefully the current political climate in the U.S. However, even if going abroad is not workable, there are a lot of U.S. opportunities, including 160+ options through the National Student Exchange program alone (plus internships in Washington D.C., the Oregon Extension Program, and more!). For students with DACA status, it is possible to apply for 'advance parole' to re-enter the U.S. after a time spent abroad, but it's always wise to consult with an immigration attorney about whether the present time is a good moment for international study away.
Online Resources from Diversity Abroad:

Diversityabroad.com​ website for students from diverse backgrounds
Diversity Abroad Network​ website for professionals: resources; learning opportunities 

Diversity & Inclusion Resources:
Online Resources from IES Abroad*:

*IES Abroad is one of several Gustavus study away partners. Many of their resources are useful to students considering any study away program, though.