Boston University Study Abroad seeks to build and sustain programs that make every student, whether from Boston University or elsewhere, feel prepared, welcomed, supported, empowered and valued throughout their experience.
Studying in a new location, either abroad or elsewhere within the U.S., opens a window to diverse and different practices, values, points of view, and ways of life. Similarly, our students embody a wide range of identities that can affect their experiences while on a study abroad program. BU Study Abroad is committed to preparing all students to adapt and thrive in their new surroundings and ensuring that all our programs are safe, welcoming, and accessible regardless of ability, gender, sexual orientation, race or ethnicity, economic status, nationality, religion, or any intersection of these identities.
These pages provide resources as you are navigating your study abroad options to help you reflect on what your study abroad experience might look like. We encourage you to be in touch with our office if there is any additional information that would be helpful for you as you plan your journey. We look forward to supporting and empowering you throughout your study abroad experience.
BU Study Abroad is here to support students with physical, psychological, and learning disabilities on BU Study Abroad programs around the world. It is important to discuss this information so our staff can help you plan, and to research the attitudes, perceptions, and laws surrounding accessibility abroad, as these may vary depending on where you go. Explore your resources further here.
Concepts of gender and gender roles can vary greatly from place to place. There are differing ideas about family, age, norms, and everyday customs that are rooted in history, religion, or politics. You may see these concepts at work in a classroom, homestay, or internship placement. It’s important to be prepared for this new experience by understanding the laws, norms, customs, and attitudes in your new surroundings. Explore your resources further here.
Race & Ethnicity
Race and ethnicity can take on new meaning when studying abroad, and cultural perceptions of ethnicity and race may vary significantly around the world. Understanding how your host culture embraces ethnicity, and how your racial or ethnic identity might shape your experience, will be helpful to reflect upon before you study abroad. Explore your resources further here.
Religion and Spirituality
Regardless of your own religious or spiritual beliefs, you may be exposed to different beliefs during your time abroad as it relates to religion and spirituality. Remember that you will be expected to follow the local laws and cultural norms of your host country. In some countries, laws, customs, dress and diet may reflect the values of the dominant religion. Explore your resources further here.
Sexuality and sexual orientation can be more or less accepted depending on where you are in the world. It’s important to be prepared for what the local views on the gay, lesbian, and queer community are. Our office strives for inclusion and safety for all students at all locations, regardless of their sexuality. Explore your resources further here.
Finding your community in your new city can be a huge help when it comes to feeling comfortable in a new place. Social media sites such as Facebook and Reddit are great places to start to find groups of other people that will be near you that you can reach out to, as well as places to hang out, or where to get access to certain resources. Your site staff may also have suggestions for community groups at partnering universities, where relevant, or nearby clubs. Other students studying abroad with you may be dealing with similar things, so it’s always good to lean on your peers.
Discrimination is the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people. If you experience discrimination while abroad there are resources to help you navigate the encounter. Your first step would be to contact the on-site staff. They are often best situated to offer resources and support and to assist in filing a complaint. If you are not comfortable working with on-site staff, there are a number of other Boston University resources available to you:
- BU Study Abroad Office (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Program Managers
- Office of the Dean of Students
- Equal Opportunity Office
- Your School or College’s Dean’s office
- To file a report, you can click here
Diversity Abroad is an organization that works “to ensure diverse students have equitable access to and maximize the interpersonal, academic, and career benefits afforded through global education.” While we have referenced Diversity Abroad as a resource throughout these pages, we encourage you to visit their website to find additional resources that might be of interest to you. Diversity Abroad seeks to “provides a place for students to access curated resources, build community and get connected to global programs and career opportunities from colleges and companies who are committed to ensuring more young people from traditionally marginalized and underrepresented backgrounds are positioned to thrive in our interconnected world.”