Religion, Spirituality & Creed Abroad

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. If your religious or spiritual community is important to you, you may want to seek out this community while abroad. Depending on where you study abroad, you may be able to connect with your religious community abroad.

The following reflection questions may be helpful to consider:

  • What is the dominant religion in my host country? Will I be a part of the religious majority or minority in my host country?
  • How might my religious practice or identity be affected if I study in a country where the dominant religion is not my own?
  • Do any parts of my identity conflict with my host country’s religious values or attitudes?
  • Are there any laws regarding religion? Is there a separation between religion and government?
  • How tolerant is the culture in my host country of other religions, atheists and agnostics?
  • Is it safe for me to wear religious symbols or clothing?
  • Even if I do not practice the religion in my host country, how can I respect the religion and participate in religious cultural events?
  • If I have religious dietary restrictions, can they be accommodated in my host country and program housing? Who can I contact to discuss my specific religious requirements?
  • If you are living in a homestay, are you open to living in a household with a different religious background than yours?
  • Will I be able to find places of worship in my host country?
  • Are there any religious holidays that will take place during my stay?

Religion, Spirituality & Creed Resources

It is important to consider the role that religion and spirituality play within a culture, especially if the major religion of that country differs from your own. Doing research before you arrive in your host country can help you gain a better understanding of the people and culture, while giving you a sense of what to expect during your time abroad as it relates to your own religious practice and spirituality.

BU Resources & Community:

Religious Life at Boston University

Ambassador Program: Ask our Study Abroad Ambassadors about their experiences abroad!

Additional Resources:

If you don’t feel represented on this page or if you feel that other resources or terminology should be included, please reach out to us to contribute your thoughts. This is a living document that is a work in progress that we’d like you to collaborate with us on. If you would like additional resources, or if you have found your own resources that other students could benefit from, please don’t hesitate to contact us at abroad@bu.edu.