Richmond Home

Diversity

The University of Richmond is committed to fostering diversity and supporting diverse students in study abroad. The Office of International Education regularly works with LGBT students, multicultural students, and first-generation college students; our staff members are available to speak with any student with questions or concerns about studying abroad.

The University of Richmond prohibits discrimination and harassment against applicants, students, faculty or staff on the basis of race, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, status as a veteran or any classification protected by local, state or federal law.

First-Generation Students

First-generation students are the first in their family to go to college, which also means they are likely to be the first in their family to study abroad. This can lead to special concerns for the family and friends supporting these students as well as for the students themselves. 

Points to Consider When Selecting a Program

Selecting a study abroad program is an important decision. Here are a few points designed to help you select the destination that is best for you.

  • If this is your first time abroad, is it important to retain some cultural similarities? Or are you looking for as different an experience as possible?
  • Is the physical distance from your friends and family while you are abroad important? Example: Do you feel more comfortable going somewhere closer to the United States, like Mexico or the Caribbean, or would you consider somewhere very far away like India or New Zealand?
  • Are there opportunities for exchange students to indicate a preference for a specific roommate while abroad?
  • Consider how you will involve your family in your decision to study abroad. This is important, especially if they will be financing any portion of your semester abroad.
  • Do you need to choose a study abroad destination where having a job is permitted in order to help finance your semester abroad?
  • Are you looking for a program that offers practical experience, like an internship, as part of the program?

Preparing to Go Abroad

Once you have selected a destination, considering the following points prior to departure will help to ease your transition into your host culture.

  • How will you keep in touch with family and friends while you are abroad?
  • How do you plan to finance your semester abroad?
  • How important is it for you to find multicultural friends while you are abroad? How will you connect with them?
  • How will you incorporate your experiences abroad back into your life at Richmond upon your return from abroad, especially if this is the first time you have been abroad?

First-Time Travelers

Here is a helpful article written for Purdue University that also applies in large part to UR students and their families who are first-time travelers.

Talk with an Advisor

If you would like to speak with someone about any concerns you or your family may have related to study abroad, feel free to schedule an appointment with an advisor.

LGBT Students

As a LGBT student, there are some additional things you may want to consider as you research study abroad programs.

  • What cultural attitudes, laws, or context exist towards sexual orientation in the host country?
  • What is the social perception of LGBT people in the host country?
  • What is considered typical male and female social behavior, including gender roles and gender relations, in the host country?
  • Are there any LGBT-friendly establishments near the program site?
  • Can the program accommodate special housing requests such as single rooms, private baths, or certain roommates?
  • Does the program have any other resources available for LGBT students?
  • Is there a LGBT community nearby?

Preparing to Go Abroad

Once you have selected a destination, consider the following points prior to departure to ease the transition into your host culture.

  • How open will I be about my sexual orientation and gender identity with people in my host country? How might this impact my experience abroad?
  • How important is it for me to find other LGBT students and friends while I am abroad? How will I connect with them?
  • What kinds of LGBT-friendly establishments, organizations, or resources are available in my host country? How will I access them?
  • What may make the coming-out process different in my host country compared to the U.S.?
  • How will I incorporate my experiences abroad back into my life at Richmond upon my return from abroad, especially if I have come out for the first time while abroad?

Before you go abroad, take special care to familiarize yourself with your host country’s laws pertaining to LGBT persons. The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Association has an interactive map showing country-specific information about sexual orientation laws worldwide. You may also consider purchasing the most current edition of one of the various gay and lesbian international reference guides before departing from the United States. Your safety could be at stake if you are not familiar with how LGBT persons are legally treated in your host country.

While Abroad

Whatever your own sexual orientation, please keep in mind that there may be LGBT students within your study abroad peers as well as the various groups of individuals you encounter in the host country environment. Some will be 'out,' some not, and some may just be coming to terms with their sexual identity. Sensitivity to this diversity within your own group as well as the diversity of the host culture will further enrich your overall abroad experience.

Other Resources

Trip Planning

Talk with an Advisor

Most of the study abroad advisors (Amy Bergmann, Michele Cox, and Chris Klein) are Safe Zone members and can answer your questions about study abroad in a confidential, supportive, one-on-one setting.

If you would like to speak with someone about any questions or concerns you or your family may have related to study abroad, feel free to schedule an appointment with one of these advisors.

Multicultural Students

As a multicultural student, you may want to consider the following points to help you select the destination that is best for you:

  • What cultural attitudes, laws, or context exist towards multicultural students in the host country? You will need to consider what the racial, religious, or other majorities are in your intended host country as you answer this question.
  • Are there opportunities for exchange students to indicate a preference for a roommate with a similar cultural or religious background as themselves?
  • Are there multicultural community activities nearby?

Preparing to Go Abroad

Once you have selected a destination, considering the following points prior to departure will help to ease your transition into your host culture.

  • How open will I be about my cultural heritage with people in my host country? How might this impact my experience abroad?
  • How important is it for me to find other multicultural friends while I am abroad? How will I connect with them?
  • How will I stay in touch with my support network back home while I am abroad?
  • How will I incorporate my experiences abroad back into my life at Richmond upon my return from abroad, especially if I have been a racial minority for the first time while abroad?

Other Resources

Talk with an Advisor

If you would like to speak with someone about any concerns you or your family may have related to study abroad, feel free to schedule an appointment with an advisor.

Scholarships for Diversity in Study Abroad

In addition to Richmond’s study abroad scholarships, consider applying for funding specifically for diverse students. Funding resources include: