Sexual & Gender Diversity

Whether you identify as a gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, transgender, or heterosexual student—or are exploring and discovering—it is important to be aware of the cultural, legal and social issues regarding sexual and gender identity abroad, and how they could affect interactions with people in your host country. 
 
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA+) people are part of communities throughout the world. Just as in the U.S., views of sexual and gender diversity vary by region. Every culture has its own gender norms, dating/courting traditions, and understandings of sexuality, and these influence attitudes, beliefs, and the laws regarding gender and sexuality abroad.
 
Tips when choosing a program
 
Do research. In order to have a rewarding and safe experience, investigate international attitudes and laws that impact sexuality and gender  orientation, and norms for friendship and dating.
 
Be aware of the laws. Even if you do not plan to have a sexual relationship while away, educate yourself about specific laws pertaining to sexual behavior and gender expression, especially the age of consent and the legality of same-sex sexual behavior.
 
Use online resources. Explore LGBTQIA+ travel guides and online resources to get a better idea of social norms and customs in countries where you wish to travle.
 
Always put your safety first, but don't minimize your academic goals. If you are interested in studying in a location that may be historically unsafe for LGBTQIA+ populations, consider ways you can stay safe and have a rewarding academic experience. 
 
 
Questions to Consider
  • Will local cultural values and host-country laws affect my decision in where to study abroad?
  • Does my LGBTQ+ identity conflict with religious or cultural values and traditions?
  • What, if any, safety considerations should I be aware of? Is it safe for me to be out about my sexual identity in the countries I'm considering?
  • What is the social perception of members of the LGBTQ+ community in the region where I would like to study?
  • What programs offer LGBTQ+ friendly housing options?
  • What countries offer trans-friendly housing and will be appropriate to support my transition and my new identity?
Questions to Consider Before You Depart
  • What are cultural norms for dating and friendship in my host country?
  • How do my personal values compare to my host country’s attitudes about sexuality and gender diversity?
  • If desired, how can I find a community or friends that share my gender or sexuality abroad?
  • How open will I be about my sexual orientation/gender identity with my peers, teachers, friends, host family/roommates, and others?
  • In what situations. if any, would I not disclose my identity?
  • The LGBTQIA+ community is often misunderstood by others. To what degree am I comfortable educating others and dispelling myths?

Transgender Resources

  • When creating an airline reservation, use the same name and gender that is on your government-issued ID. If your government-issued ID does not reflect your identified gender, you may be able to change it. For more information see: travel.state.gov
  • If you need specific medications, supplies, or services to properly care for your needs, including those related to physical transition, speak to your program coordinator about availability abroad.
  • If you have medical equipment or prostheses in your carry-on, you may want to ask TSA to screen your bag in private. 
  • Air Travel Tips for Transgender Students Studying Abroad
Tips
Ask your program coordinator to provide country-specific information (like cultural attitudes regarding same-sex marriage) and program-specific information (options for gender-neutral restrooms and housing). Find a support network while you are abroad. If you experience difficulties, you should contact your program staff immediately.
 
Resources

Announcements

Study Abroad Information Center
To learn more about your study abroad options, we encourage you to visit the Study Abroad Info Center (105 Lippincott Hall). The Study Abroad Info Center offers walk-in advising for current and prospective students. Drop by to learn more about program options, make an appointment with a study abroad program coordinator, get information on scholarships and financial aid, and talk to returned study abroad students. We also encourage you to explore the resources available on our website to learn more about the application process, KU Core Approved programs, and the cost of study abroad. 

Study Abroad Information Center
Lippincott Hall, Room 105
1410 Jayhawk Boulevard
Hours: Monday - Friday. 9AM - 5 PM
Contact: studyabroad@ku.edu
 

Study Abroad Financial Advising
The Office of Study Abroad has weekly 'You Can Afford to Study Abroad' Financial Aid and Scholarship Info Sessions/Open Meetings on Wednesday afternoons at 4:00 pm and Thursday afternoons at 2:00 pm in the Info Center (105 Lippincott Hall). The financial aid officer will be happy to take any questions and can offer individual advising at the end of sessions for specific concerns. For those that cannot attend the weekly Info Sessions due to scheduling conflicts, we also offer appointments for financial planning as well as financial aid and scholarship advising for students. Please visit 108 Lippincott Hall or call 785-864-3742 to set up an appointment.

 

Follow KU Study Abroad

TwitterInstagramPinterestFacebook

Jayhawks Abroad Blog

Study Abroad Events
IIE Generation Study Abroad Partner

9th among public universities in the country for high quality, low cost study abroad programs — U.S. News & World Report
Longest-running exchange program in Western Hemisphere (begun in 1958) between KU and University of Costa Rica
18th in the nation among public universities for undergraduate participation in study abroad — Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange
28.1% of KU undergraduate students study abroad prior to graduation.
KU students who study abroad graduate in four years at twice the rate of students who do not study abroad
More than 160 study abroad programs in 75 countries, with instruction in all disciplines and 20+ languages
Students can study abroad for an academic year, semester, summer, spring break, or winter break
Programs include international study, internships, service, and research opportunities
Students participating in semester, academic year, and select summer programs fulfill Goal 4.2 of the KU Core curriculum
Students can fulfill major, minor, certificate, elective, and KU Core curriculum requirements abroad
Programs are available for students in every major at KU
Financial aid is applicable to study abroad programs, and most KU scholarships and grants can be applied to study abroad
The Office of Study Abroad and many academic departments offer scholarships to qualified KU students
By studying abroad, students gain a global perspective on the world and strengthen their career opportunities
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times