Race, Ethnicity, and Education Abroad

Race and Ethnicity Abroad

UMass Amherst wants all students to feel prepared to navigate cultures and communities that vary widely in how race and ethnic identities are defined and understood. Studying abroad can also be an opportunity to expand and reflect on your own identity in a new context. 
We encourage everyone to learn more about different cultural norms and perceptions of racial and ethnic identities and other considerations regarding your education abroad experience. 
In some cases, students may be racial minorities at home, but studying abroad in a country where they are in the racial majority for the first time. It is important that students are aware of their own expectations and cultural assumptions as well. The following research questions are meant to help students develop a realistic understanding of how identity might play into student experience in various locations.

Think About:

  • What do I want to learn about myself, and about the host-community?
  • How will my racial or ethnic identity shape my experience abroad?
  • Is the host-community primarily homogeneous, or diverse? 
  • How is my race/ethnicity perceived in my host-location?
  • Are there stigmas or stereotypes present that I can prepare to alleviate and potentially dispel?
  • What do I need to research before going abroad in order to safely navigate and understand the new culture and community? 
  • How will I react if I encounter racism or other discriminatory behavior?

Before You Go:

  • Use the online resources, narratives, and blogs provided in addition to your own research on these themes.
  • We encourage students to reach out to their Education Abroad advisor for additional information and support.

UMass Amherst Campus Resources

The Center for Multicultural Advancement & Student Success provides academic support, cultural enrichment, student development as well as support for institutional diversity on the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus.

Useful Sites to Begin Your Exploration

Diversity Abroad: a website dedicated to helping students of color study abroad; includes advice, scholarship information, student testimonials, and more.

AllAbroad.us: a website advocating  for increased participation and diversity in study abroad. There are sections for students, parents and faculty/staff. See the "Mentor" section with video clips of mentors answering questions about study abroad.  Scholarship opportunities available.

PLATO: Project for Learning Abroad, Training & Outreach: a project addressing some of the issues and challenges ethnicity may play in the study abroad experience for underrepresented students, and linking to additional information, resources, and scholarships; this site includes the top 10 reasons for students from African-American, Hispanic- American, Native American, and Asian/Pacific Islander Backgrounds to study abroad.

Scholarships for Students of Color, Michigan State University: a comprehensive list of scholarships available to students of color considering study abroad.

On She Goes: A digital travel magazine for, and by women of color.

Hispanic Scholarship Fund: Scholarships for American Hispanic families.

Unpacked: A Study Abroad Guide for Students Like Me: For inclusive student blogs and stories 

Selected Reading