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For all students wishing to study abroad—schedule an appointment with your academic advisor to determine how to best apply your coursework abroad towards graduation requirements and post-graduation goals. We also recommend you discuss questions or concerns about being a multicultural student with someone on campus with whom you are comfortable, such as your academic advisor or a staff member on campus (i.e. UMD Study Abroad office or Office of Diversity & Inclusion staff). It is imperative that you address any concerns before embarking on an experience as major as studying abroad.
Prefer to discuss your concerns about studying abroad with someone else?
The Multicultural Study Abroad Group (MSAG) can help you locate advisors who frequently work with multicultural students. These advisors know how to help you start planning to fit study abroad into your degree. They also have experience working with the students who face similar challenges that you are facing when you consider study abroad.
Things to Consider
You may experience anxiety regarding your acceptance, or ability to adapt socially and academically to your new host country. As a multicultural student, you may be concerned about facing potential racial bias and prejudice without the support system you have at home. On the other hand, you may be looking forward to being part of the majority population for the first time in your life. Or, you may be planning a self-discovery journey to the country or region of your family’s heritage. Whatever the impetus, studying abroad will present a unique learning opportunity that will serve you well in the future.
When considering potential destinations, make an informed choice. Take into consideration all facets of a culture, including possible racism. Research the political, cultural and historical context of your country of interest to find information on the racial climate, and be prepared for what you may face. If you would like to speak with a student of your same racial or ethnic background, our office may be able to put you in touch with past multicultural students who have studied abroad.
It’s important to be aware of possible racial prejudices and discrimination that might exist in your country of interest. Certain situations may arise abroad that you should be aware of and able to overcome. Overcoming discrimination abroad can be similar to methods used at home. If possible, find new support groups and adjust to a new comfort zone while abroad. Learn as much as possible about the context of your host culture regarding issues such as race, ethnicity, and perceptions of minorities. Prevent tension by researching the host culture prior to departure.
Questions to ask
- What is the current status of race/ethnic relations in your country of interest? Are there local stereotypes or discrimination regarding individuals of my background that might be similar or different to what I experience in the U.S.?
- Are there implications of studying in a location that is (or closely linked to) my family’s country of origin?
- What are the implications for my experience of studying in a “third” culture (neither related to my heritage nor the U.S.)?
The UMD Office of DIversity & Inclusion is another campus resource to connect with other multicultural students.
UMD Office of Diversity & Inclusion
270 Kirby Student Center
1120 Kirby Drive
Duluth, MN 55812-3085
- Breaking Barriers: Non-Traditional Students Before and After Study Abroad, San Francisco State University
- Diversity Issues in Study Abroad, Brown University
- Reflections of Asian American Students, NAFSA
- Diversity Abroad
- Race Abroad | Glimpse – Study Abroad Acclimation Guides
Students of Color: Funding Options
Research programs and sources of funding for students of color groups in the U.S.:
- US Dept. of Education: Minority Student Scholarship Opportunities
- American Indian College Fund (AICF)
- AIFS Scholarships & Grants
- Hispanic Scholarship Fund
- United Negro College Fund (UNCF)
- NAFSA | Underrepresented Populations: Funding Options
Michigan State University International Studies and Programs Office of Study Abroad. (n.d.). Information for Multicultural Students. Retrieved from: http://studyabroad.isp.msu.edu/people/studentsofcolor/