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To see more information about gender identity and going abroad, please see our Gender Identity Page.

Goals in Studying Abroad

How do your goals in studying abroad relate to your LGBTQIA+ identity? Some students choose to go to countries that discriminate against LGBTQIA+ individuals because they want to share the experiences of those struggling to get respected. Others choose a country that is already tolerant and affirming of LGBTQIA+ identity so they can express themselves freely. Regardless of your choice, a study abroad experience can be an eye-opening and valuable experience.

This article, from our partners at USAC, talks about 5 tips for finding a LGBTQIA+ friendly study abroad program. 

Laws and Safety In Relation to Sexual Identity

It is important to remember that when abroad you are no longer protected by U.S. laws. Some countries may have discriminatory laws against same-sex sexual behavior and expressions of LGBTQIA+ identity. Resources such as The ILGA directory can help you recognize which countries have the harshest laws against LGBTQIA+ forms of expression. Learning about the local attitudes and laws before you arrive abroad is important.  We encourage you to browse multiple resources to gain a well rounded view of the LGBTQIA+ climate in countries you are interested in. Study abroad coordinators are available to discuss any concerns you have.

Host University/Community Resources

You may find that some host universities and communities offer resources for the LGBTQIA+ community. This may mean there are designated safe spaces, student organizations on campus, community centers, events, etc. However, there are countries where you may not find this support and if that is important to you, you will want to research universities/locations that provide those resources. 

Spartacus Gay Travel Index: 2020 Rankings of UWEC Program Locations

1 = best; 202 = worst. To learn more about each country and how they obtained that ranking, see Spartacus Gay Travel Index. 
Country Ranking
Sweden 1
Austria 4
Argentina 5
Spain 5
United Kingdom 5
Germany 10
New Zealand 10
Australia 18
France 23
Ireland 23
Israel 23
South Africa 23
USA 31
Czech Republic 38
Chile 41
Italy 41
Thailand 41
India 48
Brazil 49
Mexico 49
Costa Rica 56
Cuba 56
Greece 56
South Korea 56
China, incl. Hong Kong 66
Japan 66
Laos 78
Peru 103
Poland 103
Guatemala 131
Ghana 156
Jamaica 161

Other Resources to Explore

  • Resources at UWEC: Information on what the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center at UWEC offers and safe spaces on campus
  • ILGA: the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, is the world federation of national and local organisations dedicated to achieving equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people.
  • Global Gayz: An online journal documenting the travels of LGBT individuals around the world
  • Spartacus World's Gay Travel Index: an interactive website that ranks all of the countries in the world in terms of LGBT travel friendliness.
  • National Center for Transgender Equality: this site has particularly useful information on air travel and navigating the passport application process. 
  • LGBTQI Travel Info from the U.S. Department of State: information and steps to prepare for international travel. 
  • Rainbow Special Interest Group of NAFSA: a group of International Educators who provide strategies, resources, scholarships & support for LGBTQ students who want to study abroad. You do not have to be a NAFSA member to join the Rainbow Special Interest Group.  

Scholarships for LGBTQIA+ Students

There are many organizations that have their own scholarship databases and here are a few we've found: