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Religion + Spirituality

Religion has varying importance and roles depending on which country you travel to. In many countries, religion is closely connected to laws, customs, traditions, holidays, food, etc. The CIE encourages you to research the religions practiced in your host country and be aware of the etiquette to be respectful of all beliefs. If you have religious dietary restrictions, need for religious practice spaces, etc. please reach out to your study abroad coordinator. 

Even if you don't consider yourself to be religious, it is important to understand how religion influences your host country. You may learn that some foods are hard to find in certain countries or stores close at a variety of hours for worship/prayer, etc. You will also want to consider what you would be comfortable attending/practicing, if you are allowed. For example, would you attend a religious service, if given the option? If you are not comfortable with this, you'll want to respectfully decline.
If you are interested in practicing your own religion in your host country here are some things to consider:
  • How tolerant is your host country of other religions? Or atheists and agnostics? 
  • Is it safe to wear religious symbols or clothing?
  • Will your religion be the majority or minority?
  • Will your religious dietary needs be accommodated?
  • Can you find places to practice your religion?
  • Does the host university have religious student organizations you can join?
  • Does the host university have worship or prayer rooms/facilities?
  • How can you respectfully visit places of worship to learn more about your host country? Can you participate even if you don't practice that religion?
  • Are religious services offered in your language?
  • Are there any religious holidays while you're abroad?

Additional Resources

The Pluralism Project by Harvard University - guide to learning about other religions
International Religious Freedom Report by the U.S. State Department - guide to understanding the state of religious freedom in every country
Diversity Abroad Religion Information to Consider - helpful guidance and things to consider