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LGBTQIA+ Students

All students who are thinking of going abroad have to take into account different factors before making their decision. If you are a student that identifies as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual or Queer, you may have unique questions and concerns of your own.  Here are some things to consider if you are an LGBTQIA+ student thinking of going abroad:

Goals in Studying Abroad

It is helpful to think about how 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.

Laws and Safety In Relation to Sexual Identity

It is important to remember that when abroad you will no longer be protected by US laws. Some countries may have discriminatory laws against same-sex sexual behavior and expressions of LGBTQIA+ identity.  Resources such as The ILGA directory may help you recognize which countries have the harshest laws against LGBTQIA+ forms of expression. It is always a good idea to learn about the local attitudes and laws before making your decision on where to study abroad. This Country ranking info sheet includes the Spartacus Gay Travel index rating of countries where UWEC currently sends students on an ongoing basis.  (Note that short-term, faculty-led program countries are not included on the chart.  However, you can look up those ratings using the Spartacus link, below.)

Other Resources

  • The Bridge: LGBTQIA+ Resource Center: Part of the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center at UWEC, the Bridge provides a safe space and support network for the LGBTQIA+ campus community.  
  • 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: a 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 negotiating 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.