Will you be seen and see yourself as an American when you are abroad? Will your ethnic, religious, gender, or sexual identity be more pronounced based on this experience? The answers are different for each student and each experience.
Our identities are formed by our biology, our history, and our culture. Study abroad helps you examine your own identity by allowing you to view yourself through the mirror of other cultures. Each location has unique historical circumstances that impact interactions between cultural groups.
Sometimes students feel isolated as they explore their identity. There can be times when it is difficult to find someone with whom to share the feelings and experiences that are distinctly related to identity. Making friends and connections within the host culture can provide cultural interpreters to help you learn about the culture and historical context that gives rise to stereotypes. However you choose to face these challenges, each one will give you the opportunity to grow and learn.
*Adapted from the University of Minnesota Learning Abroad Center