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Women Abroad

Women make up the majority of U.S. college study abroad students, accounting for up to 65+% of U.S. students abroad annually. Though many women have successful experiences abroad each year, women travelers may face greater obstacles when traveling due to differences in their host country’s cultural values, attitudes, and behaviors toward women.
It is important to understand your host country's gender norms to help set yourself up for success. Many foreigners' perceptions of American women, especially, are influenced by media portrayals. The way you dress or act abroad can reinforce or detract from these stereotypes. Remember that your dress and body language may be commonplace in the U.S. but, in your future host country, your actions may draw unwanted attention. You may find that cultural norms in the U.S. are more liberal or allow for more informality, than many host countries that may be more conservative or formal, or tradition-bound.
Talk with your Study Abroad Advisor and do research before you go to gain a better understanding of your host country.  In preparation for your time abroad, consider some of these safety tips:
  • Review your host country’s women-specific laws. In some countries, women do not have the same rights or may be held accountable even when they are the victim of a crime.
  • Maintain situational awareness at all times.
  • Understand cultural norms for attire, body language, behavior, and friendship.
  • Use the buddy system whenever possible. 

Additional resources:
With these resources and some preparation, we hope we can help you build a rewarding study abroad experience into your college degree.  We encourage you to reach out to us and start exploring where and when you might study abroad.
Please feel free to contact us to set a study abroad advising appointment at the Center for Global Engagement.  We are advising in-person at CSI and virtually via Zoom.  See our contact info here: Advising Hours.