"You" Abroad-Study Abroad - Carnegie Mellon University

"You" Abroad

While abroad, students must be particularly street savvy. Attitudes toward women, homosexuality, and people of color may not be the same as in the United States. OIE recommends that students research the host country’s view of diversity and find out what they can expect to encounter.

The personal experiences of other study abroad students can also be helpful. We have created a helpful collection of student stories. Students are often surprised to find that many countries are very open to diversity. Many students of color report that they are treated first as an American.

Individual differences affect cross-cultural adjustment and students’ experiences with Culture Shock. Being high-strung in a laid-back culture, a Muslim in a predominately Catholic country, a vegetarian in a country that serves meat at every meal, a student of color, a woman, a student with a disability, a member of the LGBTQQ+ community, etc. all affect cross-cultural adjustment. That is not to say that members of one or more of these groups do not adjust to the host culture, it is simply to say that these are factors to consider. In fact, joining an organization abroad such as a Religious or Spiritual group can be a great way to make connections, learn about the culture, and reduce culture shock anxiety.