Diversity & Inclusion


 

Arkansas Tech Study Abroad works to ensure that our programs are accessible to and supportive of students of diverse and underrepresented backgrounds throughout each stage of the study abroad process. We seek to engage and support all students throughout their study abroad experience. As you research your study abroad options, consider how aspects of your identity might shape your experience. 

 

Race & Ethnicity

As a student traveling abroad, you may be concerned about potential racial bias and prejudice without your usual support system. Or, you may be looking forward to being part of the majority population for the first time in your life. You may find that interacting with a community that has a different racial and ethnic makeup than your community at home can be a valuable learning experience.

There is no reason that your racial or ethnic background should prevent you from studying abroad; however, it is important to be aware of the environment you will be entering. You may find it most helpful to speak with other students of color who have studied or traveled in your host country and can provide advice. We also recommend talking to a representative of a specific program or university about the local demographic and cultural realities.

When you contemplate potential destinations, take into consideration all facets of a culture, including possible racism and discrimination. Research the political, cultural and historical context of the country where you will be studying. If you would like to speak with a student of your same racial or ethnic background, our office may be able to put you in touch with students who have studied abroad. Methods of overcoming discrimination abroad can be similar to the methods you use at home. Finding new support groups and adjusting to a new comfort zone is essential to having a fulfilling education abroad experience.

Things to Consider:

Further reading on this topic:  

https://www.diversityabroad.com/articles/students-of-color-abroad

 

Women

No matter where you study, you may experience a shift in the ways gender identities, roles, and norms are perceived compared to what you are used to at home. It’s possible that you may be treated differently or be expected to treat others differently based on these factors, and your behavior in some situations may be viewed differently abroad than in the U.S. Consider your actions and inform yourself as best as possible about behavioral expectations, dating, and relationships in your host culture. You may find that what is viewed as acceptable behavior in your host country is offensive to you or makes you uncomfortable. It’s important to check societal expectations with your own personal values.

Whether you have traveled extensively or this is your first time abroad, it’s important to consider your host country’s cultural attitude towards gender roles and norms, especially related to women. Some countries have well-defined gender roles that are ingrained in local customs and/or laws, while others are more fluid with their perception of gender. It’s important to be patient with what you might see as restrictive or too progressive. Finding ways to engage with these differences and to learn from them is an important part of cross-cultural understanding.

Things to Consider:

Further reading on this topic:  

https://www.diversityabroad.com/articles/women-going-abroad

 

LGBTQ

You may already identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or intersex, or you may still be exploring your identity. LGBTQ+ students face some special considerations when choosing a study abroad program.  

Laws, cultures, and popular attitudes vary from country to country in terms of how sexual orientation, same-sex sexual contact, and gender identities are defined and understood. Some countries are more inclusive and more supportive of LGBTQ+ rights than the U.S.  In others, it may be inadvisable, illegal, or even dangerous for you to come out abroad. Knowing these laws and cultural expectations may help you to decide what countries you might like to visit if you will be out abroad or if you will pursue relationships while abroad. 

Things to Consider

Further reading on this topic:

https://outrightinternational.org/

 

Disability & Accessibility

A successful experience for ATU students with disabilities wishing to participate in study abroad programs around the world begins with thorough planning. Although programs and universities abroad are becoming more aware of the inclusion of students with disabilities, the extent to which accommodations can be provided depends on the nature of the accommodation, the general situation in that particular country regarding accessibility and available services, and the creativity and flexibility of the student and staff/faculty in planning for the experience abroad. 

Understand, however, that attitudes and perceptions about accessibility and accommodation for students with emotional, mental, learning, or physical disabilities may vary at different program sites and locations.

To discuss what accommodations you might need, contact the ATU Study Abroad Office or ATU’s Office of Student Accessibility Services (SAS).

Things to Consider:

Further reading on this topic:

https://www.diversityabroad.com/articles/students-disabilities-abroad

Studying in Germany as a Disabled Student
https://www.studying-in-germany.org/studying-in-germany-as-a-disabled-student/ 

Studying in UK as a Student with Disabilities
https://www.studying-in-uk.org/studying-in-uk-as-a-student-with-disabilities/  

Studying in Australia as a Disabled Student 
http://www.studying-in-australia.org/studying-in-australia-as-a-disabled-student/  

 

Religion

Religion is a salient aspect of many cultures around the world. Still, depending depending on where you go, you may find that religion plays a larger or smaller role in society compared with the U.S. The level of commitment to religious diversity and freedom can vary by country. Whether you identify as a member of the dominant religion, a member of another religion, an agnostic, an atheist, or any other religious or spiritual affiliation, it will be important to understand general attitudes of religious tolerance and other religious observances in your host country.

Spending time in a country where the major religion is different from your own can lead to a better understanding of your own notions of spirituality. Additionally, you may wish to connect with a religious community abroad to further your cultural immersion or find a source of support during your time abroad.

Things to Consider:

Further reading on this topic:

https://www.diversityabroad.com/articles/religious-diversity-abroad