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Inclusiveness Abroad Resources - Columbus State University

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Columbus State University

Inclusiveness Abroad Resources

Columbus State University's study abroad students reflect the diversity of students attending CSU. As such, the Center for Global Engagement recognizes that students often self-identify in many ways and choose which facets of themselves to share (or not to share) while studying abroad. You may also find that how you self-identify is not how you are identified abroad. We’ve collected some links to resources below for students seeking support. Please feel free to drop by our office in Schuster 205 to speak with someone to discuss any concerns you may have prior to studying abroad.

If you would like to share a story or resource with the Education Abroad Office that you think would help other students, please email us at!

General Resources about Identity Abroad

Diversity Abroad
Diversity Programs & Services at CSU
Unpacked: A Education Abroad Guide for Students Like Me
Diversity Issues in Education Abroad - Brown University
AllAbroad - Diversity Abroad Issues
Diversity and Inclusion Abroad Guides

Resources for Students of Color

All students have concerns about how they will be perceived by their host culture, what courses will be like, and what it will be like to live so far away from home. Students who identify as racially or ethnically diverse may also worry about the chances of experiencing discrimination while abroad. Such occurrences will greatly depend on the country in which you choose to study, but keep in mind that your racial and ethnic identity is not the only identity you are carrying! For instance, people in your host country might be much more interested in your identity as a citizen of the United States than your racial or ethnic identity. If you study in a country that shares your racial or ethnic minority, you may no longer be perceived as a minority at all. The key to a successful experience abroad is adequate preparation, so talking with people who have been to your host country or reviewing resources such as those below will help you learn what to expect.

Things to Consider...

  • Which ethnic and racial groups do I identify with and how are they perceived in my host country?
  • What are the dominant racial and ethnic groups in my host country? Will I be in the majority or minority? How will this affect how I am treated?
  • What is the history of the host country in regard to race and ethnicity? How does it currently affect the climate in the host country today?
  • How might other parts of my identity in addition to my race and ethnicity affect my experience abroad?

Black and Abroad
PLATO (Project for Learning Abroad, Training & Outreach) Diversity Abroad Guide
Diversity Abroad Heritage Seekers
All Abroad
Encountering Racism in Europe
9 Truths for Black Students Traveling Abroad
On Studying Abroad as a Person of Color: Don’t Believe Everything You Hear
Education Abroad Matters: Top 10 Reasons for African American Students to Education Abroad
Encounters of Another Color
Code Switch Podcast
Mental Health of our Black Communities

Resources for Mobility & Accessibility

The Center for Global Engagement, in connection with the Center for Accommodation & Access, is committed to promoting equal education opportunities and providing a welcoming academic, physical and social environment for students with disabilities at CSU and abroad. The CGE is committed to working with students to find the right program based on individual student interests and needs. As students are narrowing down their program options, they should take into consideration academics, housing, and access to health care and transportation, among other things. If you are a student that meets or requires these resources and/or assistance, please contact the Center for Accommodation & Access to assist with consultation and support with the Center for Global Engagement.

With proper planning, all students can participate in study abroad programs; students with disabilities will especially benefit from additional research. One place to start is by researching possible disability accommodations and schedule MIUSA’s free one-on-one referral service for students with a disability. Additionally, consider the following when searching for the best program for you:

Locations in Western Europe, Canada, Australia, or cities that have hosted the Olympics within the last 10 years. These areas might not have the same accommodations as the US, but they are typically more accessible.

Programs of shorter length that offer a reduced course load, living arrangements with other Americans, and experienced on-site staff (not all destinations may have proper accommodations for each student)

In terms of funding, students with disabilities may be able to use the following financial assistance depending on their study abroad program. However, it is important to note that the Social Security Administration cannot send payments to a number of countries, and if you are accepted to a funded study abroad program such as the Fulbright Program, you may not be eligible to receive these funds. Contact the Center for Accommodation & Access office to determine the aid for which you qualify.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments
Vocational Rehabilitation (VR)

You may also be eligible to use the Pell Grant or apply for the Gilman Scholarship.

Things to consider...

  • What are the perceptions of people with disabilities and mental health conditions in the host culture?
  • Am I comfortable disclosing/ discussing my disability or mental health access needs?
  • What challenges might I face during the entire study abroad process? How will I prepare and overcome them?
  • What resources and accommodations do I need for my courses and in my living space?
  • Does the location and culture of the study abroad program that I am considering provide the resources and support that I need?

Students’ health conditions and/or disabilities are not factored into the application decision process. However, it is important during the application phase of the process to think about and discuss what access and accommodations may be needed to find the best fit.

Mobility International USA
Center for Accommodation & Access at CSU
U.S. Department of State Traveling with a Disability
Studying in the U.K. as a Disabled Student
Abroad with Disabilities
Traveling Abroad with Mental Illness
Ups and Downs of International Travel
Preparations for Travel with Mental Health

Resources for LGBTQ+ Students

Traveling exposes the intersectionality of our many competing identities, and depending on the destination, LGBTQ+ students may find that attitudes toward sexual orientation vary greatly. Some countries may have attitudes that are more accepting than in the United States, but there are others in which the opposite is true. Additionally, laws may not tolerate the LGBTQ+ population. The CGE is available to speak with students who may have any concerns, but personal research on local laws, customs, and resources in countries of interest will help you choose a location in which you will feel comfortable and safe.

Things to Consider...

  • Are there any campus or local resources for those who identify as a part of the LGBTQ+ community?
  • What are the norms of the LGBTQ+ community in the host country?
  • Are there local meeting places for members of the LGBTQ+ community?
  • Is local LGBTQ+ media available? This will help you learn first-hand information of your host country.
  • How visible and large is the LGBTQ+ community in my host country?
  • What are the past and current laws and cultural attitudes towards my sexual identity in my host culture?
  • Is it safe to be out in the host country and culture? What are my safety and health needs?
  • What are my housing options? Will they meet my needs?

Equaldex: Collaborative LGBTQ+ Rights by Country
Sexual Orientation Laws in the World’s Know Your Rights: Airport Security
U.S. State Department’s LGBTQ+ Travel Info
LGBTQ+ Students Abroad
LGBTQ+ International Safety Tips
Rainbow SIG
Worldview Map
Global Divide Article
OutRight Action International
Go Abroad Meaningful Travel Tales (PDF)

Non-Traditional Students

Non-traditional Students often have different responsibilities such as those tied to families, professional, and other obligations at home that do not affect many "traditional students" in the same way. Thus, it is important to take these factors into consideration when studying abroad. There are a variety of programs and program lengths to consider. Many traditional students have various life experiences that often allow for deeper cultural exploration and a variety of perspectives that can impact their and other participants study abroad experiences.

Things to consider...

  • Think about what makes you a non-traditional student, as it can vary greatly. What resources does the host institution and host culture have to support my needs?
  • Do I have other responsibilities such as a family, home, or professional obligations that will affect the study abroad program selection and length?
  • Will there be any other participants that I can relate to on the program? Are there opportunities to connect with students and others from the host culture that I can relate or have more in common with?
  • What can I learn from my fellow participants and those from host culture who I may not relate to immediately?
  • What type of housing accommodations would you prefer? Are those options available in the programs you are considering?
  • How will this study abroad experience relate to and enhance my academic, personal and career goals?

Adult Students Studying Abroad

Resources for Student Athletes

CSU recognizes that student athletes work hard to balance their studies and the grueling team schedule as they navigate the life of a student and elite athlete. It may seem impossible to fit a study abroad experience into their four-year plan, but we believe the benefits of a program abroad are worth the effort it takes to make it happen, even if it is for a short-term program during the off-season.

The Center for Global Engagement also works with coaches to schedule opportunities for the entire team to study abroad and play international games. These opportunities tend to happen every couple of years - check with your coach to see what they are planning in the future!

Things to consider...

  • Have you spoken to your coaches and teammates about your interest in study abroad?
  • Have you thought about the best time to study abroad based on your training and playing schedule? Do you have any obligations in the pre-season or additional tournaments in the post-season? Are there team commitments and training scheduled in the off-season?
  • Have you thought about how you can maintain your training to stay in good physical condition for the duration of your study abroad experience? Speak with your program director about what training and athletic facilities you have access to in the host community.
  • Have you considered nutrition based on the culture of your host country? Depending on your host country and region, your eating pattern may not be the same as in the U.S.
  • To make sure that you stay in good standing with NCAA, check in with your coaches about rules regarding monetary compensation, accepting “gifts,” coaching, competing in events not sanctioned by the NCAA, etc.
  • Given that there is no true “off-season” for student athletes, we strongly recommend meeting with your coaching staff and academic advisors early in your college career to find a time that will be most appropriate to study abroad.

NCAA Resources on Studying Abroad
Global Players – Education Abroad for Athletes
How to Education Abroad as a College Athlete

Resources for Veterans, Military, and ROTC

Military, Veteran, ROTC, and military-affiliated students often participate in study abroad programs to gain further global experiences. Military, Veteran, and ROTC students are often able to gain new perspectives as they study in a different culture and country. These study abroad experiences can often enhance and compliment the international experience gained through the military.

Student veterans and families of veterans may use their Post 9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) toward study abroad programs. Both the CGE and CSU's Veterans Affairs must be involved in this process to ensure proper allocation of funds. If you receive VA benefits, be sure to begin the study abroad process as early as possible and indicate to the CGE that you receive these benefits. Please note that students must use a CSU faculty-led program, as VA benefits usually cannot be used to pay for affiliate or provider programs.

Things to keep in mind when using the Post 9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) to study abroad:

  • All eligible fees will be paid for up front with the exception of tuition fees (which are normally the largest portion of the costs covered by VA). Tuition will be reimbursed after the student’s grades are posted.
  • Courses taken on the study abroad program must apply to the student’s academic program.
  • If choosing to directly enroll at a foreign institution, the foreign institution must be approved by VA to receive VA benefits. View a list of approved schools.
  • A breakdown of amounts charged for tuition, lodging, meals, and other expenses must be provided to the CSU Veterans Affairs Center to request payment for a study abroad program. This information can be obtained from the faculty director of the program.
  • Contact CSU's Veterans Affairs Center for additional details and requirements.

Steps for using the Post 9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) to study abroad:

  • Browse the Program Search (CSU programs are marked with a star).
  • Meet with the CGE to discuss course transfer and to receive necessary documentation.
  • Meet with CSU's Veterans Affairs Center to discuss your personal situation regarding VA fund allocation.
  • Complete the CSU study abroad online application.

ROTC Project Go
Gilman-McCain Scholarship

First-Generation College Students

Being the first person in your family to attend college is a challenge, so we understand the apprehensions first-generation college students have about undertaking an academic program outside the United States. However, research shows study abroad experiences are valuable on both an academic and professional level. Students who study abroad perform better academically, are more likely to graduate, and are more competitive in the job market than their peers without an international experience.

Multiple resources are available to assist you throughout the study abroad process, and as with most things, adequate preparation is key. We encourage you to speak with the CGE to learn how to make a study abroad program part of your college experience. There are programs for every budget, major, and length of time.

Things to consider...

  • Have I spoken to a study abroad advisor, my academic advisor and someone in financial aid to learn what my options are?
  • Have I talked to any of my peers about their study abroad experiences?
  • Have I talked to my support system of families and/or friends about my plans to study abroad?
  • Have I inquired about financial resources, scholarships and grants?
  • Will the financial cost of a program influence the options that you consider?
  • How will I budget for my study abroad experience?
  • Is the cost of living higher or lower at my host institution and host culture?

First in My Family Abroad

Religion, Spirituality, and Faith Abroad

The freedom of religious and spiritual practices can vary depending on the host culture. Thus, it is important to do your research and respect the religious and spiritual beliefs of your host country. If the religion and/or spiritual beliefs differ from your own, it is important to keep an open mind. Not only does it allow for greater understanding of the culture, it also gives you an opportunity to reflect on your own religious and or spiritual beliefs.

Things to consider...

  • What are the dominant religions and/or spiritual practices in my host country?
  • How do people in the host culture view other religions?
  • Is my religion legal and practiced in my host country? Do I have any concerns about my religion?
  • Do I plan to practice my religion or spiritual practice in the host country? How might I practice it?
  • Are there resources or organizations for my religion or spiritual practice in my host country?

U.S. Department of State International Religious Freedom Reports
The Pluralism Project from Harvard University
Have Halal Will Travel
Interfaith Youth Core

International Students Studying Abroad

As an international degree seeking student you are already studying abroad here at Columbus State. However, you may still want to study abroad in another country while earning your degree. We highly encourage you to do so. There are many programs that you can participate in. Being of a different nationality and visa status may impact where you study abroad and the documentation you need to study in your host institution. Thus, it is important to begin the process early and work with the CGE early in the process. Your success in studying here in the United States as an international student give you a unique perspective. Studying abroad yet again will further enhance your cultural understanding and cross-cultural communication.

Degree-seeking international students at Columbus State University are able to study abroad through CSU-sponsored programs while still receiving CSU aid. As an international student, you have a unique opportunity to “double-dip” in study abroad – not only are you studying in a foreign country by attending CSU but you can study in another country to further diversify your international experiences!

Please note: You must apply to a CSU faculty-led program that takes place during Spring, Spring Break, or Summer.

Be sure to speak with your international student advisor, early in the study abroad process to ensure that your U.S. student visa status stays valid despite leaving the country for an extended period of time. Also, inform the CGE that you are an international student so we can review the necessary steps to obtain any visas needed for your study abroad program.

Things to consider...

  • What is the relationship between your home country and your host country?
  • Have you researched the visa requirements between your home country and your host country?
  • Have you contacted the CGE to let them know about your plans to study abroad? Have you discussed any requirements that need to be done to stay in compliance with your student visa?
  • What immigration documents do I need to carry with me?
Gender-based Resources

Gender roles can differ from country to country and culture to culture. Traditional gender roles often inform the way a specific gender is expected to act, dress, speak, and navigate with the social and cultural norms of a culture. Your gender may have an impact on who and how you are able to interact with others in your host country and culture. There may also be a difference in the way you are treated as a foreigner rather than a local person of the same gender. Thus, it is important for both men and women to research the laws, customs, societal norms of gender roles and dynamics in your host country. It is also important to observe social cues from the local people in your host country.

Things to consider...

  • What are the laws, customs, and societal norms of my gender in my host country?
  • What are the attitudes and expectations for women, men and transgender people in my host culture?
  • Do cultural dynamics favor and give a certain gender more privilege? How could that affect how I am perceived and treated abroad?
  • Are there any safety concerns and/or issues related to my gender that I need to be aware of?

Women Going Abroad
U.S. State Department Women Travelers

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