When you are considering a study abroad destination, there are some useful tips to ask yourself:
What facets of a culture do I want to explore?
Is language an issue for me?
What possible racism may I face in that country and how able am I to cope with this?
It is a good idea to research the politics, culture, and history of the country you are interested in. Find out about the racial climate there, and try to prepare yourself in advance. Raise these questions at the pre-departure workshops offered by the Center for International Education and speak with a study abroad advisor about your concerns. If you would like to speak with a student of your same racial or ethnic background, the office may be able to get you in touch with students who have studied abroad and expressed interest in talking to future study abroad students.
It is possible that you may face discrimination and racial prejudices in the host culture where you may be living. As with living in this country, certain situations may arise while you are abroad. If you prepare in advance by arming yourself with knowledge of methods of overcoming discrimination you will feel more confident and comfortable about addressing these situations. All students who study abroad face some cultural adjustment issues and must overcome negative stereotypes that people abroad may have about our culture. Being aware of cross cultural adjustment issues and how to discuss cultural differences in a non-confrontational manner will provide you with a skill set in conflict resolution and cross cultural communication that will last a lifetime.