How to Succeed as a Study Abroad Minority
When you travel abroad, you will likely be seen as an American in a foreign country. The people you meet will likely have an opinion about America and may express their judgments, good or bad, to you. Whether or not you are black, white, Hispanic, etc., people will make assumptions based on your physical appearance.
When you travel abroad, you will encounter a few people or many people who will show interest in your culture. You may experience people who stare at you or people who are eager to touch your hair or skin. Depending on which country you decide to study abroad in, you can expect attention from locals. People tend to be very curious, especially children.
Studying abroad is a wonderful experience and as a minority abroad, you may face some unique challenges other students will not have to endure. This should not discourage you from your choice to go abroad. Here are some tips that will help you be prepared for your overseas journey as a minority student.
Check Out Scholarships/Fundraising
There are many scholarships available for students who are studying abroad, especially for minority students. Scholarships can be a great way to help cover the cost of living expenses, overseas education, airfare and more. Another great way to fund your travel is through fundraising. There are many fundraising companies dedicated to helping students raise enough money to travel overseas. Globally Abroad has partnered with FundmyTravel to help with your fundraising needs.
Be an Ambassador For Your Country
It is important to remember that wherever you are, you are representing your home country and your community. Locals and peers will get a glimpse of your world through your actions. Be proud of who you are and never forget where you’ve come from. People in your host country may be very interested in knowing more about your background. This is a great way to show others how amazing your home country is.
Exchange of Culture
When living in a new country, you will experience new cultures. By being open to your host county’s culture, you will benefit from the cultural exchange between your own culture and the new culture of your host country. You will be able to gain mutual respect and understanding of each other’s culture. You’ll get the opportunity to try out new cuisine, learn new customs, and even learn a language different from your own.
Gain a New Perspective
A study abroad trip will be different for everyone. Some people may never experience what it is like to be a minority. Traveling places that are extremely homogenous means they may have never seen someone who looks different from them, ever. If you experience an encounter that is not common, try to see their actions through a new perspective. Understand that some people may be curious about your hair, skin or clothing. It may be normal in your home country to look a certain way, but abroad that may not be the case.
Find a Community
Studying abroad can be intimidating for anyone who is going overseas for the first time or for the fifth time. As a minority student, studying abroad can be scary. You are without friends, family or even anyone who looks like you. It is important to find a community of peers who can support you, be there for you, and have fun with you. Don’t let potential homesickness or not being able to find your regularities keep you from experiencing an amazing journey overseas.
Do not let the fear of the unknown stop you from taking the step to a new journey overseas. With a great study abroad program, you can find a community to take this journey with you. Do not let a “not for people like me”mindset keep you from studying abroad and creating experiences to last a lifetime.