LGBTQ Students

Cultures around the world can vary greatly in their perspectives, social expectations, and opinions relating to the complex concepts of gender and sexual identities.  When you venture out in the world, you carry your identity with you even if it is not readily apparent to those around you. Going abroad can therefore represent a second "coming out", and you will need to make decisions about how and when to express your LGBTQ identity. It is important to think about what kind of support may be available to you in your new environment, especially since contact with your current community of supportive friends and/or family may be limited.

The UCSB Education Abroad Program (EAP) is here to answer any questions or concerns that you may have about your selected program. Our advisors will review program options and offer any resources that may help you on your Education Abroad journey. One’s sexual orientation or gender identity should not be a barrier to studying abroad and we aim to make your Education Abroad experience comfortable, fun, and safe.

There are several resources available to LGBTQ students to assist in picking a study abroad program. Please refer to UCEAP LGBTQ Community page for questions to consider and country information.

The UCSB EAP office has also partnered with the Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity (RCSGD) to provide information on resources that are available to students abroad.

In their own words

My experience in Lyon France was indescribable. Studying abroad allowed me to have the one in a lifetime experience of simply moving to another country and allowing myself to be immersed into their culture. I built friendships with people from all around the world, learned about different cultures and tested my boundaries as a person. The opportunity to interact with people from different cultures from all around the world opened my eyes to how different our experiences are as people and it allowed me to become more aware of and compassionate towards others unique experiences. Being in a different country made me realize that there are many unique aspects to American culture that I was not aware even existed. I noticed very drastic differences in things from academic culture to queer culture. These experiences allowed me to grow drastically as a person. I learned things about myself that I would have never gotten the opportunity to otherwise. If I had to describe studying abroad in one word it would be ‘transformative.’” 

- Ogui Gonzalez Vila, UCSB EAP France

Please see the following topics for more information: 

A Word About Location

Program Selection

Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Identity Abroad

Risk Levels and Risk Mitigation Strategies

Countries are rated from Very Safe to Unsafe for members of the LGBT+ community. The rating takes into account legal measures that either protect or threaten the rights and safety of members of the LGBT+ community and public views of the community.                                         

Below are strategies and recommendations for reducing the risk of becoming a victim of a hate crime, being harassed by the government, or being discriminated against by the local population. The members of the RCSGD provide these as ways to feel more comfortable in new environments.  Under no circumstance is it your fault for being attacked or demeaned for your sexual orientation or gender identity.

More information about risk levels and a country by country breakdown

Program/University Specific Information and resources

Additional Web Resources

Programs Addressing Queer Issues

Here are a few examples of specialized programs that address gender and sexuality issues in the academic curriculum. This is not a definitive list, so your program search should not be limited to the following. We welcome further submissions for posting.

UCEAP: You can use the UCEAP course catalog to search for classes that focus on gender and sexuality (trying searching UC Subject: Women and Gender Studies or Keyword: sex/sexuality).  Some countries with high number of courses that other UC students have taken include: Australia, Barbados, Chile, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Mexico, Netherlands, Singapore, South Africa, and the UK.  However, please be aware that even though a program in a certain country offers classes focusing on Queer or LGBTQ studies, does not mean it always reflect the attitude of the local community.  Make sure to thoroughly research your program before making a choice. 

More Resources for LGBTQ students