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Skidmore College

Diversity Abroad

Study abroad can have a life-long impact on an individual. As with anything new, study abroad evokes a change in the way you see yourself, the world, and most importantly, your place in the world. Placing yourself in a different context from what is “normal” is an eye opening and enlightening experience.

In many situations, regardless of your gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, you will find you need to adjust to accommodate your host culture. You can neither expect nor demand that others adjust to yours. This is true for all students and should be kept in the back of your mind when dealing with the challenges of study abroad.

Some Questions to Ask

The following questions will help those students with special concerns think about their upcoming experience. The questions were originally developed for minority and female students. However, all students should read them and consider the answers.

  • What are the minority groups in your host country? Will you be a minority in that country?
  • What are men’s, women’s and minorities’ roles (social, professional, religious, etc.) in your host country?
  • Do men, women and minorities have equal opportunities and protection under law? Equal educational and professional opportunities?
  • Do women and minorities serve in the military?
  • Do women work outside the home?
  • What type of leadership roles do women and minorities hold?
  • How do men treat local women? How do they treat American women?
  • How does the host country population view minorities within the country and elsewhere?
  • Is there a women’s rights movement or a civil rights movement?
  • Are there special concerns or issues that women and minorities should be aware of before they study abroad in this country?
  • Where do women and minorities fall within the social hierarchy?

Questions from: The Center for Study Abroad, University of Rochester

OCSE is committed to diversity and inclusion abroad. For that reason we are an active member of the Diversity Abroad Network. We highly recommend you spend time reading through the Diversity Abroad website. This is an incredible resource and offers advice for every student.


Diversity and Inclusion at Skidmore College

Skidmore College is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive community in which members develop their abilities to live in a complex and interconnected world. Consistent with our educational mission, we recognize ourselves as a community that respects individual identities based on varying sociocultural characteristics, such as race, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, national origin, first language, religious and spiritual tradition, age, ability, socioeconomic status, and learning style.  We strive to create a socially just world that honors the dignity and worth of each individual, and we seek to build a community centered on mutual respect and openness to ideas—one in which individuals value cultural and intellectual diversity and share the responsibility for creating a welcoming, safe, and inclusive environment.  We recognize that our community is most inclusive when all members participate to their full capacity in the spirited, and sometimes challenging, conversations that are at the center of the College’s educational mission.