Diversity and Identity Abroad

Haley Dzuik in India

A study abroad student standing in front of a city and a mountain

Two female study abroad students wearing Indian clothing

Sofia Danziger in India

The University of Iowa Study Abroad office encourages all students to consider study abroad as part of an academic plan. We are committed to inclusion in our programming so that all participants may benefit from a diversity of life experiences among the study abroad cohort.

Studying abroad presents opportunities to think about identity in a new cultural context. This can be a rewarding learning experience that challenges preconceived notions about identity; the learning is enhanced for everyone when a diverse range of identity factors are considered through the lens of a new culture and society.

The following resources are intended to help facilitate the broad participation of a diverse range of students, some of whom are traditionally underrepresented on study abroad programs.

In addition, it is important for students to consider the cultural, political and social norms of various countries while researching study abroad locations. While many countries conform to basic human rights on paper, in practice that might not always be the case. When considering where to study abroad, it can be helpful to read through the Department of State’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. Each country report can be broken down by using the Table of Contents to research the various sections. The “Build a Report” tool allows for country comparison. Students can also reference the Department of State’s Country Specific Information pages. There is now a “Local Laws and Special Circumstances” section that addresses issues specific to some travelers (i.e. women, LGBTQ travelers, travelers with disabilities).

Scholarship Opportunities

The Diversity Ambassador Scholarship program provides awards of $500 for UI undergraduate students to study abroad for a summer, short-term, semester or academic year program. The scholarships are intended to support the diversification of students who study abroad. Applicants may apply simultaneously for additional need and merit based awards through the University of Iowa Study Abroad office. Diversity Abroad, of which the University of Iowa is a member, also provides a searchable scholarship database on their website.

For more information about UI efforts to create a welcoming climate for students from communities underrepresented in higher education, visit the Diversity at Iowa website: http://diversity.uiowa.edu/offices