Diversity and Access

For the majority of students, study abroad is an amazing and sometimes life changing experience. But just like life at your home school, you may encounter some discrimination on your travels. For some students when they study abroad it will be the first time they will be in the position of being a minority.  …You may receive additional attention depending on your background and ethnicity, which may or may not be discrimination. People might judge you based on your ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. Remember, there is nowhere in the world 100% free of ignorant people. Whatever happens, don’t let the possibility of discrimination prevent you from experiencing the life changing benefits of living abroad.

— Diversity Abroad

The mission of the Study Abroad Center is to foster a culture at UCI in which study abroad is expected and achievable for all students.  Thus, we have provided you the below resources to offer you support and recommendations so you can better understand how your identity may be impacted during your experience abroad.  You are also welcome to schedule an appointment with a Study Abroad Advisor for assistance.

Diversity & Inclusion Abroad Guide Explore the articles provided by Diversity Abroad, to learn more about how your identity may be impacted during your experience abroad.

Unpacked: A Study Abroad Guide For Students Like Me Check out stories written by students abroad on the IFSA website, and how their identities were impacted by their experiences abroad.

As a student with disabilities, studying abroad may require planning for your specific needs. We want you to know that study abroad is possible for you, but it is important that you keep some questions in mind as you plan for your study abroad program. Please contact a UCI Study Abroad Outbound Advisor to discuss your accommodations and the process to get started

Resources

Here are some questions to consider as you plan:

  • What are my disability needs, and what accommodations should be made?
  • What resources are available to me? Does my host city or university offer those resources? Counseling, note takers, hospitals, etc.
  • How will my host culture view my disability? How will I answer questions about my disability to those in my host culture?
  • How accessible will the physical environment of my city be?
  • Are my housing options accessible? Campus buildings, bathrooms, etc.

As a student of color, you may have already experienced how your identity plays a role in your daily interactions. When you study abroad, you will be immersing yourself in an unfamiliar culture and environment, and it is important that you prepare yourself for how you may be perceived.

Resources

Here are some questions to consider as you plan:

  • What are the cultural norms in my host country? How are people of my race/ethnicity typically treated?
  • How does my host country feel about the United States?
  • What experiences will I have as a student of color? How will I feel if I am the only member of my race/ethnicity group?
  • Is there a history of racism or discrimination in my host country?
  • How will I react to stereotypes about my race/ethnicity?
  • Is there a community I can go to or resources that can help me through my host program or host university?

Studying abroad is a great way to explore sexual orientation and gender in a different culture. As you prepare for your study abroad experience, it is important to think about how your identity may be central to your experiences and interactions. Below are some resources to help you get started.

Resources

Here are some questions to consider as you plan:

  • What are the cultural and local attitudes towards my identity in my host country? Is there an LGBTQ community or LGBTQ-friendly resources?
  • What are the behavioral norms within the LGBTQ community in my host country?
  • Are there gender-neutral housing facilities or LGBTQ-friendly housing?
  • What safety needs does my host country or program provide for me?
  • Will I need medication or services, such as transition care? If so, will my host country have them available?

As a student that is considered low-income, it is important to remember that if you can afford UCI then you can afford to study abroad. Costs of programs differ, but below are some resources that can help you get started.

Resources

Here are some questions to consider as you plan:

  • Do I receive financial aid? If so, how does my aid work for my program? Does aid work differently during the summer?
  • What is the cost of my program? What is included in that cost?
  • What is the cost of living in my host country? Meals, local transportation, housing, etc.
  • What will I pay out of pocket?
  • Can I apply for scholarships?

Studying abroad is an experience students consider to be a highlight of their time at UCI. As a student with dependents, study abroad is still accessible for you. There are important factors to consider when planning your experience.

Resources

Here are some questions to consider as you plan:

  • How long do I want to be abroad?
  • What additional costs do my family or dependents need?
  • Will my program or host country be accommodating for families or dependents? What will my housing situation be like?
  • Are there daycares available in my host country or program?
  • Does my program have excursions or activities? Can my family and dependents come with me?
  • What medication does my family or dependent need? What paperwork should I have?
  • What types of foods will my host country have available? Baby food, clergies, etc.

Current UCI International students who are interested in studying abroad, click here for more information.

The risks of leaving and returning to the U.S. are very case-specific.  If you are considering or planning to study abroad and have questions about your immigration status, book an appointment with the University of California Immigrant Legal Services Center staff attorney Lucero Chavez Bastillo. We recommend starting this process as soon as possible. You may also find useful information on the University of California’s Immigrant Legal Services Center website (see DACA Resources & FAQs).

Note that the UC Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) is allowing undocumented students to apply to their programs earlier than normal given that the process for applying for Advance Parole can take over a year. Please contact your UCI Outbound Advisor for more information.

Transitions are a time of opportunity but also of challenge. If you are considering study abroad and have any history of mental health counseling / treatment, please take the time to think seriously about how a major transition in a location with different attitudes about and different access to mental health care might affect you.  If you are currently in treatment, we encourage you to speak with your provider as early as possible about their thoughts on your mental health “readiness.”  We encourage you to take active steps far in advance to plan a “safety net,” for your emotional wellness. — UCI Student Health Center Chief of Psychiatry, Dr. Vivien Chan

UCI Wellness, Health & Counseling Services

UCI Veterans Services Center

Contact the UCI Financial Aid Office at eapfa@uci.edu and the Veterans Services Office to find out more information.  Be prepared to provide specific details about your study abroad program.

As a first-generation college student, you have already experienced what it is like to pave your own path at UCI. We recognize that studying abroad may not just be a new journey for you, but for your family too.

Resources

Here are some questions to consider as you plan:

  • If no one in my family has ever studied abroad, who can help me answer questions as I plan my experience?
  • If this is my first time abroad, is it important to retain some cultural similarities with the United States or my family background? Or am I looking for as different of an experience as possible?
  • How important is it for me to be geographically close to my friends and family while I am abroad? Example: Do I feel more comfortable going somewhere closer to the United States, like Mexico or the Caribbean, or would I consider somewhere farther away like Australia?
  • How can I explain to my family that a study abroad experience can contribute to the achievement of my academic and career goals?
  • How do I plan to finance my time abroad?