In the United States, you may never have considered yourself a minority because of your religion, but going abroad can make you very aware of religious beliefs. Locals might be curious and interested to learn about your traditions and vis a versa.
However, common misconceptions, differing levels of religious sensitivities and general ignorance may make your experience frustrating at times. Your religion or ethnicity should never have a negative effect on your overall study abroad experience but it is important to be well informed before traveling.
- For religious support abroad, research resources available in your host country to discover places of worship, along with organizations you can connect with.
- Gather information via internet research or speaking with those who are familiar with your host country on how your religion may be welcomed.
- Do some research to gain a general understanding of the predominant religion in your host country. This can give you a better understanding of different cultural and religious customs you may experience.
- Demonstrate respect for other religions besides your own, wear appropriate attire when required. If you are unsure about what is appropriate, be sure to ask!
- If possible, attend a religious gathering in your host country with your program or host family, this can help you gain a better sense of a differing religious perspective.
Diversity Abroad provides some questions to think about before you travel abroad, and some tips for dealing with religious challenges while you are abroad.
External resources organized by country.
KAHAL provides resources to students looking to be connected with a Jewish community abroad. Below are some city-specific guides (PDFs) they have developed with resources from where you can go to celebrate holidays to Kosher restaurants.
WUJS exists to serve Jewish students and Jewish student unions worldwide and contains information about the Jewish calendar, leadership and learning, Campus Life and WUJS projects.
IES Abroad has a range of country-specific resources on various religious identities, in addition to information on other identities.
Rachel Blau '20 writes about her experience abroad and connection with the Jewish community in Amsterdam.
A student blog post about celebrating the Jewish holidays while abroad in Tokyo.
A student blog post about navigating religious traditions while abroad.