UMass Boston

Diversity & Inclusion

The Office of Global Programs is committed to helping all UMass Boston students study abroad. We believe all students should have the opportunity to study abroad regardless of their background. Every student faces challenges when planning a trip and living abroad. Students may find that a number of factors influence their experience, including nationality, race and ethnicity, disability, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and others. 

We have compiled resources that can be used to help support your study abroad goals, and are here to help make those goals a reality. Letting us know about your specific concerns studying abroad will only help your experience while abroad. We will do whatever we can to ensure that you have a happy, safe, and rewarding time living abroad. 

On this page you will find information on: 

Disability Support and Study Abroad

If you have a disability, accommodations can be made in order for you to go abroad. The biggest factor in ensuring this is to prepare early. Here are steps we encourage you to take as soon as possible: 

Disclose your disability to the Study Abroad advisor. This will allow the advisor to immediately start making arrangements in advance for your trip.
Go to the UMass Boston Ross Center for Disability Services and the UMass Boston Counseling Center. These centers are here for you to help students identity and access the most appropriate services for your situation. 
Research locations. Some cultures provide different accommodations for those with disabilities. Learn about accommodations in the host country and be flexible/open to alternative ways of accommodating your disability. Some programs/countries better support those with disabilities than others. Sufficient research and information is needed to make the right decisions to ensuring your disability is accommodated for your time abroad. 
Think about how you will answer questions about your disability- learn key vocabulary words ahead of time. 

Resources for Disabilities and Study Abroad: 

Gender and Study Abroad

Research your host country's cultural values and attitude toward women. Also find out local attitudes toward American women. There are ways to plan for your safety abroad.

Here are many resources if you are a woman going abroad:

LGBTIQ+ and Study Abroad

Some countries and cultures are open to accepting LGBTIQ+ people, but in other places you may encounter staring or hostility. Some places where you openly display affection to your same-sex partner can put your physical safety at risk. Find out what rights LGBTIQ+ have in your host country. Also research what kinds of behavior are considered appropriate for friendship and dating. Being aware of attitudes, customs, and laws of your host country is vital for your safety and experience. There are many resources for LGBTIQ+ students studying abroad. 

Non-Traditional Students and Study Abroad

Must Ask Questions for Adult Students from Diversity Abroad's: Adult Study Abroad

  • Do I have work, home, and/or family obligations that prevent me from studying abroad for an extended period of time? 
  • Will there be other adult students in my program? 
  • How old are the other students participating in my program? 
  • How do people in my host country view adult students? 
  • What skills do I want to gain or improve while I’m abroad?

Tips from Diversity Abroad's: Adult Study Abroad

  • Look into short term programs if you cannot afford to spend an extended period of time away from your family and can’t take too much time off work
  • Talk with other adult students who have studied abroad. 
  • Sometimes you might feel that you don’t fit in, but remember not to isolate yourself from the rest of the group. Get to know the others and let them get to know you. 
  • Research what people close to your age in the country you will be studying in and the areas they may live. For example, do they work? Take care of their children and/or parents? Live alone or with extended family? 

Race and Ethnicity and Study Abroad

"As a student traveling abroad you may be concerned about potential racial bias and prejudice without your usual support system. Or, you may be looking forward to being part of the majority population for the first time in your life. You may find that confronting and coping to a community with a different racial and ethnic makeup can be a learning experience." - Michigan State University's Michigan State University's Diversity Abroad: Race and Ethnicity 

While abroad, you may first be identified as an American. They people you meet will likely have an opinion about the US and make assumptions based on your physical appearance. "If somebody says or does something that is offensive to you, try to distinguish between a person who is genuinely curious about you and your culture and someone who has bad intentions. You may find yourself in some uncomfortable situations, and always remember to put your safety first." - Diversity Abroad's Racial & Ethnic Minority Students Abroad 

Other resources to help you prepare for your study abroad trip as a racial or ethnic minority: 

Religion and Study Abroad

Become familiar with the world's religions and how religious diversity is understood across cultures. While abroad, you may encounter people of various religions or people with non-religious backgrounds. It is important for you to understand your beliefs and the beliefs of your host country in order to have a safe and meaningful experience abroad. 

Resources for religion and study abroad: