BGLTQ Student Tips

Things to do before you leave:

  • Attend the Out Abroad Panel to hear BGLTQ students share how being BGLTQ might play into your experience.
  • Use the OIE’s BGLTQ Peer Contact List to connect with Harvard students who have experience traveling in your country or region.
  • Research cultural norms and the climate surrounding sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Check local laws and societal practices regarding BGLTQ issues, “same-sex” sexual behavior, and expressions of BGLTQ identity and community.
  • Find local BGLTQ media sources to learn more about your country/region.
  • If housing involves a homestay or other shared living arrangement, ask the coordinator about a BGLTQ-friendly placement.

Things to think about:

  • How open will I be about my sexual and/or gender identity(ies) with my, peers, friends, host family, etc.? Will I be “out” to my program staff? How might this impact my interpersonal relationships?
  • How important is it for me to find other BGLTQ individuals and friends while abroad? How will I go about finding them? What types of social media or phone applications can help me meet other BGLTQ individuals in my city? 
  • What language do they speak in my country? How will I be comfortable or what pronouns will I prefer if the language is characterized by gender-specific words?
  • Do I need any documentation related to my gender identity at security checkpoints? How will I be prepared in case I get stopped or hassled?
  • What types of safer sex supplies are available for purchase in my country? Do I need to do anything ahead of time or bring anything with me in order to protect and maintain my sexual health while abroad?
  • What are my safety needs and perceptions, and how can they best be met?

Additional Resources: