LGBTQIA+ Students

LGBTQIA+ students are valued members of the University of St. Thomas.

While studying abroad, the values and cultures regarding queer, trans, and gender non-conforming students may not be the same as here. Studying abroad as part of the LGBTQIA+ community can present unique opportunities and challenges.

For more information regarding safety, acceptance, support and accommodations, we strongly encourage LGBTQIA+ students who are planning to study abroad to contact a study abroad advisor and to take a look at the resources listed below.

We’re here to help

We encourage you to reach out to the Office of Study Abroad staff if you have any questions or concerns.

Questions to Consider

  • What is the tolerance level in the host country?
  • What laws govern the LGBTQIA+ community?
  • Are there norms and behavioral expectations?
  • Is it safe for me to be “out” when I am abroad?
  • How open do I want to express my sexuality and gender identity while abroad?
  • Do I want to be open about my sexuality and/or gender identity with my host family, professors, local friends, or others that I meet?
  • Are topics related to sexual orientation and gender identity openly discussed or more taboo in my host country?
  • Will I be staying with a host family who may or may not be accepting of my gender or sexual identity?
  • Can the program accommodate special housing requests such as single rooms, private baths or certain roommates?
  • What resources and support are available in my host country? In my host institution? With the program Study Center?
  • Are there tolerant establishments?
  • Are there any LGBTQIA+ newspapers, magazines, or local online resources available?
  • What is considered appropriate behavior for male and female students in the different contexts I will find myself in? How flexible are local gender norms?
  • For trans* students: Will I require access to any medications or services while abroad? Will I need any additional documentation to transport them to or to acquire them in my host country?

Student Testimony

“There were three queer women, including me, on my study abroad semester in Ghana, Africa. Although Ghana is known to be intolerant of the LGBTQ community, none of us experienced any issues around our identities while living there. While I decided to live on campus with other students, the other two women chose to live in homestays with Ghanaian families. They chose not to disclose their identities with their families, but we were all "out" with our peers in our program. To me, being out was not super important, as I was there to learn about a new culture and make new friends. I definitely think it's important to think about safety for anyone that travels abroad, but also considering your own identities and how you want to live them out is an important part of the process.”

—Alli, CIEE Ghana