LGBTQ+ Abroad

Just as in the US, attitudes and understanding of LGBTQ individuals and issues vary by region. Overall, traveling as a LGBTQ traveler isn’t much different than traveling for others, but sometimes special considerations should be made. Students who identify as LGBTQ should research their destination and talk with staff in the Study Abroad Office and Miami’s LGBTQ Student Center about the cultural norms and LGBTQ rights and issues in their location in order to feel safe and comfortable in their host country.


If you are an LGBTQ student, or are still exploring your identity, it is important to reflect on how your host country understands gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation. This can range from what is culturally relevant and appropriate in language, dress, expression, and visibility. Attitudes toward sexual orientation and gender non-conformity can vary significantly even within regions of the same country or according to different social contexts. Some students find they can express themselves openly in their host community, while others find it necessary to hide their sexual identity to ensure safety.  Understanding this will help you decide where you would, or would not, want to study.

Think about:

  • Will local cultural values and host-country laws affect my decision in where to study abroad?
  • Does my LGBTQ identity conflict with my host country's religious or cultural values and traditions?
  • What, if any, safety considerations should I be aware of? Is it safe for me to be out about my sexual identity in my host community?
  • What is the social perception of members of the LGBTQ community in my host culture?
  • What roles do trans* people play in my host culture?
  • Does my study abroad program offer LGBTQ friendly housing?
  • Is there a united, visible LGBTQ community in my host country/city? What are some ways members of these diverse communities represent themselves within the wider society?

Before You Go:

  • Research what kind of rights LGBTQ individuals have in your host country.
  • Connect with previous LGBTQ ‘Canes who have studied abroad to talk about how they navigated/experienced sexual identity in their host country.
  • Utilize the resources/speak with staff at the LGBTQ Student Center on campus before departure to set yourself up with as much support as needed.