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Race and Ethnicity Abroad

The SDSU Study Abroad office encourages greater diversity in study abroad, particularly among students of color. Not only will your participation make you competitive for future endeavors, such as graduate school or the work place, it will also ensure that our programs reflect the diversity of our campus and our country.

You may experience anxiety regarding your acceptance in, or ability to adapt socially and academically to, your new culture. As a student of color, you may be concerned about facing potential racial bias and prejudice without the comfort of your usual support system. On the other hand, you may be looking forward to being part of the majority population for the first time in your life. Or, you may be planning a self-discovery sojourn to the country or region of your family's heritage. Whatever reasons you have for studying abroad, you will find that confronting and coping with your adjustment abroad, as painful as it may be at times, can be a positive growth experience. It may not always be fun but, in fact, it can present a unique learning opportunity that will serve you well in the future. 

Encountering a new culture will enable you to tap into social and intellectual capabilities you may have never experienced before and force you to discover what you have taken for granted about yourself as an individual and a member of a particular ethnic or racial group. Understanding another culture will enhance your self-awareness, lead to personal growth, and help you develop a greater acceptance of, and compassion for, cultural differences. You may not always admire or endorse the conditions abroad, but it is guaranteed that you will better understand the U.S. upon your return.

Aaron Bruce, SDSU's chief diversity officer, encourages students, especially African-American men, to study abroad because it "opens up amazing doors" of opportunity.

For more information, please visit the other SDSU campus resources below:

SDSU Center for Intercultural Relations

SDSU Office for Diversity 

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Students of Color

While the SDSU Study Abroad office recognizes there is no single term with which all students will identify, we have decided to use the term "student of color" in our materials to refer to those students who identify in accordance with SDSU categories of underrepresented populations including African American/Black, American Indian, Alaskan Native, Asian American, Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino(a)/Chicano(a), multiracial, or other populations.

Majority to Minority Status 

Students who are accustomed to living as a member of the majority group at home in the U.S. may — for the first time — find they are a member of a minority group while living in their host culture. The reverse may be encountered as well. When anticipated and embraced, these situations can often add a valuable perspective to the study abroad experience.

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