Diversity and Identity Abroad


Commitment to Diversity

API is committed to providing enriching study abroad opportunities to all students. API does not discriminate against any individual based on ethnicity, nationality, ancestry, race, sex, gender identity, creed, age, marital status, sexual orientation, or disability in its admissions decisions, program activities or employment practices.

We believe that all individuals have the right to study abroad, but we also believe that individuals have a responsibility to understand the challenges that they might face abroad as a cultural outsider. Before you elect where to go abroad, it is important to consider your personal identity and how you might fit within a particular culture. It is wise to seek to understand the culture, customs, and expectations of where you will be traveling so as to not find yourself in an uncomfortable or even a potentially dangerous situation.  Taking the time before you go abroad to learn about the host culture you will encounter will help you have a successful and rewarding experience abroad!

The number one travel tip we can give you as pro-travelers is to plan ahead! We encourage you to start your preparations by accessing the resources below. And don’t forget that the API staff is here every step of the way should you have any questions or concerns!


Diversity Abroad focuses on raising awareness among students from diverse economic, educational, ethnic, and social backgrounds in order to provide equal access to study abroad.

Institute for International Education

IIE is a non-profit organization offering extensive information on scholarships, programs, and internship opportunities.

Michigan State University’s “Anyone Can Study Abroad”

MSU’s website provides tips regarding important components to consider and research before going abroad.

The PLATO Project – The Project for Learning Abroad, Training, and Outreach

A compilation of organizations, resources, and scholarships that support academic advancement for underrepresented groups.

Students with Disabilities

API is dedicated to providing international education opportunities to students with disabilities. We strongly recommend that students with disabilities begin the process of planning their study abroad experience one year in advance, including meeting with the disabilities services and study abroad office at their home institution prior to submitting your application. Early planning provides the time required to identify the program that best suits your particular needs and allows us and our partners to work with you to prepare a detailed accommodations plan. Below are some resources we hope you’ll find helpful as you begin planning for your time abroad!

API recommends that students with disabilities complete the OPTIONAL Student Inquiry Survey prior to submission of an application, and return to Carolyn Lutes, Senior Director of Student Services & Admissions.

Please note: Disclosure of a disability prior to submitting an application is completely optional and does not preclude students from being accepted to an API program. Disclosure of a disability allows API staff to work with students to identify the best program(s) to meet each student’s needs and goals for the term abroad. Information provided on this form will not be shared with API partners abroad, to include local host institutions, until after the student has been accepted into the API program, and only as needed. API will seek to provide students with special needs a comprehensive picture of the on-site environment, so as to set appropriate expectations, and to allow students to make informed decisions regarding program participation.

API will provide advice to students using our knowledge of the dynamics on-site: 1) The accessibility of housing, transportation, and university buildings (for students with mobility limitations); 2) The availability of medical facilities and health professionals (for students with mental health or medical concerns); 3) Academic policies (for students with learning disabilities); 4) Cultural perceptions and behaviors. As conditions exist abroad that may be beyond the control of API and its partners (e.g., some host countries have no legislation akin to the American with Disabilities Act that mandates the accessibility of governmental buildings, public transportation, sidewalks, academic institutions, and lodging for individuals with disabilities), certain sites may not be ideal for all students. API will work closely with students to identify alternate locations that can provide similar academic and cultural learning opportunities if the originally requested location cannot offer adequate accommodations.

“Making it Happen”

A University of Pittsburgh video focusing on students with disabilities abroad.

Mobility International

A non-profit organization advocating for the disabled and helping students with disabilities realize their study abroad goals.

National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange

Offers free services and helpful resources for planning your education abroad experience.

Pre-Departure Recommendations for Disabled Students Abroad

Information to assist students from all backgrounds with their study abroad plans.

Rolling Rains Report

Promotes inclusive tourism, ”a concept arising from the vigor of a global disability community that both enjoys and asserts the right to full social inclusion.” 

University of Minnesota’s “Access Abroad”

Offers helpful information and tips regarding accessibility overseas.

U.S. State Department

Provides country reports including information regarding disability policies in your prospective host country.


Economically Diverse Students

It may feel like it would be impossible for you to participate in a program abroad, but by no means is this true! Yes, it will require some advanced planning, work, and determination on your part, but it can be done, and there are resources available to help you achieve your goal! Check out our scholarships and outside funding resources list at http://www.apiabroad.com/financial-information/scholarships, talk to your study abroad advisor about funding, and consider doing some fundraising as well to help cover costs. Here are some sites to get you started!

4 Steps to Funding Study Abroad

Hear from one student about how to fund your study abroad experience.

40 Fundraising Ideas for Study Abroad

Includes some great fundraising suggestions…

Fund for Education Abroad

FEA offers a variety of grants and scholarships to help dedicated American students who have financial restrictions participate in education abroad.

5 Steps to a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign

Crowdfunding is a great fundraising option. Use this site to learn how to raise money for your time abroad.

IIEPassport Study Abroad Funding

Free online database of study abroad scholarships, fellowships, and grants.

First Generation Students

While being a first generation student presents its own set of challenges, you could be not only the first in your family to attend college, but also the first in your family to travel or live abroad. You will need to consider how to present the idea of study abroad to your family and how to finance your program, and there are resources available to assist you with this endeavor. Check out the following sites, along with the outside funding and API scholarship information at http://www.apiabroad.com/financial-information/scholarships, and then be sure to talk to your campus study abroad advisor about your goals.

About Study Abroad

Information about choosing and funding a study abroad program.

Diversity and Inclusion Abroad-First Generation Students

Tips for navigating the study abroad process.

How to Figure out Study Abroad as a First-Gen College Student

Helpful information on how to make study abroad a reality.

LGBTQ+ Students

It’s always important to learn as much as you can about your host country before you go abroad in order to have a positive, successful experience.  For LGBTQ+ students, this includes understanding the country’s laws and culture toward sexual identity.  Below are some resources to consult as you plan for your time abroad!  Some countries may require you to modify your behaviors or face extensive discrimination or even legal consequences.  It is a must for you to determine in advance how comfortable you feel adjusting your own behaviors to suit the cultural norms of a given culture and select a destination accordingly.

Fund for Education Abroad

FEA offers a Rainbow Scholarship to a deserving LGBTQ+ student who aims to participate in a high-quality, rigorous education abroad program.

GoOverseas.com “9 Major Life Lessons I learned Studying Abroad as an LGBTQ+”

A first-hand account from a recent study abroad student.

HIV Entry Requirement Information

Can be found on the U.S. State Department website’s country information pages under “Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements.”

IGLTA, the International Gay/Lesbian Travel Association

Assists with finding LGBTQ+ owned and welcoming travel-related businesses in over 75 countries.

International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission

Includes LGBTQ+ information by country.

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association

Provides comprehensive data on LGBTQ+ laws around the world.

Michigan State University’s “Who Can Study Abroad”

A guide for LGBTQ+ students abroad.

NAFSA (Association of International Educators) Rainbow Special Interest Group

Tips for LGBTQ+ students abroad.

National Center for Transgender Equality

The National Center for Transgender Equality is the nation’s leading social justice advocacy organization winning life-saving change for transgender people. The site includes helpful travel information for transgender students traveling abroad.

State Department LGBTQ Human Rights Issues Fact Sheet

Information on LGBTQ+ services and support provided by the U.S. State Department.

The White House LGBTQ+ Fact Sheet

Information regarding what the White House is doing to advance the rights of LGBTQ+ persons abroad.

U.S. State Department’s LGBTQ+ Travel Information

Pre-departure tips and information

Multicultural Students

Of the estimated 1% of college students who study abroad, an overwhelming majority of these students are white and female.  Depending on where you go, you may be redefining what an American is for our international counterparts; therefore, it is wise to prepare yourself for cultural and societal differences.

We are committed to helping all students achieve their study abroad goals. In addition to consulting the resources below for more information regarding multicultural students abroad, visit the scholarships section of the our website for more details on both API and outside scholarship opportunities.  In addition, our Alumni Specialists are available to answer your questions, or offer advice, if you would like to hear from API alumni who have been in your shoes.


A study abroad resource guide created by UCLA’s Center for Global Education, offering helpful information and advice.


Provides resources to assist students from all backgrounds with their study abroad plans.

Diversity Issues in Study Abroad

Brown University student quotes about their experience abroad

Michigan State University’s “Who Can Study Abroad”

For multicultural students studying abroad.

Race Abroad: For American’s of Color Preparing to Live Abroad

University of Minnesota’s study abroad acclimation guide for students of color.

Video: Experiencing Diversity Abroad

API & Ohio University video about being a student of color abroad.

Video: Orientation for Students of Color Studying Abroad

University of Minnesota’s orientation for diverse students going abroad.

“The World is in Your Hands”

The University of Pittsburgh guide for African-American students studying abroad.

Non-Traditional Students

We consider a non-traditional student to be outside the typical college age of 18 to 22 years old. As a non-traditional student, you may have unique challenges to work through as you prepare for your time abroad. Will you need to ask for a short leave of absence from your job? Do you need to find a sitter for your cat or dog? Do you want to bring your spouse or child (or both!) along with you? With a bit of planning, flexibility and coordination with API, you can identify options. Please refer to the resources below to learn how other non-traditional students achieved their education abroad goal.

From A Woman’s Perspective “No Age Limits for Study Abroad in France”

Studying abroad as a non-traditional female student.

Study Abroad Advice for Non-Traditional Students

Adult study abroad information from DiversityAbroad.com

University of San Francisco’s Breaking Barriers Video

Comments by non-traditional students before and after their time abroad. 

Student Veterans

While using your Veterans benefits to study abroad can be challenging, it can be done. The most important thing to do is to start the process early! Your first step in planning for your semester abroad is to speak with your VA representative and your university study abroad office to find out what opportunities are available to you so that both the VA requirements and your educational goals are met. Start by reading the links below and then communicating with your home institution and API as soon as possible about your plans so that we can assist.


A veteran’s account of using the GI Bill to study abroad.

FAQs from the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA)

Reviews how VA benefits work with study abroad and provides a link for finding approved international education programs.

GI Bill Study Abroad Fact Sheet

Offers invaluable information on how your VA benefits will work with your selected study abroad program. Great first resource to read!

Institute for International Education (IIE)

Guide to using GI Bill Benefits for study abroad:

Studying Abroad on the GI Bill

Important advice from StudyAbroad.com on how to use the GI Bill to study abroad.

Women Abroad

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, women account for two thirds of all international program participants. Whether you are traveling independently or in a group, in order to have a positive and safe experience abroad, it is important to know the culture, laws, and social issues regarding women in each country where you’ll be traveling. Please consult the resources below to begin educating yourself in advance and prepare for your travels.

CIEE’s What Women Need to Know Abroad

Important information and suggestions for women abroad.

Culturally Correct Clothing Tips 

A destination-based clothing guide.

Diversity Abroad’s Tips Page for Women Abroad

Helpful reminders for your time abroad


A valuable online resource, including travel and safety tips, a packing guide, and much more.


An online community geared specifically to women traveling abroad. They also offer a 12-week travel writing course designed especially for women.

Women On The Road

Provides helpful travel ideas, health tips, money advice, and more.

Go Girl! The Black Woman’s Book of Travel and Adventure, Edited by Elaine Lee.

Contains 52 travel pieces presenting the perspective of black women, mostly African Americans. Contributors include Maya Angelou, Jill Nelson, Alice Walker, and Jamaica Kincaid.

The Woman Travel Guide

Transitions Abroad guide for women.