Multicultural Students

Students with multicultural identities will have unique opportunities and challenges during their off-campus study experience(s).  The IOS Office recognizes and honors that many students may face unique familial, financial, and/or personal barriers in the off-campus study process.  The IOS Office strives to remove as many barriers as possible in the application, advising, participation, and re-entry processes.  We strongly encourage all students who are interested in off-campus study to meet with an IOS Advisor or a staff member in the Taylor Center for Equity and Inclusion Office.

Helpful Links: – A Resource for African American/Black Students – A Resource for Hispanic/Latinx Students – A Resource for Native/Indigenous Students – Videos for Students of Color Considering Off-Campus Study
Black Life in China – A Blog
CIA – The World Fact Book (provides information on the history, people, government, economy, etc. of various locations abroad)
Diversity Abroad – Heritage Seekers
Diversity Abroad – Racial & Ethnic Minority Students Abroad
Diversity Abroad – Realizing My Skin Color (an article authored by a student of color) – Meaningful Travel Tips and Tales, African American Perspectives – Students of Color Study Abroad: The Good, The Bad, The Weird
Go Abroad. com – Studying Abroad As A Minority 
IES – IDEA Blogs and Stories by Students of Color on Their Experiences Abroad
‘Let’s Talk: The Challenge of Diversity in Buenos Aires’ – Student Created Video about the challenges of diversity in Buenos Aires, Argentina
PLATO – Resources for Students of Color Considering Off-Campus Study
The Blog Abroad – A Blog by a Woman of Color and Her Travels Abroad
U Go Gurl – Resource for Black/African American Women

Additional Considerations:
– How long do you want to be off campus?  How will your off-campus experience fit into your four-year plan?
– How is your racial or ethnic identities perceived in the host community?  What stereotypes exist?  What is the history of racism or ethnic tension in the host community?
– If you are traveling to a place where you identify with the local racial identity or cultural heritage, consider how you will be perceived as an American of that identity or heritage.  Remember that culture and customs may differ between you and the host community depending on history and context.  Additionally, be aware that because of these differences or other factors, you may not be viewed as part of the host community by certain individuals.  This may cause feelings of stress, uncertainly, anger, etc. – all of which are completely valid.
– How visible is the racial or ethnic community in the host community?  Are there organizations you can join or be apart of, if interested?
– If you are living with a host family, have they hosted a student of color or ethnically diverse student in the past?  If not, will this be an issue for them – or for you?
– With whom and how can you report and seek support for racially biased or motivated incidents?
– In the United States, you may be perceived by your racial or ethnic identity first, but abroad, many students report being perceived as an American, first and foremost.
– Consider how you may respond or react to requests from locals wanting to take your picture, touch your hair or your skin, ask culturally insensitive questions, etc.  In areas where locals have had minimal contact with people of color, people, especially children, tend to be very curious.
– Some programs offered by St. Olaf are less expensive than the cost of staying on campus for the semester or year.
– Your financial aid package (including scholarships and grants – with the exception of work study while off-campus) will be applied to your off-campus studies program.
– Find support!  Traveling or studying abroad is an exciting and sometimes challenging time, especially, if you are the first in your family to do it.  Be sure to find people on and off campus who support your decision.  Talk with other students about their experience off-campus – what are their tips, insights, and advice?
– Do your research!  The more you know about your academic program and the host community, the more you can prepare and share with your support networks.
– See studying off-campus as an opportunity to expand your understanding of the world, enhance your resume and employment application materials, and as an opportunity to gain new experiences that will inform your future academic coursework and career.