Northeastern University serves a diverse student population, and promotes inclusive practices both on campus, and abroad. This section contains important information and resources for ability, identity, and religion to help students make the most of their time abroad.

Read blogs from IES' IDEA Correspondents! IDEA Correspondents are students of diverse background, in regards to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation/identity, gender identity/expression, non-traditional major, physical/mental health/learning ability, socio-economic status, and/or as first-generation in their family to attend college, who share how their identities intersect with their study abroad experience.

Disability in any form will not prevent you from going abroad, Northeastern University and our partner institutions may be able to provide assistance and accommodations during your time abroad. If you have a physical, mental, or learning disability, and you would like information regarding similar services provided overseas, you should contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC) and GEO. The DRC can write an official letter explaining special needs to the host school. Please contact the individuals listed below for more information.


It is important to research your host country before arriving in order to ensure a positive experience during your time abroad. For LGBTQA students, this involves having an understanding of your host country’s laws and attitudes regarding sexual identity. For this reason, it is essential for you to determine how comfortable you would feel adjusting your behaviors to suit the cultural norms. In order to be properly informed, make sure to explore LGBTQA internet resources and travel guides, such as the ones below.

Some questions to ask yourself before going abroad might be:

  • How open will I be about my sexual orientation and gender identity with my teachers, peers, friends, host family and others?
  • What resources are available in my host country for those who identify as LGBTQA?
  • Are there any LBGTQA-friendly establishments nearby? How can I find them?
  • What are my safety needs and perceptions, and how can they best be met?
  • Will I need access to any medications, supplies, or services due to my transgender status? Are they available in my host country?


While abroad, your identity may be perceived differently than it is in America. You may be going to a country where you are now part of the majority, minority, or maybe your identity as an American will take precedence above all else. Before going abroad, it is important to take the following questions into consideration and anticipate any needs or concerns you have.

  • How is my ethnic group perceived in my host country? What kind of stereotypes are there?
  • How should I react if I find something to be offensive or racist?
  • Has my host family housed minority students before? If not, will this be an issue for them?
  • Am I used to being part of the majority at home but will be a minority abroad? Or vice versa?
  • Who will I contact if I do face racial or discriminatory incidents?
  • Does my program have support staff that will understand and help me through any racial or discriminatory incident I may face?


Religions are perceived, practiced and play various roles in countries around the world. Religion(s) in your host country can play a large role in your experience abroad. If you do or do not practice a religion, you may want to ask yourself the following questions while preparing for your experience abroad.

  • What do you know about the religion(s) of your host country?
  • What is the attitude of people in your host country towards other religions?
  • How are religious holidays observed and celebrated?
  • How will people perceive your religion? Is your religion legal in your host country?
  • Is there a community of people with the same religion as you? Are there places to practice your religion in your host country?
  • Will your religion’s holidays be observed and celebrated in your host country? If not, how do you plan to observe holidays?
  • If you have religious dietary needs or restrictions, will they be accommodated in your host country?