DEI Abroad Resources

Students of Color Abroad

Of the estimated 1% of college students who study abroad, an overwhelming majority of these students are white and female. In the U.S. you might be classified by your ethnicity, but abroad, you may be identified first as an American. Whether or not people identify you as an American, they may make assumptions based on your physical appearance. Many people you encounter abroad will show a sincere interest in your culture. There may be people who stare at you or who are eager to touch your hair or your skin. Others may ask insensitive questions about your cultural heritage, physical features, or national origins. 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.

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Campus Contact

Center for Culture, Equity, and Empowerment (CCEE)
4400 University Drive, MSN 2F6
Student Union Building I, Suite 2400
Fairfax, Virginia 22030
Phone: 703-993-2700
Fax: 703-993-4022


  • Remember that people abroad have different cultural norms and tend to be less “politically correct” than people in the U.S.
  • Be aware that people may generalize or incorrectly identify your ethnicity.
  • Build a support network among other study abroad students so that if you do face racial or discriminatory incidents, you'll have support to deal with it.

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