Latino/a/x Community Success Abroad
Did you know that only 10 percent of U.S. students studying abroad are Hispanic or LatinX (compared to nearly 70 percent of white students) while 15.2 percent of international students in the U.S. are from Mexico, Central America, and South America (according to the 2019 Open Doors report). CSUEB Study Abroad believes that all students deserve to study abroad and see their world, and we want to help you go abroad!
Why should LatinX students study abroad?
- gain a new perspective on your own country, culture, and identity
- see the world
- increase your employability with gained international experience, cross-cultural skills, and cultural adaptability
- explore your heritage
- obtain new relationships
- fight stereotypes by educating others
- bring new comparative perspectives back home
Race & Ethnicity Abroad
While you may have grown up being classified by your race or ethnicity here in the U.S., when you are abroad you may be classified first by your country–as an American–rather than a Hispanix or LatinX American. Locals you meet will most likely have an opinion about the USA before they meet you and want to discuss U.S. culture, politics, and current events with you, both positive and negative.
Others may also make assumptions based on your physical appearance, resulting in staring at you or wanting to touch your hair or skin. They may openly ask you questions about your cultural heritage, where you’re from, or the way you look.
If someone says or does something that is offensive to you, try to determine if this person is simply curious about you or has bad intentions. In uncomfortable situations, remember to always put your own safety first.
You may identify with your Hispanic/LatinX heritage or demonstrate those values in different situations. This may provide an opportunity to share your culture abroad with others. It is an exciting time but can also be overwhelming. You and your family may wish to discuss the concerns you have about going abroad and want to talk to someone together. It’s important to communicate these needs with your Education Abroad advisor, so we can work together to make sure you are prepared and have the support you need at home and at CSUEB in order to have a positive experience abroad.
You also may have other personal identities, such as multiracial, LGBTQIA, a student with a disability, First-Gen, low-income, and/or non-traditional student. These intersecting identities make you unique! As a result, your experience abroad will also be uniquely yours. We are here to help you navigate your personal journey.
Some questions to consider and research before you go abroad:
- How is my ethnicity/race perceived in my host country? What kind of stereotypes are there?
- As a LatinX how will I be viewed if I student in a Hispanic country?
- What advice do you have for students who will be studying abroad in a country of their heritage?
- If staying in a host family, have they 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?
- Will there be other minority students in my program?
- Who should 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?
- How can I use my presence abroad to represent U.S. diversity and share my culture and values in a positive way?
There are also ways to connect abroad and connect with other Hispanic travelers as well:
- join social media groups and forums
- chat with people “IRL” too
- remember to branch out
- be open minded
- read articles and travel blogs
- host an event in your community