A student’s religion might be one of the aspects of a student’s identity that is least looked at by a student, but it is important to account for religious considerations when studying abroad.
In many countries and cultures, religion is an important aspect of the lives of the natives, and it may vary depending on what country students travel to. Along with preliminary research of the country, CIE recommends that students also research the country’s religion and consider how it may affect them while abroad.
It is also important for students to remember to stay open-minded about different beliefs they may encounter, and consider how their own beliefs will be received abroad. Learning about a country’s major religions can be a good opportunity to learn more about its culture. If students plan to worship abroad, it is important to do some research on what locations will be available.
Religious Considerations When Studying Abroad
Questions to consider before studying abroad:
- What is the degree of religious tolerance in your host country? What is the dominant religion in your host country? Are all religions tolerated?
- Will you be part of the religious majority or minority?
- Is it safe to wear religious symbols and/or clothing?
- How are atheists and agnostics perceived in the host country?
- Are there laws regarding religion (ex. proselytizing Christianity is banned under Chinese law)?
- Is there separation of religion and the government?