Studying abroad in a different country and being immersed in a different culture can expose women to different attitudes that may not be prevalent back at home. It is recommended that before students go abroad that they research their host country’s cultural values and behaviors regarding women.
Across many countries, traditional gender roles often inform how women are expected to act, dress and even speak to others. What might be perceived as common behavior for women in the U.S. may be misinterpreted in other countries.
Sometimes, what is considered “acceptable behavior” for women in the U.S. has sexual connotations in other cultures, so it’s important to talk with other women who have been to the country and may know what type of behavior is most culturally appropriate. Students will also want to find out what the local attitudes are towards American women.
Tips for Women Abroad
- Do research on gender roles and history beforehand.
- Put your safety first, and be aware of your surroundings.
- Dress and act like the local women to avoid standing out.
- Be aware of cultural differences, including body language, that may be misinterpreted in the host culture.
- Talk with other women who have studied abroad to find out more about their experiences.
- UWM Women’s Resource Center
- Her own way
- U.S. State Department Information for Women Travelers
- Diversity Abroad Women Abroad
Even while students abroad are still Panthers!, they are first and foremost UWM students, and are always welcome to contact the Women’s Resource Center.