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Intersectionality of Identities: Traveling as People of Color

When studying and living abroad, students find that their identities are challenged. The culture, language, traditions, societal norms and structures of a host region can challenge one's backgrounds, beliefs and values. People of Color (POC) experience intersectionality of ethnic, racial, and national identity on a day-to-day basis in the United States. When translated to an international context, it can be difficult and often overwhelming to navigate perceptions of an identity that is challenged in a different way than when at home. New experiences with stereotypes, political opinions, and beauty standards that vary across different cultures can be stressful and cause difficulties to arise.

 

What does it mean to be African American, Asian American, Pacific Islander, Latinx American, Native American, or mixed race, and how will that be seen when travelling and living abroad? How does this apply to your specific host country? In this workshop, we strive to provide POC students with tangible takeaways and tools to think about their identities in a new global and cultural context and deal with difficulties that may arise from their experiences abroad.

 

Identity Markers

Your many identity markers provide you with your 'sense of self', and the unique individual that you are. Although many identity markers exist, you may only consider a handful of identity markers on an average day. This is because our identities are multifaceted, complex, and relative to our location. During this workshop, students are encouraged to consider what their personal identities would mean for their study abroad experience. They explore the intersection of their identities and the ways they could shape their international experience. Considering your identities across the dimensions of gender, nationality, race, ethnicity, family background, ability, class, religion, and sexual orientation allows us to explore the ways in which who you are may affect your everyday experiences globally.

 

Additional Resources

There are countless resources on identity, diversity, access and inclusion as they pertain to studying at home and abroad. Here are some resources outside of the Tulane community that you can begin to explore. These resources are the beginning tools for you to continue to expand your own learning and self-reflection. The more you reflect and read prior to your departure, the more prepared you will be to encounter challenging learning situations and moments that you and your peers will experience throughout your time living and studying abroad:

 

Diversity Abroad

Diversity Abroad is a non-for-profit organization based in the United States that strives to provide resources on diversity, access, inclusion and equity for students that wish to study, work or intern abroad. Check out the following resources to consider current issues and perspectives of study abroad students:

Diversity & Inclusion Abroad Guide https://www.diversityabroad.com/article/diversity-and-inclusion-abroad-guide

Minority & Students of Color Abroad https://www.diversityabroad.com/article/students-of-color-abroad

Articles https://www.diversityabroad.com/articles

 

Oneika the Traveler

Oneika Raymond’s travel blog is dedicated to “inspiring people of color to see the world.” Her award-winning blog follows Oneika’s adventures around the world and many articles are dedicated to her personal experiences as a black woman travelling abroad:

Oneika the Traveler http://www.oneikathetraveller.com/

 

IFSA

IFSA (Institute for Study Abroad) is a program provider that has partnered with the Office of Study Abroad to make a selection of their programs available for Tulane students. On their website, IFSA has helpful guides for you to plan for navigating the intersections of your and your peers' identities in a foreign context:

Diversity & Inclusion https://www.ifsa-butler.org/see-yourself-abroad/

 

IES

IES (Institute for the International Education of Students) is another program provider and partner institution of Tulane University. Similar to IFSA, select IES programs are approved for Tulane students. See the following resources on the IES website regarding diversity, access and inclusion:

Student Diversity & Access

https://www.iesabroad.org/student-diversity-access

"Language Learning while Negotiating Race and Ethnicity Abroad," by Tracy Quan https://frontiersjournal.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Quan-XXX-2-Language-Learning-while-Negotiating-Race.pdf

 

GoAbroad

GoAbroad is an organization that partners people looking to study and travel abroad with companies and organizations that offer international programs. On their website, there are various articles written about diversity and different experiences with culture and identity while abroad:

Diversity Articles https://www.goabroad.com/articles/diversity

 

Fund for Education Abroad

The Fund for Education Abroad (FEA) is a non-profit organization that seeks to provide scholarships and support to students who are underrepresented in study abroad. This journal article written by a student outlines an experience with POC identity while studying abroad: 

“Using the Term “People Of Color” Abroad” by Olivia Morales https://fundforeducationabroad.org/journals/using-term-people-color-abroad/

 

University of Kansas

The University of Kansas Study Abroad & Global Engagement has an online resource to help students of color navigate the study abroad process:

Students of Color Abroad https://studyabroad.ku.edu/multicultural-students

 

Hofstede Insights

Dutch professor and social scientist Geert Hofstede conducted comprehensive research on cross-cultural communication and national culture in an organizational context. The theory and model that he developed for cultural dimensions can help students compare their host country values with their home country and personal values. The following websites explain Hofstede’s model and provide a tool for comparing countries:

Dimensions of National Culture https://www.hofstede-insights.com/models/national-culture/

Compare Countries Tool https://www.hofstede-insights.com/product/compare-countries/

 

Tulane On-Campus Resources

The Carolyn Barber Pierre Center for Intercultural Life (Multicultural Affairs, Gender & Sexuality, Religious Life)  https://intercultural.tulane.edu/

Center for Academic Equity https://academic-equity.tulane.edu/

Student Resources and Support Services https://srss.tulane.edu/

The Well: The Well for Health Promotion https://campushealth.tulane.edu/services/well