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Major: International Economic Relations
Status: Workygirl

I am fond of chocolates, flowers, friends, loud music, watching movies, taking pictures and traveling!!!

Discrimination problems
Olya Bezvushko

Nowadays, Asian / Pacific Islander American, African-American, Native American and Hispanic students may have reasons to study around the globe, but unfortunately there is no place which is absolutely free of racism, discrimination and ignorance. Be ready to face with different levels of acceptance by some people and discrimination by others while being abroad. You have to be aware that these problems exist in many countries, but it mustn’t prevent you from traveling, you can influence the people you meet positively. Many minority students have completely positive experience when exploring other cultures.

One of the biggest challenges Asian / Pacific Islander American, African-American and Hispanic students face while studying abroad is the curiosity factor. In some predominantly Eastern Europe and Asian countries they may get prolonged stares because they look so differently. Sometimes it occurs just because people in those countries can see other race representative only on TV. So do not worry about excessive attention to your nationality.        

Moreover, there are some special things to consider about some minorities and their safety:

- Women. Unwanted attention can appear from a small nuisance to a highly possibility of danger. The way women communicate with men in your country may not be as socially acceptable in other countries. What is thought to be “friendly” in the home country can turn to be a flirt or sexual invitation in others, so make sure you establish behavior that shows that you are not interested. To avoid troubles, ask your program’s administrator or local women you meet about what is considered to be “appropriate” behavior and dress there.  

- Ethnic and Religious Minorities. You may not be considered an ethnic or religious majority in your home country, but when you go abroad you appear to be a minority. The way you look may be different from the one the locals have, especially if the population oh the host country is very homogeneous. If somebody’s comments offend you, try to stay tactful. Besides, if others where you will be studying have been attacked for practicing the religion you practice, any signs of your religious affiliation may put you at risk as well. Ethnic and religious issues shouldn’t be a negative factor of your study abroad experience so it is better to do a little research ahead of time to discover the national sentiment and current events of your future host company.  

- Students with Disabilities. In some countries there are still some prejudices and stereotypes about disabled students. They may be stared at, un-assisted, ignored and talked down there. In addition, many countries do not meet the requirements for providing access for the disabled, such as wheelchair ramps, Braille signs and handicapped parking spaces. Moreover, the lack of services may be provided not only for those with physical disabilities but also to those with learning one, like mentally challenged. If you need some special arrangements abroad to be made, it is better to inquire far in advance. 

- LGBT Students. It is important for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender students to know that sexual identities are different from country to country. There are countries, where homosexual sex can result in severe state-sanctioned punishment. Study the LGBT issues and law of the host family. If you don’t want to compromise on your lifestyle or if you are concerned that your sexual orientation may be at risk, then you may have to be selective on where you travel.    


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