One of the main reasons students choose to go abroad is to experience a new environment, new culture, new people and new backgrounds. In doing this, many students discover that not only are they learning about the world and different cultures, but they are also teaching the world about their respective culture, history and roots.

Here at TEAN, we strive to be a leader in supporting students from all backgrounds to be able to travel and learn abroad. Our aim is to empower our students and help prepare them for a life-changing experience. By making sure you ask all the right questions before departure, you can ensure you’re supported and taken care of while abroad.

Any type of discrimination from TEAN program participants during their time abroad will not be tolerated in any way. TEAN encourages you to come forward to any TEAN staff member you feel comfortable with regarding any acts of discrimination that you experience or witness. All instances of discrimination, regardless of severity, are relevant and you are encouraged to report them to any TEAN employee. We assure complete anonymity and privacy in these situations as it is our top priority to ensure the safety and comfort of our students.

Overview

Questions to Ask

Before choosing a location to study abroad, ask yourself these questions:

  • What kind of day-to-day support do I normally receive and am accustomed to at home?
  • What additional support may I need in my host country?
  • What is the general attitude towards people like me in my host country?
  • Have I met with the support services office at my home university?
  • Have I notified my home university’s study abroad office and my program provider about my concerns?

Culture Shock

When you think of the term “culture shock,” it’s easy to imagine a drastic outburst or surprise at something being outrageously different from what you are used to at home and the adverse reactions that may follow. However, culture shock takes on many forms. All of our TEAN staff have dealt with culture shock at one point during our travels, whether it be missing a familiar food from home or getting frustrated with local customs that are unfamiliar. In these instances, our team always falls back on one of our favorite mottos, “It’s not wrong, just different.” Having this perspective can open your eyes to lots of nuances of your host culture, allow you to reflect on your own experiences and consider why you do things the way that you do.


Meet Our Team

The entire TEAN team is here to help you prepare for an incredible time abroad. Our aim is to make you feel informed, comfortable, empowered and supported throughout every step of your journey. We also want you to feel free to reach out directly to your program manager regarding any concerns you may have relating to your health, safety or identity.

In addition, Nick Falzone is our team’s Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator and you are encouraged to use him as a resource within TEAN as well. Nick comes to TEAN from Loyola University Chicago with a BA in Psychology. He has studied abroad on several programs in Europe and has spent significant time traveling through the South Pacific with TEAN over his five years with the company. He is passionate about advocating against social injustices, racism, homophobia, xenophobia and all discriminatory social constructs. It is his priority, along with TEAN’s, to ensure students of all backgrounds have access to and are encouraged to travel, specifically through study abroad.


Specific Groups

If you see a group that you identify with not included on this list below, please let us know! The scope of diversity and disabilities is ever expanding and changing, and TEAN’s aim is to be at the forefront of this for our students.

Racially & Ethnically Diverse Students

Racially & Ethnically Diverse Students

In some cases you may find yourself in a situation where locals of your host country may be meeting someone with your skin tone or culture for the first time. This can lead to stereotypical judgments and unfair assumptions. People may be more curious about you and your background; however, that curiosity may lead to a lot of directed questions which under our cultural norms may be felt as invasive or in bad taste. Additionally, you will be traveling with other Americans and international students, so there is a chance for discriminatory attitudes and ignorance to stem from within the group as well.

Please be reminded, TEAN has a zero tolerance policy for discrimination of any kind, and you are encouraged to report any acts of discrimination you experience or witness while abroad. These encounters can force a lot of emotions to surface, sometimes unexpectedly. There’s no right or wrong way to manage your feelings, especially when talking about identity. It’s important to prepare for the potential of these encounters and create a plan of how to navigate if or when they happen.

Questions to think about:

  • Is there racial or ethnic discrimination where I’m traveling or in my host country? Is the discrimination against people of my skin tone or heritage?
  • Are there communities of people like me where I’m traveling or in my host country?
  • Are there stereotypes of people of my background in this country?i If so what are they?
  • Have I had to manage racism or discrimination previously? What tools have I learned to deal with this should I encounter it?
Relevant Links

8 Signs You’re a Black (American) Student Traveling Abroad
Managing Black Hair While Studying Abroad
Traveling While Black
Traveling While Latino
7 Things that only Latino Travelers Understand
Casual Racism in Travel
Traveling while Asian
TWA: Traveling while Asian
Traveling While Asian, Queer, And Tattooed: WHICH IS WORSE?
Traveling as a Person of Color Is Stressful
Traveling while Arab
Traveling While Sikh

Economically Disadvantaged Students

Economically Disadvantaged Students

TEAN offers housing options in many of our programs with a range of cost to increase student accessibility and overall affordability. All of our program costs are publicly displayed on the individual TEAN program pages along with estimated costs for items not included in an effort to remain transparent and allow our students to plan a realistic budget. Working rights for students vary in each country so you may find yourself restricted from paid work and needing to save up enough money for day-to-day expenses while abroad. We offer a variety of scholarships through directly through TEAN, as well as scholarships through our partner universities. We also provide information about non-TEAN related scholarships available for students. TEAN will accept any form of incoming financial support that students have access to. In addition, students can complete a Financial Aid Agreement form, which allows payment to be delayed until funds are disbursed from their home university. Our aim is to be as straightforward and supportive as possible to ensure study abroad can be a reality for everyone.

Questions to think about:

  • Do I know when my bills are coming or due?
  • Do I know the financial aid process for my home university and my program? Am I eligible for additional aid?
  • Have I asked my university study abroad office about scholarship opportunities through the school?
  • Have I asked for alternative payment options from my advisor?
  • Have I looked into work options in my host country?
  • What are the estimated living costs for my program?
  • What’s the exchange rate and cost of living difference?
  • If I’m expecting funds from a person back home, how can I easily access those?
  • Does the company I’m purchasing my flight from offer a delayed payment plan?
  • Can I take a reduced course load at my university abroad to lower my tuition costs?
  • Have I expressed priority for the most economical housing options with my program manager?
Relevant Links

TEAN Scholarships
TEAN Financial Aid Information
5 Ways to Fund Your Study Abroad
Funding Study Abroad: For American Students
How You Can Actually Afford to Study Abroad
Myths and Realities of Financing Study Abroad

Heritage Seekers

Heritage Seekers

In America, we find ourselves commonly explaining our heritage as a part of a culture group. Many citizens of America identify with their familial culture outside of being solely American. Going abroad is often an opportunity to celebrate and reconnect with that cultural identity. However, when students travel abroad, they find that they are commonly identified as being an American first, rather than any identity with their cultural group. It’s common to struggle with being seen as an outsider, especially in cases where you strongly feel a part of your claimed culture group. It’s also a possibility that you will be treated as a visiting member of the community rather than a person coming “home.” It’s important to prepare yourself for all possible scenarios and not let it negatively affect your experience abroad. There are many ways to identify as an individual, and those can change with your experiences as you travel and further explore your identity. Allow yourself to be flexible with your interactions with others in all cultures, and view this as an opportunity to get to know unexplored parts of what makes you, you.

Questions to think about:

  • Will I be seen as a part of the community or as an outsider in my host country?
  • Do I know the language of my host country?
  • Will I be visiting family in this area?
  • What do I hope to learn about this culture and how may that reshape my identity?
Relevant Links

Studying Abroad In My Own Country
Neither Here Nor There: The Reality of Heritage Study Abroad
Seeking your roots
How Studying Abroad In Ghana Changed My Racial Consciousness

First Generation Students

First Generation Students

First Generation identity can present itself in a variety of ways. Whether you’re the first generation of your family born in America, first generation to go to college, first generation to travel abroad or any other variation, it’s common to be met with a lot of questions from your relatives. Sometimes these plans can also be met with resistance or hesitation. Families without members who have attended college or have experienced traveling abroad often have a unique set of questions as they are personally unfamiliar with the processes. Families who have immigrated to America may not understand your desire for wanting to spend time abroad, as their prerogative may have been to ensure you being in America. Ultimately, every family just wants to ensure safety and success for their relatives. Our staff is happy to answer any questions that may come up during the study abroad process directly with family members to alleviate any uneasiness. This is an opportunity to learn even more about yourself and expand your opportunities, without experiencing deterrent hesitation from your family.

Questions to think about:

  • Do I need additional resources or support to make going abroad a reality?
  • Would it help to put my friends or family in touch with my advisor for questions?
  • What did I experience when I first went to college and will I go through that process again?
  • Have I successfully addressed my family’s concerns about safety abroad?
Relevant Links

How to Deal with Unsupportive Friends and Family
I’m First!
A Different Experience: Supporting First Generation College Students in Education Abroad
Ask a First Generation Student: Diversity and Study Abroad
As study abroad becomes more crucial, few low-income students go

LGBTQ+ Students

LGBTQ+ Students

While the international acceptance of people of the LGBTQ+ community is growing, there are still many countries that have strict laws that dictate how this community is expected to (or not to) exist. Larger cities are more inclined to have more LGBTQ+ spaces due to the size of the population. As in all cases, it is important to consider your safety while studying and traveling abroad. The LGBTQ+ community exists across the globe and having accessibility to that network while abroad can provide support and enhance your experience.

Questions to think about:

  • What are the laws regarding my identity in my host country?
  • What housing would I feel most comfortable in? Have I communicated that to my advisor?
  • Is there a club or organization at the university I’m attending that is related to my identity?
  • Is there a local community that puts on events or frequents regular businesses?
Relevant Links

International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association
NAFSA Rainbow Special Interest Group
LGBTQ Travel Safety
Equaldex Collaborative Knowledge Base
LGBTQ* US Passport Information
Traveling While Asian, Queer, And Tattooed: WHICH IS WORSE?
9 Major Life Lessons I Learned Studying Abroad as an LGBT
How Gay Travel is Different (And Why it Matters)

Students with Disabilities

Physical Disabilities

Disabilities present themselves in a variety of different ways, necessitating individualized approach and support. You may find that personal accessibility in your host country can be more challenging, or potentially easier, causing a lot of unexpected feelings to arise. The ADA does not exist in all countries and capacities, so it’s important to know what laws do apply towards your well-being in your host country as they may become relevant to your comfort abroad. You can rely on our staff to do our absolute best to support you and make sure you can participate just as much as any other student on our program. Our aim is to provide individualized support.

Questions to think about:

  • Does the university I’m attending have a support office?
  • Is there a club or organization of students with similar backgrounds?
  • Is the university campus accessible?
  • Is the housing accessible?
  • How do I plan to get to and from class?
  • Is public transport accessible? How will I get around where I’m living?
  • Have I worked out travel arrangements for my flight into the country?
Relevant Links

Mobility International USA
Abroad with Disabilities
Tips for Traveling with Mobility Issues
Studying Abroad With A Wheelchair
Wheelchair Travel — Accessible Travel Blog
How Studying Abroad In My Wheelchair Changed My Life
Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality
The Right to Fall: Study Abroad Whilst Blind
St. Louis to Japan: An Experience with Study Abroad
Dealing with Epilepsy Abroad
How Students with Disabilities Can Study Abroad
National Deaf Center: Creating Access: Study Abroad
Why Your Blind or Visually Impaired Child Should Study Abroad
Should I Disclose My Disability?
12 study abroad resources for students with disabilities
A Guide to Studying in the U.S. for International Students with Disabilities


Learning Disabilities

You may find that the traditional method of teaching in your host country may be a big adjustment from what you’re used to. TEAN strives to set students up for success while they’re abroad, especially when it comes to their academics. Our staff can put you into contact with any support offices or organizations at your host university. We also encourage you to notify your program manager of any testing or classroom accommodations you may want replicated abroad. More often than not, TEAN can set these up on your behalf with your host university. Study groups and tutoring programs are universal, so extra support is available wherever you choose to study.

Questions to think about:

  • Does my host university have a support office?
  • Is there a club or organization of students with similar backgrounds?
  • What additional support do I receive at home? What will I receive at my university?
  • If I take medication to assist me in my learning, is it legal in my host country? Can I get my medication overseas or bring enough for the semester in the country with me? Will I need to change medications according to the local laws?
  • Will I need to take an adjusted course load for the semester? What are the requirements for a semester’s worth of courses at my home and study abroad university?
Relevant Links

Mobility International USA
Abroad with Disabilities
Preparing to Study Abroad: Learning How to Navigate Academic Accommodations
12 study abroad resources for students with disabilities
A Circle of Support


Medical/Allergies

Being aware of day-to-day activities is something many of our students with medical or allergen disabilities face everyday. While it can be easier to control personal environments, going out in uncharted locations can expose a variety of challenges, as encountering a trigger can happen without notice. This can be extremely stressful when wanting to explore and enjoy a new country and culture. You may also find that your trigger is more prevalent in the country you’re traveling to than what you’re used to experiencing at home. It’s important to make sure you meet with your medical professionals and talk through your best options in managing your physical reactions.

Questions to think about:

  • Does my host university have a support office?
  • Is there a club or organization of students with similar backgrounds?
  • Is the item that irritates my condition very prevalent in my host country?
  • Can I guarantee spaces without this in the country?
  • In what new forms may I encounter this trigger while abroad? Ex. Peanut oil vs. Peanuts themselves.
  • Have I met with my doctor?
  • Is my regular medication legal in the country I’m traveling to?
  • Do I need an allergy card indicating my allergies in the host country’s language?
Relevant Links

Mobility International USA
Abroad with Disabilities
SelectWisely: Translation Cards for Food & Drug Allergies, Special Needs, and Medical Needs
How to Travel with a Peanut Allergy and See the World
TSA – Traveling with Medication
New Zealand: Medsafe General Information
New Zealand: Medsafe Bringing/Importing Medication
New Zealand: Medsafe Medication Classification Database
Australia: Therapeutic Goods Association General Information
Australia: TGA Information About Bringing Medication to Australia
Acupuncture Needles and Insulin Syringes


Mental Health

While stigmas around mental health change and evolve worldwide, you will find that in some countries, society still struggles with their views on mental health. The experience of going abroad brings on a lot of new feelings and experiences. Akin to your freshman year, studying abroad can feel like you’re starting over and experiencing somewhere new. Being away from friends, family and familiar places during this time can cause additional concerns, or old uneasiness to arise, causing students to feel insecure or wary. It’s important to prepare yourself for these changes as managing your concerns and being aware of how to deal with them can be a big help in your transition to your new host country.

Questions to think about:

  • Does the university I’m attending have a support office?
  • Is there a club or organization of students with similar backgrounds?
  • Have I met with my doctor?
  • If applicable: Is my regular medication legal in the country I’m traveling to? Have I researched if this medicine is available or able to be imported into my host country?
  • Are there specific triggers that may be more prevalent in this country?
  • Have I talked to my advisor about how best the TEAN team can support me?
  • Are there therapy options in this country? Have I asked my advisor if these are available?
  • Have I developed a Wellness Plan to help navigate my triggers abroad?
Relevant Links

Coping with Homesickness in Australia
Tips for Coping with Anxiety Abroad
How to Deal With Depression While Studying Abroad
What Living Abroad with Depression is Like
How to Cope with Depression Abroad
Travel with Mental Illness
8 Steps to Prepare for Travel Abroad with a Mental Illness
Bipolar Disorder and Travel
Preparations for Travel with Mental Health Conditions
Bipolar travel: going abroad without going into crisis
How I Managed My Mental Health While Living Abroad

Religious Affiliation

Religious Affiliation

Although it’s hard to count, many experts estimate that there are 4,200 religions across the world. You may typically find yourself of a religious minority at home but experience that when you go abroad you’ve become a part of the majority, or vice versa. Some countries also still have strict rules on the practice of religion. Often in large cities you’ll find local communities, groups and organizations of many different faiths. You also may find that your religion in a different part of the world is celebrated differently, or focuses on a different sect of the overarching religion. Whatever the case, view this as an opportunity to learn more about your faith, how it intersects with your identity, and your community at home and abroad.

Questions to think about:

  • What is the most commonly practiced religion of the country I’m traveling to?
  • Are there communities of my religion in my area?
  • Will I need additional support to complete my academics? (for example: excused days for holidays)
  • Is there a club at the school I’m attending for my religion?
  • Is my university religiously aligned or affiliated in any way?
  • Will I have access to necessary food resources in order to eat according to my beliefs?
  • Is there active discrimination against my religion in the country I’m traveling to?
  • Do I display my religious affiliation in a prominent way? Is it safe for me to do that in this country?
Relevant Links

I was afraid of being Jewish while traveling – here’s what changed
Jewish while Traveling
The Anxieties of a Muslim Traveler
Traveling While Muslim: A Hijab’s Airport Adventures
This is what it’s like to travel as as a Sikh man
How Buddhists and Christians can learn from each other
Travelling by Faith Alone
4 Tips to Grow Your Faith While Abroad

Adults Abroad

Adults Abroad

Not everyone pursuing higher education follows the same path. Students who pursue higher education later in life face their own kind of obstacles. Whether it’s raising a family, having a full time job, caring for an elderly family member or any other non-traditional experience while going to college, it’s easy for adult learners to feel distanced from their fellow students. A uniting factor for students going abroad is the desire to learn and explore. Adult students are found worldwide so it’s likely you’ll be able to find a community of students with similar experiences who you can connect with while you’re abroad.

Questions to think about:

  • Is there a club or organization for non-traditional or adult learners at my host university?
  • What is my ideal housing situation? Have I communicated that to my advisor?
  • If I have a family, how can I prepare them for me to go abroad, or what arrangements do
  • I need to make for all of us to travel successfully together?
  • Do I have a personal interest that could connect me with a local community?
  • Have I sorted out my finances for anyone depending on any income?
Relevant Links

Study Abroad for Adults—Yes, It’s a Real Thing
For adult learners, study abroad one step toward realizing dreams
Education Abroad for Adult Learners
The Pros and Cons of Studying Abroad As a Mature Student
Studying Abroad with a Child