Race & Ethnicity

As you prepare for your time abroad, you will likely have many questions about what to expect and what your experience will be like. For some, questions about race and ethnicity, and how these might shape your experience, will be at the forefront of your mind.

While the dynamics of race, ethnicity, and nationality vary widely from culture to culture, systemic and structural racism continue to permeate our world. Regrettably, in most contexts and cultures, travelers abroad will find that the color of their skin often becomes a determining factor in the treatment they receive.

Prior to travel, it is important to learn about the history and dynamics of race and ethnicity at your destination. You may also want to connect with other travelers of your race, ethnicity, or nationality who have been to your program location. If you have specific questions or concerns, please reach out to OIP staff so that we can assist you.

Questions to ask yourself

  • What does the local demography look like in terms of race, ethnicity, and nationality?
  • Is there a history of ethnic or racial tension in the country? Is the situation hostile to members of a minority race, majority race, or particular ethnicity?
  • To what extent are people at your program location familiar with people of your race or ethnicity? What are the prevailing perceptions within local society of people of your race or ethnicity? What social, historical, and political events have shaped these perceptions?