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Religion and Spirituality

A great benefit of going abroad is that you have the opportunity to learn about other religions and values that you may be less familiar with. This can allow you to become a more understanding, open-minded and well rounded person. Be prepared as well for the idea that you may be a part of the religious majority at home, but will be part of the religious minority in your host country and vice versa. To help you prepare, it is best to do your research before going abroad about the country's religion and religious practices. 

Diversity Abroad provides a comprehensive list of questions you should ask before going abroad and also tips about religion:

Must Ask Questions about Religion:
  • What is the dominant religion in my host country? 
  • Will I be part of the religious majority or minority abroad? 
  • Are there any laws regarding religion? Is there a separation between religion and government? 
  • How tolerant is the host country of other religions? What about atheists and agnostics? 
  • Is it safe for me to wear religious symbols or clothing? 
Tips about Religion:
  • Stay open minded about religious practices, even if you receive criticism for your beliefs. 
  • If you are planning to practice your religion abroad, you may want to find out what places of worship there are. 
  • If you have religious dietary restrictions, be sure to let your program director or appropriate staff know ahead of time. 
  • Depending on where you go, religion may have a larger or smaller role than it does in the U.S. 
  • Use your experience abroad to learn about world religions the role they play in diverse cultures. 
Make sure to take a look at the following resources as well:
U.S. Department of State-International Religious Freedom
Harvard University-The Pluralism Project
BBC Religions