The level of commitment to religious diversity and freedom can vary by country. It is important to research and understand the religious and spiritual beliefs of your host country. Spending time in a country where the major religion is different from your own can lead to a better understanding of your own notions of spirituality.
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Steps to Take
- Ask Thoughtful Questions
- Research Your Host Country
- Identify Resources Available
- Discuss Your Study Abroad Plans
- As part of your pre-departure preparations, ask these questions of yourself, your study abroad advisor, and your study abroad program.
- What do you know about the religion(s) of your host country and the role religion plays in society?
- What is the attitude of people in your host country towards other religions?
- How are religious holidays observed and celebrated? Will you want to participate?
- How will people perceive your religion? Is your religion legal in your host country?
- Will you have access to your religion’s places of worship or religious groups? If not, how will you adjust your religious practice while abroad?
- Will your religion’s holidays be observed and celebrated in your host country? If not, how do you plan to observe holidays?
- Will your religious dietary restrictions be accommodated in your host country?
- If you plan to live in a homestay while abroad, are you open to living in a homestay with a similar or diverse religious background from yourself?
- Look at international news sources like The Economist to get a sense of current political and societal issues in your host country.
- On the Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures Project explore religious change and its impact on societies around the world through areas such as, how religious beliefs and practices shape people’s social values and political attitudes, trends in religious affiliation, and comparisons of restrictions on the practice of religion.
- Read news and commentary on religion worldwide through BBC Religion and Ethics.
- On the CIA World Factbook website, look for your host country’s page and research the “People and Society” section, where you can find the religious breakdown of the country.
Campus ResourcesThe following is a list of on-campus resources for Augsburg students. CGEE encourages students from other institutions to visit your home campus faith and religion resource centers for additional support before studying abroad.
- Campus Ministry
- Muslim Student's Association: Advisor Fardosa Hassan, email email@example.com
- The Pluralism Project: The Pluralism Project at Harvard University seeks to help Americans engage with the realities of religious diversity.
- U.S. State Department Religious Freedom Information: The annual Report to Congress on International Religious Freedom – the International Religious Freedom Report – describes the status of religious freedom in every country.
- Listing of religious and spiritual groups abroad
DiscussDiscuss your plans to study abroad with your faith community to find support before you go.
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