Religious and spiritual practices vary from location to location, as do tolerance levels towards minority practices. Depending on where you choose to study abroad and your preferences, religion and spirituality could play a significant role in your day-to-day routine. Some students express their religion or spirituality visually through clothing, some have specific dietary requirements or times of prayer, while others are able to practice alone without restrictions or fixed schedules. It is important to research the resources available to you, as well as what you may experience in terms of religious and spiritual acceptance while you are abroad. Taking a look at the population and views of your host country will allow you to travel with informed expectations about how your religious or spiritual practices or that of the host country’s, will impact your study abroad experience.
Some questions to ask:
- What is the dominant religion in my host country? Am I in the religious/spiritual majority or minority? Are all religions tolerated?
- Is it appropriate to wear religious clothes and symbols?
- Are there safe spaces of worship for me to practice my religion/spirituality?
- Are there laws prohibiting the practice and/or spreading of my religion/spirituality?
- Am I willing/able to participate in religious/spiritual practices different from my own?
- What resources are available for fulfilling dietary needs?