Legal and social norms, customs, and attitudes towards gender and differences in sexual orientation vary considerably across cultures. In order to stay safe and have positive cultural interactions, you should research the gender and sexual orientation dynamics in the host country community.
If you are a LGBT student, you need to understand that coming out while you are abroad has implications and can affect your experience. Some countries and cultures are open and accepting of LGBT people – Barcelona and Prague are listed as the top two LGBT friendly cities in the world! However, in other places you may encounter hostility or life-threatening legislation.
Women make up the majority of study abroad students. Many women have successful experiences abroad but it is important to understand your host country’s gender norms. The way you dress or act abroad can reinforce or detract from these stereotypes. Remember that your dress and body language may be commonplace in the U.S. but in your future host country your actions may draw unwanted attention.