Multicultural Students Abroad

Race and ethnic relations also are culturally determined, which means that while you are abroad, you may be part of an ethnic minority for the first time in your life.

The ethnic identity you have always felt to be an integral part of yourself may be viewed in a completely different way in your host country. If you are visiting a country where you have ethnic or racial roots:

  • You may be expected to behave according to the host country norms in a way that other Americans of a different background are not.
  • Perhaps you’ll be considered “American” first, and your ethnic or racial identity will be considered unimportant.
  • In many countries, there are homegrown ethnic or racial conflicts, and you may be identified with one group or another because of your physical appearance, until people get to know your identity.

It is extremely unlikely that any of these situations will involve any threat of physical harm to you as a student abroad; however, you should prepare yourself for the situations you may encounter by researching the situation in your host country. Upon request, the Glavin Office of International Education staff can try to put you in contact with a student or faculty member at Babson who has experience in your host country and can address these issues with you.


  • Reasons to study abroad for racial minorities.
  • Diversity Abroad: Questions to ask yourself if you are a racial minority going abroad.
  • Heritage Seekers: Some things to think about going abroad as a heritage seeker.
  • Race Abroad (pdf): Information about what it is like to be racial minority abroad
  • Blavity: Words of wisdom for African-American/Black students studying abroad.