Customs, beliefs, laws, facilities, and social practices are likely different than in the U.S. Students are often concerned about how they will be perceived in their host country. Sometimes students have the experience of being in the minority for the first time. Others are concerned that their race, sexual orientation, language, ethnicity, religion, gender, etc. will impact their experience.
Before you depart, think about what it is going to be like to be "you" abroad, the various ways you might identify yourself, and how these identities define you in the U.S. These definitions might change in your host country, and you may encounter stereotypes, questions, and curiosity surrounding your identities. Think about your expectations versus what the reality might be abroad, and be prepared if your experiences lead to feelings of frustration, isolation, and fatigue. However, while you may face challenges, remember that being in a new cultural context is a wonderful opportunity for change and growth — and it will provide you with a new perspective on the structure of different societies. As you navigate reflections around identity, you are not alone. The Brown study abroad advising team, fellow students, and on-site staff are great resources to help you process your experience abroad.