Global Brown
Undergraduate Study Abroad

Religion & Spirituality Abroad

Religion and culture are intertwined in many countries around the world, and studying abroad provides a unique opportunity to learn about world religions and the role they play in different cultures.

Exposure to different belief systems while living and studying abroad may prompt questions about your religious identity and may cause you to reflect more about your religious or spiritual practice. Research about religious life in your host country before you go abroad, and while abroad, keep an open mind about religious practices. In doing this, you'll be able to gain a better understanding of your own belief system(s) and an increased familiarity of those of others.

Things to Consider

  • Will you be part of a religious majority or a religious minority abroad?
  • If you are planning to practice your religion abroad, are there any places of worship you can visit? If not, how will you plan to practice your religion?
  • How tolerant is your host country about religion and spirituality? How are atheists or agnostics perceived? Will it be safe for you to wear religious symbols and/or clothing? 
  • Is there separation of church and state in your host country? Are there laws about religion? 
  • If you have religious dietary restrictions, will they be accommodated in your host country? If you are living in a homestay, are you open to living in a household with a different religious background than yours?
  • Are there any religious holidays that are celebrated as public events in your host country?
  • Are there any places of worship that you will be able to visit, as part of your study abroad program or on your own? What do you need to know before visiting (such as dress code, etc.)?

Religious and Spiritual Groups Abroad

For students searching for a particular religious or spiritual group abroad the following sites may prove helpful (adapted from Northwestern University Study Abroad).

  • International Humanist and Ethical Union:
  • IHEU is the global representative body of the humanist movement, uniting a diverse community of non-religious organizations and individuals.
  • Secular Web: Dedicated to defending and promoting a naturalistic worldview on the Internet; offers thousands of essays, reviews and critiques.

Many denominations have their own church directories. Try searching for your denomination and your host country or city name.

  • Hindu Temples Worldwide: Details of various Hindu temples in Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Australia, Europe, UK and the Caribbean.
  • Islamic Finder: Directory of prayer times, Islamic organizations, and mosques worldwide.
  • Muslim Internet Directory: List of organizations and online resources worldwide.
  • Zabihah: Directory of halal restaurants and stores worldwide.
  • Muslims Abroad: Resources for Muslim students from Rugers University

Resources

The largest student organization on campus, offers performing artists, lectures, Jewish learning, symposiums, community action projects, Israel study, and a safe place for students to be Jewish.
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Tips for students on how to best prepare for religious diversity abroad; includes advice, questions to ask, and resources.
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The Pluralism Project at Harvard University seeks to help Americans engage with the realities of religious diversity.
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