Religion plays a role in many countries and cultures, and depending on where one travels, it may have a larger or smaller role than in the United States. It is a good idea for those students whose religion plays an important role in their life to research religion of a host country before going abroad. One place to start can be the CIA’s World Factbook, which allows search-by-country and provides the most recent statistics on religion.
Some students may wish to worship and/or to follow certain religious practices while abroad. It would be helpful for them to complete advanced research on available locations for worship. There are often centers and student organizations that can be utilized by students, as well. These students can talk with a Study Abroad Advisor if they have specific questions about any needed accommodations (e.g., dietary restrictions, prayer times) and/or discuss concerns about worshiping abroad with the groups they identify.
Students are encouraged to stay open minded about different beliefs they may encounter while abroad and consider how their own beliefs will be received abroad. Learning about a country’s major religions can be a good opportunity to learn more about its culture.
Some other questions to consider include the following:
- What is the degree of religious tolerance in the host country? What is the dominant religion in the host country? Are all religions tolerated?
- Will I be part of the religious majority or minority?
- Is it safe to wear religious symbols and/or clothing? Will it be highly encouraged or required to wear religious clothing (example: hijab, scarves, etc.)?
- How are atheists and agnostics perceived in the host country?
- Are there laws regarding religion (e.g., is proselytizing a certain religion banned under local law)?
- Is there separation of religion and the government?Where will this link to? Right now it links to Madison.
UW-Stout's Multicultural Student Services
UW-Stout's International Club
UW-Stout's religious and spiritual student organizations - Bridges International, Cru, Foundations, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Lutheran Campus Ministry, StoutCatholic, Street Level Ministries, The Well, United Methodist Campus Ministry, and more
*This page was prepared in collaboration with the Multicultural Student Services office. The Study Abroad Team wishes to express its gratitude for the collaboration, input, and support.