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Personal Identity

Whether you are just considering studying abroad or away, or you have already made the decision and been accepted to a program, it is important to prepare and familiarize yourself with various issues that might impact your experience - including matters of personal identity. In this section, we wish to provide information, resources, and questions to ask yourself as you prepare for situations that may arise during your experience abroad or away that challenge, change, or expand aspects of your identity.

What are your identities?

We encourage you to think about the various components of your identity (e.g., sister, student, Asian American, Jewish). Some aspects of your identity may be more easily observed by others (e.g., sex, skin color, age) while others are less observable (e.g., citizenship, mental health, veteran status). Furthermore, it is important to consider that how you identify yourself in the United States may differ from how people view you abroad. 

  • How will you want to talk (or not talk) about parts of your identity with people in the host country?
  • How will you react if someone comments on an easily observable part of your identity in a way that offends you?
  • How might your identity change while you are abroad? 

Beyond considering these questions, we encourage you to explore specific resources provided in this section:
*UW-Stout's Study Abroad Team gratefully acknowledges UW-Madison's International Academic Programs Unit for allowing us to base this section of our website on their Student Identity pages.