Women Abroad

General Travel Tips

  • Be aware of cultural differences, including body language, that may be misinterpreted in your host culture. 
  • Trust your instincts. If you do not feel safe or if someone's behavior is making you uncomfortable, remove yourself from the situation.
  • Travel in groups of at least two, especially when you are unfamiliar with a city or town. Walk with purpose and avoid eye contact with strangers.
  • Firmly say "no" to any invitation you do not want and turn away. Ignore persistent overtures.
  • Stay in control. Don't drink alcohol in excess; staying sober allows you to be alert and aware of your surroundings.

Gender Issues

Depending on your destination, you may find gender roles to be very different than what you are accustomed to in the United States. Women may not have the same status or role in the host country. Students may experience anxiety, frustration, and even anger after experiencing these differences first hand. 

You may find pre-existing stereotypes of American women, or assumptions about American sexuality and gender roles. These stereotypes are drawn from many sources including movies, television, and the internet. If you are in a situation where you are confronted with issues that make you uncomfortable, it is important to talk with your on-site contact about various coping mechanisms to handle the concern and to ensure your personal safety. In many cases, students walk away with a greater understanding of the cultural influences and the obstacles facing their peers. You may also develop a more sophisticated appreciation of cultural differences and gender equality.

Women Abroad

Health and Safety

Take a look at our Health and Safety page for general travel tips! (Emergencies, Immunizations, etc.)

Resources

In order to have a safe, successful and truly rewarding experience its important to be aware of cultural differences involving gender roles, expectations and norms, as well as dating and behavioral expectations. The following are a few resources specifically for female travelers.

 

Brown University's Diversity Issues in Study Abroad Handbook

A collection of student quotes addressing diversity issues including ethnicity, heritage, sexual orientation, religion, minority/majority issues, physical appearance and language.

 

Cross-Cultural Adaptation Among Women

A study by Erin Jansen.

 

Culturally Correct Clothing Advice for Women

A collection of country-specific tips from women travelers.

 

Her Own Way

Practical tips specifically of interest to the female traveler.

 

Journeywoman Online Magazine

Information for women travelers from women travelers; there is also a free e-mail newsletter you can subscribe to from this site.

 

Sexual Harassment and Prevention in College Students Studying Abroad

Article on sexual harassment while studying abroad, including women's experiences, causes and ways to prevent harassment.

 

University of Michigan International Center Women Abroad Guide

A handbook meant to help women be knowledgeable, prepared and safe abroad; it includes a collection of student comments and tips.

 

Women Travelers

From Rick Steve's Graffiti Wall, tips for women traveling to Europe from women who traveled to Europe on packing, appropriate attire, safety, etc.