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Studying Abroad: Black and African American Students

In the United States, the percentage of Black or African American students who study abroad is not proportional to the number who are pursuing an undergraduate education. SUNY Geneseo is committed to increasing diversity abroad and providing opportunities for all students to pursue an international education.

Being Black or African American comes with its own set of challenges as well as unique benefits. Immersing yourself in another country’s culture and customs can be a stressful but a rewarding experience. When considering study abroad, it is important to consider the intersectionality of identities abroad. How will being Black and American impact your experience in your host country? Black and a woman? Black and trans or nonbinary? Starting here is a great way to start this journey. This page is dedicated to providing you with resources in order for you to better understand your identity abroad.

Why Study Abroad?

Starlett Craig lists some compelling reasons for Black/African American students to consider study abroad, as well as describing her own experience with travel and international education.

Discrimination and Race Abroad

The Black or African American experience abroad can vary country to country. It is important to do further research on your country and search for resources that can be beneficial for you. For example, you can look for facebook groups that help you develop a network and ask questions.

You can also find sites that are dedicated to educating individuals about the Black experience abroad such as, Black Central European Studies Network (BCESN), a network of historians dedicated to challenging racialized presumptions about history, national belonging, and citizenship in Central Europe through knowledge of Black Diaspora. While providing information on each country would be nearly impossible, the following is a contemplation of resources that touch on numerous topics that may be beneficial to you!

Blogs & Articles
  • Black students studying abroad frequently ask what to do with their hair. Five women share their experience and their tips on how they managed their hair and what you can do. This is a list of tips and tricks you should keep in mind while traveling.
  • Blogger, Kimberly Mukuriah discusses her study abroad experience as a black woman in Japan. From Southern California, her diverse background didn’t always call for her to look at how others perceived her skin color and why it made a difference.
  • This guide, created by students at the University of Pittsburgh, chronicles the varied experiences of African American students who have studied abroad. Their testimonials speak to the wide range of attitudes and reactions experienced by students of color while abroad.
Videos
  • Nneya Richards talks about her experience of being Black while visiting numerous countries including Spain and Portugal. She speaks to the life changing benefits she received while also addressing some of her challenges including racism.
  • Arien Atterberry, a black student, studied in Spain. He touches upon his adjustment from American to Spanish lifestyle and the experiences he encountered connected to his racial identity.
  • A short video by a black American woman who briefly touches upon her realizations of her privileges but deep rooted history that impact her identity.
  • This video breaks down the Black experience in China as Youtube vlogger "Girl on The Way" offers a window into her experience abroad. 

Scholarships and Financial Resources

Students of all backgrounds and ethnicities cite money as an impediment to studying abroad. Geneseo works to help make traveling abroad an affordable and accessible opportunity for all students through numerous scholarships as well as financial advisement. Visit our Scholarship webpage to access a list of possible scholarships.