Study Abroad: Asian American/ Pacific Islander Students

The Asian American and Pacific Islander 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 websites that are dedicated to educating individuals about the Asian American and Pacific Islander experience abroad. While providing information on each country would be nearly impossible, the following is a compilation of resources that touch on numerous topics that may be beneficial to you!

Why Study Abroad?

Study abroad is a great opportunity for students to gain new perspectives and unique experiences. An international education allows students to develop a deeper understanding of other cultures, increase their foreign language skills, and build maturity and self-confidence. Students can satisfy major requirements or earn elective credit while abroad.

Experience abroad not only enriches a student's undergraduate education, it can also make them more competitive for jobs after graduation. The benefits of international education are numerous, and are just as important for members of groups that are typically underrepresented in study abroad programs. Transitions Abroad makes a great case for the importance of study abroad in this article produced by its Study Abroad Advisor Program.

Reasons to Study Abroad lists some compelling reasons for Asian American/Pacific Islander students to consider study abroad, and includes some examples of famous Asian American/Pacific Islanders who have learned and benefitted from international experience.

Discrimination and Race Abroad

For students going abroad, it is important to research the history of the country where you will be living. Ideas of race vary from one country to the next, and are often affected by historical processes or events. It is likely that most people will view you as an American, rather than an Asian American. In countries where most people are of the same skin color, people may be curious about your appearance. Questions and even staring are annoying, but are not likely to be the product of negative racial stereotypes.

DiversityAbroad lists questions that a student should consider when researching discrimination in a potential study abroad location. This page also offers tips on dealing with possible negative situations.

Resources: The Student Experience

Blogs can also provide you a more in depth experience with personal annotations. Students who have gone abroad have taken their time to write or video about their journey. While those experiences are exclusive to that specific blogger, you might find connections to your own experiences or nothing at all. However, this can help challenge your perspectives and peak your interests. Take time to look at a variety of blogs by students that look like you and by ones you have no connections with at all! You might also find you are interested in research and would like to know what studies have shown. Below is a beginning guide to understanding how your identity can heighten your study abroad experience.

Blogs & Articles
  • Timothy is a third-year East Asian Studies/Diplomacy and World Affairs double major from Occidental College in Los Angeles. While studying abroad in Japan, Timothy learned what it meant to be Asian-American. He comes to discover more about his American identity after spending most of his life connecting to his Asian identity. Read more to learn about how he came to this discovery.
  • Brittany worried about sticking out as a person of color. During her time in Nantes, she learned about the history rooted in the area that increased the amount of residents of color there. This helped her feel more comfortable during her time abroad. Learn about how Brittany managed homesickness, race, and microaggressions while abroad!

Scholarships and Financial Resources

Scholarships can help finance your study abroad. Visit our Scholarship webpage to access a list of possible scholarships.