Studying abroad is a great way to learn how to interact with people in different cultures, appreciate their differences, and notice their similarities to you as an individual or to your home culture as a whole. These skills are all the more valuable for careers that work closely with people.
Earning a degree in feminism, gender, and sexuality studies can lead to a wide range of careers, but the common theme is spending time directly with people from a variety of backgrounds. Gender studies graduates may consult businesses on equality practices, become doctors or social workers, or work as artists or journalists. All of these are people-centered professions.
Wherever you wind up, studying feminism, gender, and sexuality studies abroad will provide opportunities to interact with a variety of people on a daily basis while gaining new perspectives on a relatively new field.
Photo credit: Seth Doyle.
When choosing your study abroad program, you'll find that the options for studying feminism, gender, and sexuality abroad are fewer than some of the most common majors. This doesn't mean you won't be able to find what you're looking for.
Look for programs that explore gender studies in literature and art, media and communication, and history and politics. If you're not coming up with much, try searching for specific classes that apply to your major under the sociology umbrella.
Literature and Art
If you are considering art as a career, you are sure to gain inspiration from studying gender in literature and art abroad. Study how feminism and sexuality have influenced past and present through sculptures, paintings, and literature. You could even learn to create your own!
Media and Communication
Although we have easy access to world news and international current events, it doesn't compare to living in the country itself. To find out what people really think, you have to be around them. Through classes in media and communication, learn what roles women around the world are play in the media, how LGBT issues are being treated, and what it means to be a feminist in other parts of the world.
History and Politics
We've all heard that history has been largely told only by men, and there's no doubt that women and minorities are underrepresented in politics. Feminists and activists around the world are making strides to change that.
Isabel Peron of Argentina, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir of Iceland, Pratibha Patil of India, and Anglea Merkel of Germany are just a few examples of international female leaders. By studying gender in history and politics, you'll gain important insight on the past that will help prepare you to make meaningful change for yourself and those around you.
Business and Management
More and more companies are reaching out to individuals with knowledge on equality principles and practices for their expertise. If you have an interest in business and a desire to see them managed fairly, you might consider a career in consulting.
You will have the degree as evidence of your knowledge, but you can set yourself apart by studying abroad. By studying abroad for a semester or year and being intentional about gaining cultural awareness, you can provide valuable knowledge on cultural diversity as well as equality.
Where to Go
Studying abroad in college has been around since the early 1900s. Comparatively, feminist, gender, and sexuality studies are new to higher education, so locations for studying these topics abroad are limited. Europe offers a good deal of options, but with a little digging you can find additional international locations too.
Third party partners have options for women and gender studies in several locations. Your university may have exchange partnerships with international universities that offer classes on feminist, gender, and sexuality studies. You can also enroll directly as an international student at the university of your choice.
Here are a few places to start looking:
Chancellor Angela Merkel has gained a great deal of respect from major powers around the world for her response to financial crises in Germany over the past decade. If you have an interest in German culture and European history, studying abroad in Germany would be a great choice.
If you're interested in Spanish language, culture, and politics, consider studying women and gender studies abroad in Ecuador. You'll have the chance to study social and political transformations, especially in regards to Ecuador's complex and unique culture.
How about studying women and gender studies in Spain? This colorful location is ideal for those who want to improve their Spanish skills near the beautiful Mediterranean Sea. There is so much to experience in Spain, from the excitement of biggest cities to the quiet atmosphere of the small towns.
Studying gender studies in Australia is especially great if you're interested in politics. As a hot spot for study abroad, Australia has plenty of opportunities for students of all majors and interests. Plus, without the language barrier, you could jump into debates and discussions right away.
Planning Your Trip
The majority of programs give you the option to stay on campus or with a host family. Staying with a host family is a great option for learning a new language and "living like the locals", but it won't happen without effort on your part. Talk to your host family in their language as much as possible, even if it means messing up.
For programs that take you to multiple destinations as part of their itinerary, expect to stay in hotels with a group. Use your free time to observe and interact with your host city when possible, and enjoy the chance to cover more ground in less time!
Plan Around Events
Before departure, see if your host city will be holding any events that will be worth seeing, especially in relation to your major.
Many cities have festivals and parades during the summer and early fall to celebrate the LGBT community. Europe has a wide range of these events scattered throughout major cities, with Germany hosting a good portion.