Religion and culture are intertwined in many countries around the world, and studying abroad provides a unique opportunity to learn about world religions and the role they play in different cultures. Exposure to different belief systems while living and studying abroad may prompt questions about your religious identity and may cause you to reflect more about your religious or spiritual practice. Research about religious life in your host country before you go abroad, and while abroad, keep an open mind about religious practices. In doing this, you'll be able to gain a better understanding of your own belief system(s) and an increased familiarity of others'.
Things to Consider
- Will you be part of a religious majority or a religious minority abroad?
- If you are planning to practice your religion abroad, are there any places of worship you can visit? If not, how will you plan to practice your religion?
- How tolerant is your host country about religion and spirituality? How are atheists or agnostics perceived? Will it be safe for you to wear religious symbols and/or clothing?
- Is there separation of church and state in your host country? Are there laws about religion?
- If you have religious dietary restrictions, will they be accommodated in your host country? If you are living in a homestay, are you open to living in a household with a different religious background than yours?
- Are there any religious holidays that are celebrated as public events in your host country?
- Are there any places of worship that you will be able to visit, as part of your study abroad program or on your own? What do you need to know before visiting (such as dress code, etc.)?
Brown Office of the Chaplains and Religious Life works to ensure that a diversity of beliefs have voice and vitality throughout the University community
Brown Religious Literacy Project is a non credit-bearing semester long undertaking meant to deepen participants’ understanding of what it means to be religiously literate.
Brown Inter-Religious Working Group works with the Office of the Chaplains and Religious Life and provides counsel and advice to OCRL, as well as to the Diversity and Campus Life Advisory Boards. It will assess and advise proactively on matters of religion, religious identity, and spiritual practice and diversity.
Brown Hillel - As the largest student organization on campus, offers performing artists, lectures, Jewish learning, symposiums, community action projects, Israel study, and a safe place for students to be Jewish.
Diversity Abroad provides tips for students on how to best prepare for studying abroad; includes advice, scholarship information, student testimonials, and more.
Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures Project lets you explore the rapidly changing religious profile of the world.
BBC Religion and Ethics provides news and commentary on religion worldwide.
The Pluralism Project: The Pluralism Project at Harvard University seeks to help Americans engage with the realities of religious diversity.
U.S. State Department Religious Freedom Information: The annual Report to Congress on International Religious Freedom – the International Religious Freedom Report – describes the status of religious freedom in every country.
For students searching for a particular religious or spiritual group abroad the following sites may prove helpful (adapted from Northwestern University Study Abroad).
International Humanist and Ethical Union: IHEU is the world union of over a hundred Humanist, rationalist, secular, ethical culture, atheist and freethought organizations in more than 40 countries.
Secular Web: List of organizations, including a limited number of international student organizations.
World Buddhist Directory: Worldwide searchable database of Buddhist organizations.
Buddhist Centers and Organizations: List of Buddhist communities in 66 countries.
Christianity Today International: International network of Christian ministries.
Many denominations have their own church directories. Try searching for your denomination and your host country or city name.
All Hindu Temples: Hindu temple directory in more than 50 countries.
Islamic Finder: Directory of prayer times, Islamic organizations, and mosques worldwide.
Muslim Internet Directory: List of organizations and online resources worldwide.
Halal Restaurants & Stores: Directory of halal restaurants and stores worldwide.
Jewish Virtual Library: List of synagogues worldwide.
Delegation of Jewish American Students: The mission of DoJAS is to provide American Jewish students studying abroad the resources, tools, and connections they need to meaningfully engage with the Jewish community and their Jewish identity.
Kahal Your Jewish Home Abroad aspires to give Jewish students studying abroad each year the resources, tools, and connections they need to meaningfully engage with the Jewish community and deepen their Jewish identity during their semester abroad.
World Union of Jewish Students: WUJS is an international umbrella organization comprised of 48 national independent Jewish Student Unions around the world.
Kosher Restaurants & Stores: Directory of over 3,410 kosher restaurants and stores in over 70 countries.