Spirituality and Religion Abroad
In many countries throughout the world, religion and culture are interconnected. Studying abroad can provide you the opportunity to not only experience a different culture, but to also examine the role of religion within the cultural context of the host country. As a part of the study abroad process, you may find yourself reflecting on your own religious and spiritual identity and practices. This reflection can make for a richer experience as well as a better understanding of the host culture and your own culture. Also, when starting to research study abroad programs choices, you should consider the host country culture carefully think about how any differential societal perception and norms may impact your experience.
Keep in Mind: Some cultures may have different views about religion, or certain religions, and so it is important that you do your research and be prepared before you study abroad.
When researching a study abroad program, and as you prepare for your time abroad, consider the following questions*:
- 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.)?
* Source: Brown University
Your LUC Study Abroad Advisor: Can help you find more information about the country you plan to go to and connect you with LUC peers who have studied in that country before. Additionally, program evaluations available in the office are a good way to learn what former students have to say about your host country and what you may encounter abroad.
Campus Ministry: Campus Ministry is a Loyola resources for those with questions about faith-related topics.
U.S. State Department: The state of religious freedom in various countries.
Christianity Today International: International networks of Christian ministries.
Many denominations have their own church directories for places of worship abroad. A simple internet search of your denomination and host city and country is a great first step.
World Council of Churches: The WCC represents a broad range from orthodox and protestant denominations.
All Hindu Temples: Directory listing Hindu temples in more than 50 countries.
Hinduism Today: Guide to Hindu organizations and resources worldwide, including temples and ashrams by country.
Islamic Finder: Directory of prayer times, Islamic organizations, and mosques worldwide.
Zabihah: Directory of halal restaurants and stores worldwide.
KahalAbroad: This website provides Jewish students studying abroad resources, tools, and connections they need to meaningfully engage with the Jewish community and deepen their Jewish identity during one of the most important, meaningful, and enduring experiences of their lives.
Jewish Virtual Library: Directory of synagogues worldwide.
World Union of Jewish Students: WUJS is an international umbrella organization comprised of 48 national independent Jewish Student Unions around the world.