Attitudes toward women, and expectations of how women should look and act, vary from culture to culture. Women traveling abroad may also encounter a variety of attitudes toward American women, particularly since the way in which American women are sometimes portrayed in the media may create or reinforce stereotypes. For these reasons, it is important for women to inform themselves in advance about what to expect when travelling. Here are some ways to do that:
- Read the information at Diversity & Inclusion Abroad-Women Abroad. This brief article covers important points to consider and questions to ask.
- Read the Department of State’s Country Specific Information for each country you plan to visit for up-to-date information (sometimes specifically for women) on health, safety, crime, entry requirements and more.
- Try to talk to women who have visited the countries you plan to visit to learn about problems they encountered and advice they can offer. Also talk to female Peer Advisors at the Education Abroad office, who can talk with you about their experiences abroad and can refer you to additional resources.
Other suggestions from women for women:
- Be aware and alert. Know your surroundings if at all possible. Have a map. When possible ask another woman for directions. Act like you know where you are going even when you don't. Project a confident attitude.
- Know how to reach friends or people who can help you.
- Have some money set aside for emergencies, and to change hotels, upgrade transportation, etc. if you are in a situation that makes you uncomfortable.
- Dress conservatively. Know what standard dress for women is and dress accordingly. Don't wear shorts unless the local women do.
For more information and resources on female experiences abroad, go to the Education Abroad Office at the U-M International Center.
- U.S. State Department Country-Specific Information.
- Women Abroad
- The American Association of University Women (AAUW) 800.326.AAUW. Membership benefits include: cheaper group insurance rates, publications, and scholarship eligibility. You can apply at your local branch and become a member at both the state and national level.
- Transitions Abroad: Women Travel Abroad. A great collection of firsthand articles, web sites and agencies by this award-winning, respected travel magazine.
- Journeywoman. An online travel resource just for women.