Religious & Non-Religious Students Abroad

Religion is an important aspect of culture. While abroad, you may encounter people of various different religious and non-religious backgrounds. It is important to understand your beliefs and those of your future host country to identify any opportunities or challenges that may arise while your abroad. 

GW Study Abroad Advisors recommend these tips when abroad: 

  • Use the local religion as lens to the local culture.
  • Join one of the local faith communities. 
  • Attend local worship services as these can give an insight to the local community (even if do not feel religious affiliation).
  • Know the local laws in regard to religion and especially as this relates to anything that may appear to be proselytizing.
  • Demonstrate respect- wear appropriate attire, show proper respect to icons etc.  If they do not know what is appropriate, ask.
  • Use storytelling as a tool.

Religious and Spiritual Groups Abroad Resources:

Agnostic/Atheist/Humanist

  • 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

Buddhism

Christianity 

  • Church Finder Limited international church listings
  • Christianity Today International  International network of Christian ministries
  • Many denominations have their own directories. Try searching for your denomination in your host country or city. 

Hinduism

  • Hindu Temples Worldwide: Details of various Hindu temples in Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Australia, Europe, UK and the Caribbean.
  • All Hindu Temples: Hindu temple directory in more than 50 countries

Islam

Judaism

  • Kahal: Your Jewish Home Abroad Through a partnership with GW Hillel & Kahal: Your Jewish Home Abroad, you can share some basic info in order to get resources on holiday celebrations, Shabbat dinners, and other opportunities while travelling to help you jump into the culture around you through the local Jewish community. To get signed up, share your abroad plans by selecting this LINK and Kahal, along with Hillel Abroad Interns, will be in touch with helpful resources.You can also like them on Facebook to get notifications on upcoming events!
  • Jewish Virtual Library: List of synagogues worldwide.
  • Delegation of Jewish American Students: Providing American Jewish students studying abroad the resources, tools, and connections they need to meaningfully engage with the Jewish community and their Jewish identity.
  • 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.
  • Hillel's Global Campus Initiative The Global Campus Initiative is a partnership between Hillel and local Jewish student groups in Buenos Aires and London. GCI provides opportunities for you to connect to local Jewish students during your time abroad. 

Other Resources

  • Diversity Abroad: Religion Diversity Abroad provides some questions to think about before you travel abroad, and some tips for dealing with religious challenges while you are abroad. 
  • Religious Freedom Information Provided by the U.S. Department of State.  It provides information about international religious freedom and includes individual country chapters on the status of religious freedom worldwide. 
  • The Pluralism Project The mission of the Pluralism Project is to help Americans engage with the realities of religious diversity through research, outreach, and the active dissemination of resources.  The site offers extensive information on world religions and focuses on the meaning of religious pluralism. 
  • Virtual Library: World Religions Links A list of links to website regarding world religions.