Religion plays a role in many countries and cultures, and depending on where you travel, this may be a larger or smaller role than in the United States. It is a good idea to research religion in your host country before you go abroad. One place to start can be the CIA’s World Factbook that allows you to search by country and provides the most recent statistics on religion. Additionally, you may have religious practices that you would like to observe abroad. Be sure to talk with your Study Abroad Advisor if you have specific questions about any needed accommodations (e.g., dietary restrictions, prayer times).
Remember to stay open minded about different beliefs you may encounter and consider how your own beliefs will be received abroad. Learning about a country’s major religions can be a good opportunity to learn more about its culture. If you are planning to worship abroad, do some advanced research on available locations. There are also many centers and student organizations that can be utilized by students. In addition to talking with your Study Abroad Advisor, you may be able to discuss some of your concerns about worship abroad with these groups.
Some other things to consider are:
- What is the degree of religious tolerance in your host country? What is the dominant religion in your host country? Are all religions tolerated?
- Will you be part of the religious majority or minority?
- Is it safe to wear religious symbols and/or clothing?
- How are atheists and agnostics perceived in the host country?
- Are there laws regarding religion (e.g., proselytizing Christianity is banned under Chinese law)?
- Is there separation of religion & the government?
Detailed information on various beliefs and religions
International Religious Freedom
The state of religious freedom, country by country, as seen by the U.S. Department of State
Identifies prayer times around the world
KAHAL: Your Jewish Home Abroad
KAHAL aspires to give the tens of thousands of 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 one of the most important, meaningful, and enduring experiences of their lives
Information on synagogues around the world