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Religion and Spirituality

Buddha monumentReligion plays a role in many cultures around the world. Whether you practice a religion or not, going abroad exposes you to different belief systems, which gives you an opportunity to learn more about your host country’s culture.

Do your best to understand the majority religion being practiced in your host country, especially if it is one you’re not familiar with.

  • Research religion in your host destination before you go abroad. What is the dominant religion? How accepting is the host destination of other religions?
  • Ask to see if there are any places where you can worship safely if you plan on practicing your own religion abroad. Are there any laws regarding religion? Is it safe to wear religious symbols or clothing?
  • Let the Office for Education Abroad know ahead of time if you have religious dietary restrictions, especially if you are living with a host family.
  • Stay open minded about different religious practices from your own. Are there ways you can respectfully participate in cultural events if you don't practice that religion? Or are there religious holidays that are celebrated publicly?

It’s not uncommon that as you experience different belief systems while abroad, it may prompt questions about your religious identity. Use this opportunity to reflect more about your religious or spiritual practice.

Additional Resources

For additional information and courses about world religions and cultures, visit MSU Department of Religious Studies. REL 101 (Exploring World Religions) gives you an overview of different world religions and cultures, and the Department of Religious Studies offers courses specifically on many of the world’s diverse religions and cultures