Religion and Spirituality
Religion can play an important role in your life as well as in the day-to-day life in your host country. Religious traditions and beliefs are an important part of culture, and OCS is a great time to learn about religious cultures that differ from your own, and to experience how beliefs are put into practice in everyday life. The experience can also provide more personal time for reflection, mindfulness, and contemplation of your values. Religion can provide a great sense of belonging, however for students who do not adhere to the predominant religion, or in host countries where religious freedom is not practiced, it can be a source of conflict or confusion.
We encourage you to research in advance how religion is practiced and viewed in your host country. Look to see if there are places where you can practice your religion or attend services of a dominant faith to understand more about how it informs the local culture. Consider how people view the dominant and minority religions, and how those beliefs may intersect with other identities. Research the role of religion in holidays, clothing, education, laws, and family life. If you adhere to a particular diet, discuss with your program whether that can be maintained abroad.
Below we have included some helpful resources to serve as a guide. Did you know that our Center has a staff member dedicated to helping students navigate these issues? We welcome you to discuss your situation and plans further with us by making an appointment or sending us an email: Meghan Mason, email@example.com.
IES Religion & Spirituality Resources
Diversity Abroad Must Ask Questions
Department of State Report on International Religious Freedom (use the drop-down menu on the right to choose a country)
The Pluralism Project. An Introduction to the World’s Religious Traditions
Reflections on Studying Abroad as a Muslim Woman from Diversity Abroad
CIEE City-Specific Resources
Middlebury Schools Abroad Religion & Spirituality page
DIS Religious Communities in Stockholm: and Copenhagen
Kosher Travel Resources
Yeah That’s Kosher website
Kahal: Your Jewish Home Abroad
Halal Travel website
Happy Cow Vegetarian/ Vegan Restaurants