Equity, Inclusion & Justice

Diverse students pose together in Asia

Our commitment to you.

International Programs, its faculty committee and its partners around the world shall:

  • Actively and relentlessly seek justice, maintain equity and improve inclusion in our programming, policies and practices.
  • Recommit to dismantling all forms of hate, prejudice, bias and discrimination that create barriers to participation and that hurt the experiences of participants including ableism, racism, sexism, homophobia, religious discrimination, xenophobia and classism. 
  • Advocate to our partners to actively train their faculty, staff, host families, internship hosts, and student participants, etc. to understand and fight discrimination.
  • Compassionately listen and respond to student questions or concerns regarding identities, abilities and intersectionalities.
  • Collaborate with students to research and understand how to thrive abroad and on our U.S. programs.
  • Respond to, investigate and resolve student reports of harm, exclusion and discrimination.
  • Change ourselves, our practices and the international education profession through on-going training  and advocacy.

Explore the following resources:


Resource-limited students are encouraged to engage with IPO to secure additional scholarships and funding to make study abroad accessible! Between Oxy's financial aid portability, partner scholarships, and exciting programs like the Gilman Scholarship, the financial barriers can be overcome. We are here to help!

Here's the testimonial of two Gilman recipients about the value of their experience and the impact it had on them:


* Please check your eligibility before you apply.


Students with disabilities face unique challenges and growth opportunities in the off-campus study experience. Some find themselves well equipped to manage these challenges because of past experiences being part of an underserved group.

With planning and communication, this experience can be tremendously rewarding for the student and host community. Each culture differs in the way people perceive and accommodate levels of ability. For these reasons, it is important to do the following:

  • Disclose any disability to the off-campus study program as early as possible in order to ensure that the program is right for you and that necessary arrangements can be made.
  • Anticipate differences in the way your host community may provide support. Your host culture may have different perceptions or may handle disability differently. Even if that culture approaches disability in the same way the US does, you may be studying with students from all over the world who will bring their culturally specific expectations with them. Prepare yourself by reading about your host culture and by talking to alumni of your program. Once you arrive in your host community, be flexible and keep an open mind about different kinds of support and accommodation.
  • Prepare yourself with the language skills to talk about your disability with those on your program and in your host country.


Religion and Faith

Spirituality and religion play an important role in many students' lives and in the lives of the host community members. One of the most exciting and interesting things about experiencing another culture is developing a multi-dimensional understanding of religious traditions and beliefs that differ from our own. An open mind regarding religious pluralism and diversity can contribute to an positive experience. Begin expanding your own understanding of religions across cultures and how your beliefs fit with those of your host culture.


Race and Ethnicity

Issues of race and ethnicity vary depending on the student and host country or region of the U.S.. Some students may experience bias or marginalization at home but will be studying in a location where their race or ethnicity aligns with the majority culture. Others may face bias or becoming a marginalized for the first time.

In many cases, students may find that race and ethnicity is less an issue than their nationalities. Other cultures, even within the U.S. have very different ways of understanding, contextualizing, naming and expressing with these issues. Therefore, students may encounter individuals who range from overly curious to completely disinterested in their racial or ethnic backgrounds. Use your off-campus study opportunity to examine the ways another culture or region navigates race, ethnicity and identity issues that may differ from those of your home country. IPO staff are always available to problem-solve, support and listen to your experiences.

The more aware and prepared you are about these issues in your host country before departure, the less likely you are to jump to negative conclusions in confusing situations.


LGBTQIA+ Identifying People

Our priority at IPO is to ensure that members of the LGBTQIA+ community feel safe and supported as they explore off-campus study programs. We recognize the varied experiences that LGBTQIA+ students have as it relates to thriving and to safety, here or abroad, and we always seek to help students make a decision that best suits their needs, so let us know if you have questions as you continue exploring options. LGBTQIA+ identity varies greatly from culture to culture, as do levels of tolerance, acceptance, and support.

IPO staff are always available to problem-solve, support and listen to your experiences before, during and after your experience.

LGBTQIA+ students community members are encouraged prepare themselves by becoming educated on the legal and cultural issues facing LGBTQIA+ people in their host culture. So let us know if you have questions as you continue exploring options!



People may experience a shift in the importance gender plays in their (perceived) identities while on off-campus programs. For men, this might mean they are expected to adopt attitudes or behaviors toward, gender roles which may not align with their values. For instance, men in some cultures consider people-watching and "catcalling" to women an acceptable pastime. This may be offensive to a student and may be a difficult role to assume.

On the other hand, some men may find more discomfort with the open affection between same-gender friends in many cultures. In some countries, it is not uncommon for heterosexual male or female friends to hold hands while walking down the street, or to greet each other with kisses on the cheek. A student can learn from gender perceptions and expectations to gain a deeper understanding of the culture as a whole and their place in it.

Women comprise about 65% of U.S.. students studying abroad today and treatment and expectations of women vary greatly from culture to culture. Women may encounter restrictions in dress, behavior, and activities. While this may at first seem very limiting, there are also activities and behaviors in these cultures that are women-only. Though this kind of restriction can be frustrating at times, it is also a rare chance to learn about and understand the special roles of women in these cultures.

IPO staff are always available to problem-solve, support and listen to your experiences before, during and after your experience.