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When the Four Mamas founded API together more than 20 years ago, they dreamed of creating high-quality, safe, life-changing study abroad programs they would feel good sending their own kids on. With dedication, hard work, and a lot of love, their dream became reality. Thousands and thousands of students have chosen API to support them on their own life-changing study abroad experiences, with the Four Mamas cheering them on every step of the way. No matter who you are or where you come from, API will support you on your journey.
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API is committed to providing enriching international experiences to its participants. We believe in the importance of promoting acceptance, dignity, and respect among people of all backgrounds.
API demonstrates its commitment to inclusiveness by providing affordable and accessible programs, offering individualized support, and conducting ongoing diversity education and training for all API staff.
No matter who you are or where you come from, API will support you during your journey abroad.
January 25th marks the beginning of Chinese New Year, the first day of the lunar new year, and this year is the Year of the Rat! Chinese New Year celebration decorations are mostly in red because in Chinese culture, red is the symbol of happiness, wealth, and prosperity, and can ward off evil spirits and bring good luck. API is celebrating Chinese New Year by featuring API's Shanghai, China semester and summer programs, which you can learn about here!
API is dedicated to providing international education opportunities to students with disabilities. We strongly recommend that students with disabilities begin the process of planning their study abroad experience one year in advance, including meeting with the disabilities services and study abroad office at their home institution prior to submitting your application. Early planning provides the time required to identify the program that best suits your particular interests and needs and allows us and our partners to work with you to prepare a detailed accommodations plan. Below are some resources we hope you’ll find helpful as you begin planning for your time abroad!
API recommends that students with disabilities complete the OPTIONAL Student Inquiry Survey prior to submission of an application, and return to Carolyn Lutes, Senior Director of Student Services & Admissions.
Please note: Disclosure of a disability prior to submitting an application is completely optional and does not preclude students from being accepted to an API program. Disclosure of a disability allows API staff to work with students to identify the best program(s) to meet each student’s needs and goals for the term abroad. Information provided on this form will not be shared with API partners abroad, to include local host institutions, until after the student has been accepted into the API program, and only as needed. API will seek to provide students with special needs a comprehensive picture of the on-site environment, so as to set appropriate expectations, and to allow students to make informed decisions regarding program participation.
API will provide advice to students using our knowledge of the dynamics on-site:
1) The accessibility of housing, transportation, and university buildings (for students with mobility limitations)
2) The availability of medical facilities and health professionals (for students with mental health or medical concerns)
3) Academic policies (for students with learning disabilities)
4) Cultural perceptions and behaviors.
As conditions exist abroad that may be beyond the control of API and its partners (e.g., some host countries have no legislation akin to the American with Disabilities Act that mandates the accessibility of governmental buildings, public transportation, sidewalks, academic institutions, and lodging for individuals with disabilities), certain sites may not be ideal for all students. API will work closely with students to identify alternate locations that can provide similar academic and cultural learning opportunities if the originally requested location cannot offer adequate accommodations.
TIPS FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES (excerpted from DiversityAbroad.com):
Mobility International - A non-profit organization advocating for the disabled and helping students with disabilities realize their study abroad goals.
National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange - Offers free services and helpful resources for planning your education abroad experience.
Pre-Departure Recommendations for Disabled Students Abroad - Information to assist students from all backgrounds with their study abroad plans.
University of Minnesota’s “Access Abroad” - Offers helpful information and tips regarding accessibility overseas.
U.S. State Department - Provides country reports including information regarding disability policies in your prospective host country.
Ultimate Guide to Air Travel with a Disability - A resource that gives information about traveler rights, tips for navigating the airport and airplane with a disability, and more.
“Making it Happen” - A University of Pittsburgh video focusing on students with disabilities abroad.
Many people suffer from one or more mental health issues. When you’re studying abroad, a mental health issue can be exacerbated by the stress of being in a new culture and adjusting to a new environment and routine. The following are common triggers when studying abroad:
Before you go, please be sure to do the following:
Also be sure to check out the following online resources for helpful info and tips!Managing Mental Health While Abroad - DiversityAbroad.com
Mental Health while Studying Abroad - StudyBreaks.comStudy Abroad Stress - 8 Tips to Handle Study Abroad Stress from GoAbroad.com
Dealing with Depression while Studying Abroad - GoOverseas.com
Panic Disorder & Traveling - Tips from VeryWellMind.com for traveling with panic disorder and anxiety.
How to Overcome Anxiety - Thoughts from Nomadic Matt, author of How to Travel the World on $50 a DayTravel & Anxiety - International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers
Traveling and living abroad can be financially challenging, but it’s not impossible! It is important to start the planning process early! Current students should contact their home institution’s study abroad and financial aid offices regarding federal, state, and institutional financial aid as well as any scholarships that are available.
There are many study abroad scholarship and grant opportunities available. See API’s webpage regarding outside funding resources at https://apiabroad.com/other-resources/financial-information/. Budgeting and planning is key to preparing for international experiences.
API is committed to supporting its participants’ international goals. Review the resources below for some starting points!
4 Steps to Funding Study Abroad - Hear from one student about how to fund your study abroad experience.
40 Fundraising Ideas for Study Abroad - Includes some great fundraising suggestions…
Fund for Education Abroad - FEA offers a variety of grants and scholarships to help dedicated American students who have financial restrictions participate in education abroad.
9 Steps to Launching a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign - Crowdfunding is a great fundraising option. Use this site to learn how to raise money for your time abroad.
IIEPassport Study Abroad Funding - Free online database of study abroad scholarships, fellowships, and grants.
While being a first generation student can present its own set of challenges, you could not only be the first in your family to attend college or university but also the first in your family to travel or live abroad! To help support your journey, API is there every step of the way. Whether it’s our on-site, local Resident Directors or our knowledgeable US-based program advisors, you’re going to have assistance the whole way through! API connects you to your fellow program participants before you go and our orientation program offers great opportunities to connect to your API group.
First Generation Students Guide - GoAbroad - Free guide on navigating the study abroad process as a first generation student, from meeting your advisor, choosing your program and provider, and more!
First Steps to Study Abroad as a First Gen Student - Diversity Abroad shares some resources and advice on taking the first steps towards studying abroad as a First Generation student.
GoOverseas - Stories from First Generation Travelers - Article and stories on what it's like to study abroad and be the first in your family to travel.
It’s always important to learn as much as you can about your host country before you go abroad in order to have a positive, successful experience. For LGBTQ+ students, this includes understanding the country’s laws and cultural attitudes regarding sexuality and gender identity.
Below are some resources to consult as you plan for your time abroad! Some countries may require you to modify your behaviors or face extensive discrimination or even legal consequences. It is a must for you to determine in advance how comfortable you feel adjusting your own behaviors to suit the cultural norms of a given culture and select a destination accordingly.
Diversity Abroad - LGBTQ+ Students Abroad - DiversityAbroad shares advice, resources, and must-ask questions for LGBTQ+ students to consider when looking to study abroad.
U.S. State Department’s LGBTQ+ Travel Information - Includes resources and other helpful information for before you go and while you're there from the U.S. State Department
Fund for Education Abroad - FEA offers a Rainbow Scholarship to a deserving LGBTQ+ student who aims to participate in a high-quality, rigorous education abroad program.
IGLTA, the International Gay/Lesbian Travel Association - Assists with finding LGBTQ+ owned and welcoming travel-related businesses in over 75 countries.
The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association - Provides comprehensive data on LGBTQ+ laws around the world.
NAFSA (Association of International Educators) Rainbow Special Interest Group - Tips for LGBTQ+ students abroad.
National Center for Transgender Equality - The National Center for Transgender Equality is the nation's leading social justice advocacy organization winning life-saving change for transgender people. The site includes helpful travel information for transgender students traveling abroad.
HIV Entry Requirement Information - Can be found on the U.S. State Department website’s country information pages under “Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements.”
Identities Abroad - Colleges of the Fenway - The Colleges of the Fenway offers a great resource on many aspects of the study abroad process for students who identify as LGBTQ+.
Depending on where you go, you may be redefining what an American is for our international counterparts. Diverse representation is vital in creating stronger global citizenship within the U.S. and the world at large.
At API, we know that an international experience will be transformational, and we are committed to helping all students achieve their study abroad goals. We encourage you to speak with your study abroad offices and consult the articles, blogs, and videos below in order to prepare for your time abroad.
Fading in Between Worlds - API Blog - See more about an API Costa Rica student's experience as they explore the intersectionality between their ethnicity and gender-identity while studying abroad.
A Black Woman's Experience Studying Abroad - API Blog - Hear from API Florence student Anna Johnson about her experience studying abroad in Florence, Italy.
Diversity & Inclusion Abroad Guide - Diversity Abroad’s guide for racial and ethnic minority students going abroad.
Race Abroad - U. Minnesota’s guide for students of color preparing to go abroad.
A Latina's Study Abroad Journey - Helpful advice from a LatinX student who studied abroad in the UK.
Black Students Travel Guide - 9 tips for African-American students going abroad.
Latinx-POC travel bloggers of color to follow - Latinx bloggers you should check out!
Orientation for Students of Color Studying Abroad - Video - A University of Minnesota video geared to help you prepare for your time abroad.
Studying Abroad While Black - Video - Helpful tips for African-American students from a student who’s studied abroad.
Allabroad.us - Information for all students studying abroad!
Studying Abroad for Black Women (Diary of a Traveling Black Woman: A Guide to International Travel) - Book by Adriana Smith
Non-traditional students, or mature students, are generally students whose age falls outside of the average 18 to 25-year-old college age range. The good news is that non-traditional students can study, intern, teach, or volunteer abroad, too! The following resources provide helpful information regarding the benefits of going abroad and how to plan and prepare for your abroad experience.
How to Study Abroad as an Adult - Blog from The Discoverer
Study Abroad for Adults - Article from GoAbroad.com
Adult Students Abroad - Resources from University of Wisconsin, Madison
Want to Explore Studying Abroad as an Adult? - Blog from Midlife Boulevard
Video: Breaking Barriers with Study Abroad
According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, women account for two-thirds of all international program participants. Whether you are traveling independently or in a group, in order to have a positive and safe experience abroad, it is important to know the culture, laws, and social issues regarding women in each country where you’ll be traveling. Educate yourself on social and cultural norms in your host culture before you go. When in doubt, ask on-site staff for guidance or stateside staff before you go!
We’ve collected the resources below to begin educating yourself in advance and prepare for a safe and rewarding time abroad.
Diversity Abroad’s Tips Page for Women Abroad - Helpful reminders for your time abroad
Journeywoman.com - A valuable online resource, including travel and safety tips, a packing guide, and much more.
Culturally Correct Clothing Tips - A destination-based clothing guide.
Women On The Road - Provides helpful travel ideas, health tips, money advice, and more.
The Woman Travel Guide - Transitions Abroad guide for women.
Gender Abroad - Northwestern University - Website outlines safety tips among other resources to consider when looking at gender identity abroad.
Go Girl! The Black Woman’s Book of Travel and Adventure, Edited by Elaine Lee.
Contains 52 travel pieces presenting the perspective of black women, mostly African Americans. Contributors include Maya Angelou, Jill Nelson, Alice Walker, and Jamaica Kincaid.
The first step in planning for your education abroad experience is to speak with your VA representative and your university study abroad office to determine the opportunities available to you so both the VA requirements and your educational goals are met. Use the links below for helpful information and tips, and then contact your home institution and API as soon as possible so that we can assist.
How to Use Your GI Bill to Study Abroad - Article from GoAbroad.com
Gi Bill Study Abroad Fact Sheet - U.S. Government Department of Veteran Affairs
Veteran Affairs List of Approved Institutions
Studying abroad grants you the unique opportunity to explore world religions and the roles they play in different cultures. Whether you consider yourself to be spiritual, regularly practice a particular religion, or neither, you will encounter various deeply rooted religious aspects of your host country(ies). In general, study abroad places students in a new environment and allows them to interact with people coming from different cultural contexts and worldviews.
Our staff are available to connect participants with resources in order to feel supported throughout their journey abroad.
TIPS ABOUT RELIGION ABROAD FROM DIVERSITY ABROAD:
Excerpted from http://www.diversityabroad.com/pages/religious-diversity-abroad/.
If you need assistance finding more information on specific religious and spiritual groups abroad, we would be happy to direct you to additional resources.
Excerpted from https://www.northwestern.edu/abroad/student-experiences/identity-diversity/religion-spirituality.html
API is committed to providing enriching international opportunities for all participants. API does not discriminate against any individual based on ethnicity, nationality, ancestry, race, sex, gender identity, creed, age, marital status, sexual orientation, or disability in its admissions decisions, program activities or employment practices.
API believes that all of our program participants have the right to study, intern, volunteer, work or teach in an environment free of any type of discrimination, bullying or harassment, be that harassment emotional, verbal, physical or sexual in nature. All API stateside staff and international representatives are responsible for following local laws and performing their duties in an ethical manner.
All participants are required to sign API's Code of Conduct prior to their arrival on-site*, which explicitly states that participants are prohibited from:
"Any behavior that could result in harm of a fellow program participant, API representatives, a local host or the community at large. Any physical or verbal abuse or harassment by a participant can result in automatic dismissal from the API program. "
The API Code of Conduct specifically refers all participants to API's Non-Discrimination Policy, and holds them accountable for respecting it.
Violations of API’s non-discrimination policy by an API representative can result in official letters of reprimand or job dismissal. Violations of the Participant Code of Conduct may be handled via the issuance of warnings, temporary or permanent removal from API housing or activities, loss of other program privileges, damage assessments or dismissal from an API program. By maintaining and enforcing its non-discrimination policy, API seeks to establish a welcoming and inclusive environment for all participants.
*For customized or faculty-led programs, API may defer to the Code of Conduct of the participants' home institution.
Legal protections in the host country may differ from those in place in a participant’s home country. For example, the Title IX legislation in place in the U.S. assists students who experience some form of gender discrimination (e.g., sexist jokes, catcalls, inappropriate touching, sexual assault, dating violence, etc.) while studying at a U.S. university. Certain behaviors considered inappropriate or discriminatory in the U.S. may not be considered rude or offensive in a host country. While API has no control over the laws in a given host country, API representatives abroad aspire to support alleged victims of gender discrimination to the best of their ability and according to U.S. standards.
As participants navigate their host country environments, with which they are relatively unfamiliar, API wants them to feel comfortable coming forward for assistance when needed. On-site API directors or local coordinators will help a participant who has shared allegations of discrimination or harassment (defined by API as the “reporting party”) by providing access to the resources or support needed (e.g., medical care** or counseling) and accompanying the individual to file a formal police report or complaint if desired.
When a participant puts forth allegations about inappropriate behavior or actions taken by a fellow API participant (defined as “responding party”), API has an obligation to act and investigate those allegations. Additionally, it may be necessary for API to share some details regarding a given incident with fellow participants in order to protect their safety; API will seek to do so without exposing the identity of the reporting party.
For participants who are U.S. university students, API generally has an obligation to inform each student’s home university about allegations of gender discrimination, especially aggravated incidents involving violence. In doing so, API and a participant’s home university can provide guidance and support for the reporting party, and provide fair notice of how the responding party may be affected***. No information will be shared with the reporting or responding parties’ emergency contacts in the event of harassment or sexual assault without the express permission of the participant in question, or if API determines that there is cause for program dismissal of the responding party. API generally encourages both the reporting and responding parties to be open with trusted friends or family members at home about such incidents, so they may provide additional emotional support.
If a participant has experienced an incident (e.g., rape) and does not wish to discuss the incident with API, API urges the participant to contact the nearest U.S. Embassy/Consulate or the U.S. Department of State for assistance. The embassy/consulate staff can provide a list of reputable medical services and other resources in the area. Consular staff can also contact the participant’s family or may in some cases provide a reimbursable loan to cover limited emergency medical funding.
More information, including contact information, about support for victims of crimes abroad can be found online at:
If an API participant has concerns that the behavior of an API on-site representative or a stateside employee constitutes harassment, bullying or gender discrimination, the behavior should be reported immediately to the Senior Vice President of Organizational Operations or the API President. If the participant fears imminent harm, the participant should seek assistance from a representative of the host university, other emergency authority in the host country (e.g., hospital, counselor, etc.) or the nearest U.S. consulate or embassy.
Given the degree of complexity involved with operating programs in international destinations, each with its own laws, legal system, and cultural perceptions of appropriate behavior, API cannot have one uniform approach to all forms of disrespectful behavior, harassment or sexual discrimination. API does, however, seek to maintain a standard set of procedures to ensure the safety of its participants and respond fairly and systematically to reported violations of the API Code of Conduct or local laws.
When a participant reports a violation of the API Code of Conduct related to physical harassment or sexual assault to an API representative stateside or abroad, API will make reasonable efforts to support the reporting party while simultaneously protecting the right of the responding party to continue in the program until an API investigation can be completed. While an investigation is pending or in process, API reserves the right to take the following actions in order to limit contact between the reporting party and the responding party to the fullest extent possible:
It is important that the reporting party is aware that API cannot fully control the host environment. While API can take action and enforce rules to limit interactions in API housing and while participating in API events, API has no control over public spaces (e.g., public transportation, eating or social establishments, local points of interest, etc.). A reporting party should be aware of the risk of coming into unsupervised contact with a responding party outside of program spaces and sponsored activities.
If a reporting party elects to file a police report with local authorities, API may be required by law to defer or suspend an internal investigation. Even if local laws do not preclude an API investigation, they may limit how API can respond (e.g., place restrictions on speaking to witnesses, collecting evidence, etc.). API will continue to support the reporting party and provide guidance to the responding party during this time.
*In cases of sexual assault, the insurance plan provided by API requires participants to seek medical attention within 24 hours of the incident to cover certain types of treatment.
Providing it has clearance to do so from the reporting party and local authorities (if applicable), API will move forward with an investigation as expeditiously as possible. In general, the investigation will proceed as follows:
Note: Even if a reporting party does not choose to pursue an investigation, API will take reasonable action to support the participant to successfully complete the API program. If API has cause to believe the allegations are true, API may choose to dismiss a participant at any time to protect the reporting party or fellow participants from potential harm, without conducting an extensive investigation.
*Students are informed that their home university may wish to conduct an internal investigation concurrently with API or upon the completion of API's investigation.
When a participant reports inappropriate behavior by an API representative to API’s Senior VP of Organizational Operations, API will take all steps necessary to investigate the veracity of the concerns. To do, the participant reporting the behavior will be asked to:
Depending on the severity of the charges (e.g., inappropriate comments versus sexual advances), API could:
Any participant who deliberately makes false accusations or provides false testimony against an API participant or representative will be subject to review and potential dismissal from the API program. Additionally, the participant could be subject to criminal or civil charges being filed by the responding party.
"Going into to study abroad with an open-mind about how I may be perceived as a black, Bahamian female with an American accent helped me to respond with resilience to any obstacles I encountered.
Once I arrived, my API Resident Directors gave an on-site orientation that described cultural expectations and etiquette that we should keep in mind for different social situations. I tried my best to assimilate into their culture, while not losing my personality and myself in the effort.
I was able to share and talk through challenging moments I encountered with my host mom. My strategy of keeping an open mind in turn became my best defense."
-Simone Biasuzzi, API Grenoble '12
Find more resources at https://apiabroad.com/about/diversity-inclusion-access/
The use of emotional support animals is not as common or widely recognized abroad as it has become in the United States. While API will do everything possible to support a participant who wishes to travel abroad with an emotional support animal, local laws generally do not provide accommodations for having an emotional support animal. API informs participants who wish to travel with their emotional support animal of the following potential challenges:
1. API cannot guarantee that a particular animal, even one classified within the U.S. as an emotional support animal, will be allowed to enter the host country. Individuals who wish to travel abroad with an emotional support animal are responsible for determining specific requirements for bringing animals into the host country; API will provide assistance with determining special entry requirements as time allows.
2. Host universities abroad generally will not allow Emotional Support Animals in their classrooms. If the individual’s home institution accommodations documentation includes authorization to have the ESA in classrooms on campus, that documentation can be submitted for consideration by the host university, but such reviews will not necessarily result in the ESA being allowed to attend class with the participant.
3. Housing options through API do not generally allow for animals. API recommends that participants traveling with ESAs consider independent housing.
4. Emotional support animals will not be permitted to participate in API-sponsored cultural events or excursions.
5. Individuals wishing to travel with ESAs are recommended to apply a minimum of 12 months in advance of their departure, so that API can work more closely with these applicants to determine limitations and options.
6. Prior to soliciting accommodations on-site with local partners, API reserves the right to solicit documentation in the form of a letter (not issued more than one year prior to submission) from a licensed mental health professional.
Be sure to talk to your API Program Manager regarding your housing questions!
Here are some helpful sites we found online:
Ask us! You can talk to your API Program Manager or one of our Diversity, Inclusion & Access committee team members who are ready to help with any questions you may have about finding a program, accommodations and support on site, and more! Call us at 512-600-8922.