University of Michigan
International Center

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Women Abroad

Attitudes toward women, and expectations of how women should look and act, vary from culture to culture. Women traveling abroad may also encounter a variety of attitudes toward American women, particularly since the way in which American women are sometimes portrayed in the media may create or reinforce stereotypes. For these reasons, it is important for women to inform themselves in advance about what to expect when travelling. Here are some ways to do that:

Other suggestions from women for women:

  • Be aware and alert. Know your surroundings if at all possible. Have a map. When possible ask another woman for directions. Act like you know where you are going even when you don't. Project a confident attitude.
  • Know how to reach friends or people who can help you.
  • Have some money set aside for emergencies, and to change hotels, upgrade transportation, etc. if you are in a situation that makes you uncomfortable.
  • Dress conservatively. Know what standard dress for women is and dress accordingly. Don't wear shorts unless the local women do.

For more information and resources on female experiences abroad, go to the Education Abroad Office at the U-M International Center.



Last reviewed: 10/15