Embargo Period


Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Dr. Alla Korzh


Studying abroad has become a highly valued experience for college students, though the types of participants that study abroad programming attracts tend to be fairly homogenous (Havergal, 2016; IIE, 2017). Sojourners who fall outside this homogeny tend to go unrepresented in study abroad literature and research (Engel, 2017; IIE, 2017). This research will attempt to provide the experiences of one of these unrepresented groups by the answering the following research questions: What is the experience of transgender students in study abroad programming? How can knowledge of this experience inform effective practices to provide transgender students with an experience equitable to that of their cisgender peers? By drawing on the qualitative research study capturing the experiences of four transgender identifying sojourners and utilizing a conceptual framework informed by transgender identity development theory (Levitt & Ipplito, 2014), transgender identity affirmation theory (Nuttbrock, Rosenblum, & Blumenstein, 2002), and the developmental theory of emergent adulthood (Arnett, 2000), this research demonstrates that study abroad programming has a demonstrably positive effect on transgender students, but comes with a risk to their mental health. The research will first present experiences of the four participants that will help describe potential moments that other transgender identifying sojourners might face during three distinct phases of the study abroad process: Pre-departure, in-country, and re-entry. Next, the research will also present specific advice suggested by the four participants as possible methods to aid in the experiences of future transgender identifying students participating in study abroad programs. Finally, the research will present concluding thoughts on the overall experience of transgender sojourners and the various methods providers can utilize to aid in the positive experience of future sojourners.


Accessibility | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Gender and Sexuality | International and Area Studies | Other International and Area Studies