College Students’ Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Participation in Study Abroad


  • Kelly M. Bryant
  • Krista M. Soria



LGBTQQ, Study abroad participation, Study abroad, Education abroad, Sexual orientation, Gender identity


In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of students studying abroad; however, researchers have discovered that some student populations are not as likely to study abroad, including students with disabilities, multicultural students, and low-income students. Amid these growing bodies of literature that highlight disparities between students’ participation in study abroad, research fails to address whether lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning or queer students (LGBTQQ) study abroad at lower rates than their peers given that some cultures are not accepting of students’ sexual orientation or transgender identities. This lack of research is troubling because LGBTQQ students face challenges many of their peers do not normally have to confront in higher education.  The purpose of this study, then, is to fill this gap in research by answering the following question: are LGBTQQ students significantly less likely to study abroad compared to their peers?  Utilizing student data from the multi-institutional Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) survey, the results of this study suggest that LGBTQQ students are significantly more likely than heterosexual and cisgender students to participate in study abroad opportunities in several areas


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Author Biographies

Kelly M. Bryant

Kelly Bryant graduated from the Master of Arts in Leadership in Student Affairs program from the University of St. Thomas-Minnesota in May 2014.  She studied abroad in Scotland while an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.  Kelly has also traveled to England, Wales, Ireland, France, Spain, Hungary, Mexico, and Canada.  Her interests in research include study abroad, student development, and student diversity and inclusion.

Krista M. Soria

Krista Soria is a research analyst with the Office of Institutional Research at the University of Minnesota. Her research interests including learning more about the effects of participation in high-impact educational practices on college students’ development and engagement; college students’ leadership development; and social class in higher education.


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How to Cite

Bryant, K. M., & Soria, K. M. (2015). College Students’ Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Participation in Study Abroad. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 25(1), 91–106.