A Systematic Literature Review on LGBT+ U.S. Students Studying Abroad





LGBT , Queer, study abroad, literature review, international education, global mobility


Little focus has been afforded to LGBT+ students’ study abroad experiences. We conducted a systematic literature search and synthesis which identified 13 articles either with a focus on or inclusion of participants who were LGBT+ studying abroad. We coded included articles’ key information, including participant demographics; program duration, location, and academic focus; study methodology; and study results. The majority of studies used qualitative methods, and we note that gay and bisexual male students are severely underrepresented. Key findings also include issues of homophobia/transphobia, race and ethnicity disparities, community policing, sexual assault and rape, and methodology. We suggest that researchers on LGBT+ abroad focus on gay and bisexual male participation and focus on how queer community is formed abroad and regulated by its members. Furthermore, we recommend future research include demographic questions inclusive of LGBT+, employ more mixed methods or quantitative approaches, and measures emphasizing intercultural and academic gains for LGBT+ students.

Abstract in Spanish

Menos atención se ha concedido a las experiencias de estudios en el extranjero de los estudiantes LGBT+. Conducimos una busca sistemática literaria y síntesis que identificó 13 artículos con un enfoque o con una inclusión de participantes LGBT+ durante un estudio en el extranjero. Codificamos la información integral de los artículos incluidos, incluyendo a los demográficos de participantes; la duración de los programas, la locación, y el enfoque académico; la metodología del estudio; y los resultados del estudio. La mayoría de los estudios utilizaron métodos cualitativos, y notamos que los estudiantes varones gay y bisexuales fueron subrepresentado. Los resultados claves también incluyen problemas de homofobia/transfobia, las disparidades racial y étnica, vigilancia comunitaria, la agresión sexual y/o la violación, y la metodología. Sugerimos que los investigadores quienes enfoque se centran en los participantes LGBT+ que estudian en el extranjero enfoquen el énfasis a la participación de estudiantes varones gay y bisexuales en particular y presten atención a cómo la comunidad queer se forma y se regula la comunidad por los miembros LGBT+ durante su tiempo en el extranjero. Además, recomendamos que la investigación futura incluye las cuestiones demográficas que son inclusivo de los LGBT+, utilizar los métodos mezclados o cuantitativo, y las medidas que enfatizan los logros interculturales y académicos para los estudiantes LGBT+.


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Author Biographies

W. Patrick Bingham, Wake Forest University

W. Patrick Bingham, PhD, is a Research Assistant Professor and the Research Coordinator for the Center for Research on Abroad and International Student Engagement (RAISE Center) at Wake Forest University. Patrick’s research focuses on the role non-normative identity plays in global mobility programming.

Nelson Brunsting, Wake Forest University

Nelson Brunsting, PhD, is a Research Associate Professor and Executive Director of the RAISE Center at Wake Forest University. Nelson’s research focuses on the development and wellbeing of diverse groups in academic contexts.

Shinji Katsumoto, University of Iowa

Shinji Katsumoto is a doctoral candidate in the Higher Education and Student Affairs Ph.D. program and a graduate researcher at the Center for Research on Undergraduate Education at the University of Iowa. As a member of the RAISE Center research team, Shinji’s research focuses on student success, international student experiences, and university rankings in the international education context.


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How to Cite

Bingham, W. P., Brunsting, N., & Katsumoto, S. (2023). A Systematic Literature Review on LGBT+ U.S. Students Studying Abroad. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 35(1), 152–187. https://doi.org/10.36366/frontiers.v35i1.736



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