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Administrators, Students Collaborate on Pre-Travel Support Resources

For students traveling abroad, two recent events—"Gender Abroad" and "Out Abroad"—highlight the collaboration among students and administrators to provide more in-depth pre-departure support and discussion of cultural norms and identity-based risks. Departments across campus have also created positions or evolved positions to better serve the needs of students traveling abroad. Our own Elizabeth Esparza, senior program manager for international safety and security, attended both events and spoke with The Crimson about her work on gender and identity-based issues abroad.

For the past several years, administrators have made an ongoing effort to provide more resources for students going abroad. Elizabeth E. Esparza, the program manager for strategic initiatives at Harvard Global Support Services, said she frequently meets with departments that plan to send Harvard personnel or students abroad to provide guidance and educational materials. She emphasized that she can be a resource for those who are unsure how to fit in safely within a culture vastly different from one’s own.

She ...emphasizes educating individuals about the cultural and legal implications of identifying as certain groups in other cultures. “There is a wide spectrum of things and it really comes down to knowing your country, understanding its culture, and identifying spaces that are safe and how to move within those spaces,” Esparza said.

Read the full story in The Crimson.

Questions Ahead of Travel?

Before you travel abroad, our International Safety & Security team can work with you to address concerns specific to your destination’s culture, your reason for travel, and your background, gender, race, sexual orientation, or gender-identity. Email Elizabeth Esparza,, to set up an in-person, phone, or email consultation.