LGBTQ+ Abroad: My Homestay Made All the Difference

Kaden, Haverford College, studied with DIS Stockholm this past spring 2019. As a transgender person, they recognized the potential risk of living in a country with a very different culture to their own. However, after an amazing experience with their Homestay hosts, they quickly felt more welcomed than ever.

“For the first time in my life I actually had queer adult role models who could teach me my community’s history and show me that having a normal life is actually possible for me, which is not something I had ever been able to see,” Kaden shared.

Sweden is a progressive country, legalizing same sex marriage in 2009, which was over six years before the United States. Sweden even ranked in the top ten most rainbow-friendly countries in Europe. However, as a member of a marginalized group, you learn to weigh the dangers and benefits of pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.

“As a transgender person, putting myself into a new household with a family I did not know was not something I could do easily. But I decided to take the risk anyway. After all, I was going to Sweden to learn about the people and their culture and to learn my heritage language as best I could,” Kaden said.

Kaden’s Homestay hosts, Sara and Annie, made a huge impact on their time abroad. It’s one thing to explore a new culture, make new friends in classes, and travel around Europe on Study Tours – but it’s a whole other thing to be truly accepted by a new environment and a new community.

“Living in a Homestay was the best way for me to truly immerse myself in Swedish culture. I was hopeful that I would be matched with a family that was at least a little bit understanding, but I ended up with something so much more. Living with Sara and Annie for four months was an amazing experience for so many reasons,” Kaden said.

How will you follow your passions abroad?

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