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Rainbow Exchange

A message from Shivani Rajan and Kaat Verheyen of the AUT International Centre.

AUT was the first Rainbow Tick University in the country and we pride ourselves on being an accepting, welcoming and open university. We thought we’d take a look at how our exchange partners overseas compare when it comes to rainbow community people who want to take their degree overseas.

Queer support recognises that sexual orientation and gender identity are a part of what makes us unique individuals. Your studies and careers are not limited to New Zealand and it’s really important for your peace of mind to know that you will be supported overseas regardless of your sexuality. More and more students are choosing to go on exchange so here’s our top picks if you’re a member of the rainbow community.

Ryerson University in Canada is our most popular exchange destination, probably because it’s very similar to AUT, but in Toronto! The university provides multiple services for all students and is thought of as being an open minded and diverse campus. Rainbow facilities include a centre dedicated to women and trans people, a diversity institute, and an office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. Ryerson even has “RyePRIDE”, a service aimed at building a healthy and queer-positive university.

Checking in with Cardiff University in Wales, this university ensures great support for all students. Recently, Cardiff University has been recognised for its efforts by Europe’s largest LGBT equality organisation. One of the main services is Cardiff University Pride which hosts several socials a week and organises other events throughout the year. As an exchange student, this would be an easy way to meet like-minded people while studying abroad. Furthermore, the LGBTTI+ association represents students that identify as lesbian, gay, bi, trans and other minority sexual, romantic and gender identities. The association works with the Students’ Union to improve the university experience for rainbow students through welfare and awareness campaigns on campus.

San Francisco State University in the United States is another partner waving the rainbow flag proudly. Their Queer & Trans Resource Centre is based on the philosophy that all students deserve their identities to be celebrated. The Queer & Trans Resource Centre focuses on building alliances with ethnic, political, religious, and arts communities not only within SFSU but in the public communities too. The centre is open to all students who wish to join in their efforts to promote awareness and understanding of LGBTTI+ related identities, issues, and culture.

These are just some examples of our great overseas partners who are working to support rainbow students. Whether it’s all gender restrooms or events around rainbow issues, more and more is being done to support the community. So, if you’re queer and thinking about doing an exchange, you can rest assured knowing we’ve got your back.


If you’re considering doing an exchange, contact Shivani

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