This year for Global Engagement Day, I went to the panel on identity and visibility while abroad. There was a panel of students who had all studied abroad and who are all minorities whether that be in race, gender, sexuality, or disability. It was honestly an extremely fascinating panel. As a woman who suffers from a mental illness disability, studying abroad had been a really hard time for me. I was subject to a ton of gender based harassment and discrimination, and I was also totally out of my element in regards to managing my mental illness. The most interesting part of the panel was a queer person from Iceland. She talked about how in her study abroad times, telling people the correct pronouns for herself. Even in writing this blog post I am having a hard time knowing what to use. She explained that she doesn’t necessarily identify as female, but that in her Icelandic language, she hates the new gender neutral pronoun that is being introduced and so she uses a female pronoun. I think that the use of gender in language is something that is hard to understand until you begin to learn a new language. It’s almost impossible to be fully aware of how your own native language is gendered, but when you start learning a new language you begin to see how things change when the gender of them change. I don’t study linguistics so I won’t ever truly understand this, but the talk at Global Engagement Day really got me thinking about it.