Accessibility Abroad

Accessibility Abroad

Just as culture differs from country to country, so too do the attitudes, accommodations, and disability services readily available for students. We encourage you to reach out to our office early on in your program search, so that we can advise you appropriately and verify that reasonable accommodations can be made in advance. When searching for a program, it is important to be mindful of your needs and consider alternative ways of meeting them. Planning ahead, along with a little flexibility, is your key to having a successful experience abroad.

  1. What is the perception about my disability in my host country?
  2. Am I willing to disclose my disability to others?
  3. How should I respond to people trying to give me unsolicited help?
  4. How accessible-friendly is my host country? (Housing, transportation, food, etc.)
  5. Will my disability prevent me from participating in certain excursions because of inaccessibility?
  6. How is learning structured in my program?
  1. Reach out to other students with disabilities who have studied abroad to learn about their experiences.
  2. Voice your concerns in a timely manner. If you are comfortable with disclosing your disability, let your advisor and/or program director about your needs as early as you can so that they are able to make as many accommodations as possible.
  3. Research your host country as much as possible so that you have some idea of what to expect regarding perceptions and treatment of people with your disability.
  4. Study key vocabulary about your disability in your host country’s language ahead of time. Think about how you will answer questions about your disabilities.
  5. Acknowledge that different places may not be as accessible as you are used to and keep in mind that other cultures may provide accessibility in different ways.
  6. Be open-minded, flexible, and creative about how you can accommodate your needs abroad.
mobility bike

Image from Mobility International USA website

General Resources

Mobility International Information on education and travel for people with disabilities.

Disabilities in Exchange Programs Read stories of people with disabilities meeting and surpassing challenges around the world.

National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange Free advising service and resources for people with disabilities heading abroad.

Abroad with Disabilities Sample forms and guides to help you prepare for your trip abroad.

Transitions Abroad Articles on disability travel written by students and staff.