Students with Disabilities

lake and mountains

Students with disabilities can and do study abroad. It is important to keep in mind, that many of the disability accommodations or services provided at U.S. universities may be different overseas. Additionally, accessibility laws vary widely throughout the world. Therefore, it is in your best interest to notify the study abroad office early so that we will be aware of your needs.

The Access Abroad website at the University of Minnesota has some great tips, considerations, and suggestions for students with disabilities to consider before studying abroad. They also offer stories from abroad and profiles of student alumni.

Some of their quick tips for students with disabilities going abroad are:

Be aware that for every student who studies abroad, the experience of being in a completely different cultural environment is often stressful. As a result, accommodations that you may not have needed at home may become necessary in an unfamiliar setting. You should arrange for any disability accommodations at overseas sites well before departure, as in many countries there is no required or standard rule for easy accessibility for disabled students. Receiving accommodations once you are abroad will be more difficult and may not be possible in the same manner, so be prepared for services that are not the same as what you are used to. Expect that things will be different in the host country; not only in accommodations but in attitudes toward persons with disabilities, and that there will be a period of adjustment to your new surroundings and culture. You can prepare yourself by seeking out as much information as possible prior to departure.

Additional Resources

Mobility International is a US-based national non-profit organization. The mission is to empower people with disabilities around the world through international exchange, information, technical assistance and training, and to ensure the inclusion of people with disabilities in international exchange and development programs.

Includes information about the following topics: Travel Planning, destinations, transportation, air travel, camps for children and books to buy.

A site sponsored by the University of Minnesota that offers information on choosing the best program, the disability policies and accommodations offered by various programs around the world, and first hand experiences from students with disabilities who have studied abroad.

Stories from abroad written by travelers with disabilities.

This January 2015 article from GoAbroad.com is a helpful start for exploring study abroad for students with disabilities.