Students with Disabilities

In the past, cobbled roads and lack of books in Braille might have deterred students with disabilities from studying abroad. Today, this is not the case. Students with disabilities are participating and succeeding in international exchanges and opportunities.

All students, regardless of their ability, face challenges in studying abroad. Students with disabilities find they are more likely to already have coping mechanisms and skills in place to deal with these challenges because they are part of a population that is generally underserved.

It’s important that students let the International Program staff at Puget Sound or their program provider know about their disability early so appropriate accommodations can be made. This also includes learning disabilities, which are often overlooked. Students should spend time researching what resources and organizations are available in their host country to provide support and accommodations.  

Students with disabilities who are most successful abroad learned to adapt to new situations. When accommodations could not be made to attend all aspects of a field trip, they brought a book along instead. If a student could not keep up in class, they rode home with a friend and copied their notes. No matter the disability, rewarding and life changing experiences await all students going abroad.

Things to Consider As You Prepare to Study Abroad:

  • What accommodations do I need? Have a vocalized them to staff at Puget Sound or my program provider?
  • How flexible am I willing to be regarding accommodations?
  • What resources are available in my host country?
  • How does my host country view disabilities?
  • Do I know words in my host countries language to answer questions about my disability?

Resources:

IES Country Specific Diversity Resources

Mobility International USA

Students with Disabilities Testimonials- CIEE

Students with Disabilities Testimonials- University of Minnesota

Survival Strategies for Going Abroad: A Guide for People with Disabilities

Pre-Departure Preparations

IES Diversity Scholarships

Preparing for International Careers: Pathways for People with Disabilities