What Is Accessibility Abroad?
Accessibility Abroad is a collaborative effort at the University of Minnesota between the Learning Abroad Center and Disability Resource Center to facilitate equal access for students seeking to pursue an education abroad experience and to provide information on accessibility at overseas sites.
Is study abroad for you?
Study abroad can satisfy liberal education, meet major or minor program requirements, offer intense avenues to advance your language abilities and help you in many academic, personal and professional goals. While study abroad can be challenging, the experience can help you learn more about yourself and your capabilities. In the words of one Disability Access Consultant at the University of Minnesota: "Go for it!"
Online Module for Students with Disabilities
This online module gives an overview of the things students with disabilities should consider in relation to studying abroad.
Most financial aid can be applied to study abroad, and many students find that the cost of going abroad is actually comparable to the cost of studying on campus. In addition, the Learning Abroad Center annually awards scholarships which are applied to study abroad costs.
Students registered with Disability Resource Center who are eligible for on-campus accommodation are also eligible for overseas accommodation when it can be arranged. Any site has the potential to be accessible. Students are encouraged to speak with their disability specialist and together fill out the Accommodation Request Form to identify the reasonable accommodations they may need overseas.
Which Program is Right for You?
Carefully consider the following:
- If you are considering study abroad for the first time, review the Learning Abroad Center's advising information.
- What are the physical environments like in your host country?
- Is learning mainly from lecture, readings, independent research, etc?
- How are the assignments different?
- What housing options exist?
- What are the student's personal responsibilities, such as cooking, laundry, etc.?
- Is transportation available and accessible?
Just as cultures differ, so do disability accommodations and perceptions. The key for any study abroad participant is flexibility. Most Learning Abroad Center programs have accessibility information available. For supplemental information, students are encouraged to contact the Learning Abroad Center and the Disability Resource Center Advisors for assistance in finding programs and overseas support services.
It is important to communicate your needs and consider alternative ways to meet them. Disability Resource Center and the Learning Abroad Center are here to assist you before and during your trip abroad.
Quick Tips for Students with Disabilities Going Abroad
- Disclose your disability needs to program staff early, so appropriate arrangements and reasonable accommodations can be made in advance.
- Remember that other cultures may provide disability access in a different way—learn about what types of accommodation are typically provided in your host country, and be flexible and open to different ways of accommodating your disability.
- Before you go, find out as much as you can about your host culture and how they view disability by reading, talking to other students, and attending pre-departure orientation sessions. The more you know, the better prepared you will be for the interaction between your disability and the new environment.
- Think about how you will answer questions about your disability in the language of your host country—look up key vocabulary words ahead of time.