Diversity and Identity
Students with Disabilities Abroad
Whatever your disability, you can study abroad with PSU Education Abroad! We are prepared to support you any way we can to facilitate a successful and enjoyable experience! We can help you find solutions to inaccessible places, learn new strategies, and prepare for differences.
Individuals with disabilities may find disability acceptance, inclusion, and accessibility abroad very different from what you find in the United States. While disability acceptance and inclusion will vary due to the realities of local conditions, accessibility may vary based on the requirements of the academic program of choice. For example, there may be a great deal of walking travel required on a daily basis through your program of choice or a requirement to commute via regular use of public transportation. Your advisor can work with you to see if your program choices are at compatible sites that best coincide with your educational and disability needs.
It’s good to keep in mind that other countries have their own laws and regulations concerning physical accessibility and the accommodation of disabilities in the classroom. Other countries are not obligated to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations that we follow here at PSU. That having been said, while the PSU Education Abroad Office cannot guarantee access to public transportation, buildings, or public sites on any Education Abroad program, we work diligently with the Disability Resource Center (DRC) and agents on site at your institution of choice to come up with creative solutions to accessibility challenges.
If you’re interested in studying abroad, it’s best to plan early – at least 6 to 12 months in advance. Schedule an appointment with your Accessibility Specialist in the Disability Resource Center (DRC) to begin the process of identifying the reasonable accommodations you may need overseas.
“I encourage those who study abroad to keep your minds and hearts open. Everybody’s experience is going to be different, and will always be tailored to the individual, and I think in many ways, it’s whatever you make of it.”
-Laura, visually-impaired student who studied abroad in Japan through IE3 Global
Things to Consider
- What is the physical environment like in your host country?
- Is learning mainly from lecture, readings, independent research, etc?
- How might your academic assignments be different?
- What housing options exist in your chosen program site?
- How independent will you be on your program? For example, do you need to do your own cooking? Laundry?
- What kind of transportation is available? Is transportation accessible?
- CIEE/MIUSA Access to the World Scholarship A program-provider scholarship specifically for students with disabilities.
- Mobility International USA Tipsheets Nine pages with information on studying abroad for students with disabilities, including information on scholarships and rights and responsibilities abroad.
- U.S. Department of State Practical information for students with disabilities in preparing, traveling, and living abroad.
- Transitions Abroad General information on studying abroad with a disability.
- Preparations for Travel This website offers specific tips to students studying abroad with Blindness/Low vision, Deafness/Hearing impairments, Autism, Chronic Illness, Learning disabilities, Mental health conditions, and Physical disabilities.
- The Perks and Ways to Study Abroad with a Disability MIUSA, Abroad With Disabilities (AWD) and the Global Access Files teamed up to produce this webinar to share tips for studying abroad with a disability.