Students with disabilities participate in UA study abroad programs around the world! Studying abroad can help you learn more about yourself and expand your worldview. As expressed by alumna Amanda Parkman, "[Studying abroad] is one of the best things I have ever done. I gained lifelong friendships, amazing memories, and it reinforced my independence”.
The key to a successful study abroad experience for all students is researching your options and planning early. We recommend you start planning one year prior to studying abroad. After attending a Study Abroad 101 session, meet with a Study Abroad Coordinator to explore accessible programs. It’s also important to discuss your plans with the Disability Resource Center (DRC). Study Abroad and the DRC will work with you to arrange reasonable accommodations abroad and assist you with the pre-departure process.
The lens through which disability is viewed varies greatly throughout the world. Views on independence, confidentiality, and respect for individual rights also differ from one country to the next. In many countries, there are no standards or requirements for providing access for disabled individuals. Accessible features like ramps, or parking spaces, Braille, assistive technology, or other curricular accommodations may be non-existent in parts of your host country, especially in rural areas. With some preparation, students with disabilities can enjoy a meaningful study abroad experience.
Tips for Success
Discuss your disability needs with us. Talk with your DRC Disability Consultant and Study Abroad Coordinator early, so reasonable accommodations can be organized in advance.
Remember that disability is viewed differently in other cultures. Be flexible and open to different ways of accommodating your disability.Be aware that there will be changes in the interaction between your disability and the new environment.
Accessibility varies widely in other countries. Learn about what types of accommodation are typically provided in your countries of interest. Use online resources such as Mobility International USA to connect with other disabled students who have studied abroad.
You can do it! With planning, preparation and flexibility, you can have an amazing experience abroad!
University of Arizona Disability Resource Center: hear from disabled students who have studied abroad and learn more about resources available
Mobility International USA: excellent resource center for disability-related questions about going abroad
Access Abroad: Comprehensive guide from the University of Minnesota for students with disabilities who want to study abroad
US Department of State – Traveling with Disabilities: offers wealth of valuable information regarding traveling abroad with a disability
Abroad with Disabilities Facebook Community: discuss topics relevant to study abroad and learn about resources and tips to prepare for your trip