The UMass IPO believes that students with disabilities can study abroad successfully with ongoing support and accommodation. It is important to plan ahead, and learn about the attitudes and accommodations where you want to study, as they vary by country and program. Understanding your accommodation needs will help you find a country, program, or host institution poised to accommodate psychological, learning (neurodiversity) and/or physical disabilities, and chronic health conditions. While the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil law enforced in the United States, it cannot be applied to countries outside of United States; however, study abroad programs do their best to accommodate all students and it is important to find a program that is right for you.
- How will my disability affect which study abroad programs I consider?
- Are there planned excursions or activities that I will not be able to participate in due to my condition?
- Are there academic accommodations tailored to support my needs or concerns?
- How will I plan ahead to manage my condition before going abroad?
- What obstacles might I encounter in planning to go abroad & while abroad, and how will I overcome them?
Before You Go:
- By disclosing your accommodation needs or concerns to your study abroad advisor early on, appropriate accommodations can be made to tailor the study abroad advising process and experience.
- Work with your advisor to learn about the types of accommodations typically provided in the host country.
- Find out as much as you can about your host culture and how they view disability by reading and talking to other students with disabilities to learn about their experiences abroad.
- Visit UMass Disability Services to find out about accommodations and scholarships available.
- Discuss your plans with your family whenever possible, and make sure they are aware of their role in supporting you through the process if necessary.
- Family members are encouraged to reach out to student’s Education Abroad advisors with any health & safety concerns and general questions.
UMass Amherst Campus Resources
- UMass Disability Services
- Assistive Technology Center: located on the Lower Level of the W.E.B. DuBois Library in the Learning Commons, the ATC offers instruction, training, and support for assistive technology tools to any member of the University community.
Useful Sites to Begin Your Exploration
- Abroad with Disabilities: a non profit organization that works diligently to empower persons with disabilities to pursue international study, work, volunteer, and/or internship opportunities abroad.
- A World Awaits You - Students with Disabilities Studying Abroad: US college and university students with disabilities who have successfully studied abroad in other countries and the strategies that were influential in their success
- Mobility International USA: works to empower people with disabilities to achieve their human rights through international exchange and international development
- Access Abroad: University of Minnesota: a collaborative effort at the University of Minnesota between the Learning Abroad Center and the Disability Resource Center to provide information and guidance on accessibility overseas. The materials on this website are designed to assist students, faculty and staff with the process of identifying and obtaining reasonable accommodations and include planning tools to help prepare students for a successful international experience.
- Financial Aid for International Exchange and Disability
- National Clearinghouse on Disability & Exchange
- Lucas Scheelk (CAPA London Fall 2013) on exploring London from an autistic & LGBT perspective