It is important to keep in mind that other parts of the world have different standards of accessibility and perceptions of persons with disabilities. Many countries may offer increased disability accommodations, while others may have more limited options. The U.S. has laws in place, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), to ensure accessible accommodations, but your travel destination likely has different laws or cultural perceptions of those with disabilities.
This is a list by country of disability rights, and some university and college resources and services for students with disabilities within those countries.
“Generally, Australia is very accessible with streets, public transportation, facilities and other infrastructure suited to meet the needs of the country’s disabled population. You should not have any major issues with having adequate accommodations. You should always plan ahead, however, especially for trips to wildlife parks or other outdoor activities.” (“Diversity and Multicultural Travel Guide to Australia,” n.d.)
-Need to register with Disability Services before start of study
“Students with disabilities studying abroad in China will face a special set of challenges. In China, as in other parts of the world, there are often prejudicial attitudes towards individuals with disabilities. Also, inadequate medical care and stigmatization remain a common problems. The government made strong laws protecting the rights of the disabled, but Chinese cities make little concessions to disabled people in reality. For example, you will find wheelchair access to be extremely limited, especially outside Beijing or Shanghai and guide dogs are effectively forbidden from most public spaces.” (“Diversity and Multicultural Travel Guide to China,” n.d.)
“The China Disabled Persons’ Federation, also known as the CDPF, is a national organization for individuals with disability in China established in Beijing, China in March 1988, aiming to represent and safeguard the rights and interests of disabled people.” (Wikipedia: China Disabled Persons’ Federation, n.d.)
“There are international laws in place to promote the rights and address the needs of the disabled. But despite its beauty, Costa Rica is not a wealthy nation. Therefore, funding to implement accessibility standards is limited. You will need to conduct extensive research on tours that are accessible, especially if you’d like to explore the natural parks and wildlife in the country.” (“Diversity and Multicultural Travel Guide to Costa Rica,” n.d.)
“I am legally blind and I used a cane when I went to Costa Rica and Panama. In the classroom I used my personal computer and iPad to complete coursework because instructors were more than willing to send my assignments via email. I also had extremely helpful classmates and host family members assist me throughout our adventures….My advice to anyone who uses a mobility device abroad is to find local businesses or organizations that can replace or repair them. I say this because I lost my cane in the ocean while our group was in Panama! My friends helped me out until we returned to Costa Rica, where fortunately one of the professors know about a local business that sold canes.” (“Mobility International: Encouraging Others to See the World,” n.d.)
“Generally, cities like Paris are modern and have accommodations for people with disabilities at historic sites and on public transportation. Accommodations are less available in rural cities and facilities not maintained by the government. Despite this, many disabled persons in France find that health care and services specifically for people with disabilities lag behind those available in other European countries. As always, you should carefully plan ahead to make sure your lodging and destinations are equipped with the necessary accommodations.” (“Diversity and Multicultural Travel Guide to France,” n.d.)
Isreal and Palestine
“According to the Basic Laws, discrimination based on “physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities in employment (including hiring, work environment, and evaluation), education, air travel and other transportation, access to health care, the judicial system, or the provision of other government services” is prohibited in Israel. Additional laws mandate accessibility to buildings, communication and transportation which has advanced the accessibility services in the country. Infrastructure, especially in the public and high tourism areas, is now being accommodated for accessibility with significant changes occurring frequently.” (“Diversity and Multicultural Travel Guide to Israel,” n.d.)
“South Africa has generally become more concerned with accommodating visitors with special needs. Today, most attractions and facilities across the country will be able to accommodate visitors with disabilities. The rights of disabled people are guaranteed in South Africa's Constitution, and legislation requires that public buildings and other places be accessible. Major attractions, airports, service stations, public buildings, game reserves and shopping centres have appropriate access, facilities, and parking. Generally, you will not face major issues, but should always plan ahead to make sure you have adequate accommodations.” (“Diversity and Multicultural Travel Guide to South Africa,” n.d.)
“Generally, Spain is very accessible with streets, public transportation, facilities and other infrastructure suited to meet the needs of the country’s disabled population. Instances of discrimination are low as the government effectively enforces laws protecting the disabled. You should not have any major issues with having adequate accommodations. You should always plan ahead, however, especially for trips to rural areas or outdoor activities.” (“Diversity and Multicultural Travel Guide to Spain,” n.d.)
“Generally, the U.K. is very modern and accessible with public transportation, facilities and other infrastructure designed to meet the needs of the disabled population. The government also effectively enforces laws protecting the disabled. Students with disabilities should not have major issues finding adequate accommodations however, planning ahead is always advised, especially for trips to rural areas or outdoor activities. Public transportation in extremely accessible as well.” (“Diversity and Multicultural Travel Guide to United Kingdom,” n.d.)
“WinVisible is a multi-racial community group of women with visible and invisible disabilities: polio, sickle cell anaemia, osteo-arthritis, mental health issues, cancer . . . from different backgrounds: asylum seekers, refugees, other immigrants, UK-born. Through WinVisible, disabled women meet and support each other, overcome isolation and discrimination, and often win what we are entitled to. We provide self-help information and advocacy, on benefits, accessing health, transport and support services, on homecare charges and many other problems, against discrimination, including in employment.” (WinVisible)