Services for Students with Disabilities

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. Be sure to ask for accommodations in advance as it may take additional time to arrange in your host country.

Remember that it is vital to be flexible and adaptable when traveling. You are encouraged to stretch your comfort zone while still maintaining your safety.

General questions to consider:

Academic Accommodations

  • What accommodations do I require to manage my disability?

  • How can I access these accommodations (such as a wheelchair, additional time to take tests, an aide, or counseling appointments) while overseas?

  • What coping strategies do I use in the U.S. to manage my disability? How will I apply or modify these while I’m abroad?

  • If I am unable to get the accommodations I need, how can I adapt or create alternative strategies to address them?

Laws and Infrastructure

  • How does my preferred host country address and perceive physical mobility (ramps, elevators, Personal Care Assistants, etc.) and/or invisible or non-apparent disabilities (learning disabilities, ADHD, anxiety, asthma, etc.)?

  • What laws and infrastructure are in place in my preferred host country to help support persons with disabilities?

  • Is there a local community of people with similar disabilities that I could connect with?

  • How will in-country infrastructure, such as unpaved roads, availability of ramps or elevators, and access to medications potentially impact my experience?

Transportation and Housing

  • Once I have chosen a program, how will I negotiate international and in-country transportation as it relates to my disability? Will I need to prearrange accessible airport transportation upon departure and arrival to my host country? How will I manage my transportation needs once I am in-country?

  • What type of housing is available in my destination country? Will this adequately address my accommodation needs?

  • Will my FAFSA or other U-M funding sources transfer over to my education abroad experience? What sources of funding are available for education abroad opportunities?

  • What on-campus support and resources can I access overseas?

 

Review more specific questions related to your disability or medical condition.

Additional resources, including funding, on-and-off campus support, and pre-departure materials can be found on Global Michigan at global.umich.edu.