Services for Students with Disabilities

Education Abroad is Possible

Participating in an international experience at U-M is a chance to seek new opportunities, broaden your perspective, and build global competence. Managing your disability abroad can be a significant source of growth, challenge, and reflection in a new and unfamiliar environment. You may already be familiar with navigating challenges associated with your disability on campus, but there will likely be a different context to negotiate in your host culture. When preparing for an education abroad experience, it is important to ensure the country you are traveling to will be a good fit for your disability and accommodation needs.


Eligibility

Students with disabilities can have rewarding experiences abroad and are encouraged to explore their options in consultation with their academic advisor, an advisor from the unit sponsoring their international travel, and the Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) Office. 

Students registered with the Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) Office  who are eligible for on-campus accommodations are also eligible to receive accommodations abroad when it can be arranged and if the requested accommodation(s) are available in the international destination.

In the event that accommodations were not pre­‐approved by SSD before a traveler departs, travelers already abroad are still encouraged to contact the SSD Office to see if temporary accommodations can be approved remotely.

 

Plan Ahead

You are responsible for arranging necessary accommodation and while it is not possible to anticipate all concerns, pre‐departure planning is strongly encouraged. The availability of facilities and support services may vary at different sites of travel, and the range and quality may differ from services provided at the University of Michigan. Financial responsibilities for accommodations abroad will default to the traveler, if not met by other sources. 

 

Getting Started

  1. Explore education abroad options in M-Compass, attend an information session with the sponsoring unit, or speak with an education abroad advisor

    • Ask yourself important questions related to your specific disability or other medical conditions – see examples

    • Consider how your other identities may also impact your experience abroad

  2. Narrow down your options

  3. Set up an appointment with an advisor from SSD

    • Complete the Accommodations Abroad Request Form with an SSD advisor and share with the unit sponsoring the program to learn about accommodation possibilities. Requests for accommodations must be made within a reasonable time. 

    • Attain a Verified Individualized Services and Accommodations (VISA) letter. This form should be shared with your sponsoring unit and/or onsite partner.

  4. Decide on a program and apply. Scholarships and financial aid are available for eligible students. 

  5. Receive written confirmation of the accommodations provided abroad, and contact sponsoring unit program staff with questions.

  6. Prepare for your experience abroad and consult with SSD and sponsoring unit advisors as needed.

 


Education Abroad: Questions to Consider

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.


Country List: Disability Accessibility

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.