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Accessibility Abroad

Students with disabilities participate in study abroad programs around the world; the key to a successful experience is planning. Understand, however, that attitudes, accessibility, and accommodation for students with emotional, mental, learning, or physical disabilities may vary at different program sites and locations. Think about how you will manage these differences and seek as much information as possible before you depart.

Augsburg students can work with the Center for Learning and Accessible Student Services (CLASS) office to request accommodations abroad. Students and participants from other institutions are encouraged to discuss accommodations with a CGEE representative, as well as your home institution’s accessibility office.

Steps to Take

  1. Ask Thoughtful Questions
  2. Research Your Host Country
  3. Identify Resources Available
  4. Discuss Your Study Abroad Plans

Ask

  • What are my reasons for studying abroad? What goals do I have, and how will I achieve them?
  • Will my disability affect which programs I consider?
  • Will I disclose my condition to either my program or the Study Abroad Office?
    • Note: Health conditions and/or disability considerations are not factored into application decisions. However, it is important that you think about these considerations early in the process, even before acceptance into a program. Our first priority is to help you have a safe and positive experience abroad!
  • How will I plan ahead to manage my condition before going abroad?
  • How will I adjust to living in a foreign country? (re: housing, food, culture, language, etc.)
  • What barriers might I encounter (both in planning to go abroad, and while abroad) , and how will I overcome them?
  • If I utilize academic, medical, psychological, or other resources in the US, will I utilize the same resources abroad? What if they aren’t available? Where can I find the resources I need?
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Research

  • Explore program options on our website, considering the questions listed above.
  • If you are taking a prescription medication, make sure to research how you will access this medication abroad. Start this process early!
    • First, talk with your prescribing physician well in advance about getting the supply you need for going abroad. You can also contact EIIA insurance to find out if your medication is available and/or covered while abroad. You will want to bring an adequate supply in the original container, and a prescription with your physician's explanation of the condition and the generic and brand names of the medication and dosage information.
    • Check with the embassies of the countries you expect to visit to make sure your medications are not illegal there. For more information visit Mobility International’s medications tip sheet.
    • Do not plan on sending medications abroad since it will require customs paperwork and may be delayed in delivery.
    • Video: Prescription medication abroad.
  • Think about how you will answer questions about your disability in the language of your host country. Look up key vocabulary words ahead of time.
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Identify

  • Mobility International USA: Information on education and travel for people with disabilities.
  • Abroad with Disabilities: Facebook page started by Juanita Lillie, a student from Grand Valley State University who studied abroad in Costa Rica, as a resource for other students with disabilities who wish to study, intern, volunteer, or work abroad. The page posts and compiles many great resources, and seeks to be a space where students can openly ask questions to others and also share their experiences abroad and make suggestions for future students.
  • Check out videos of Stanford students talking about their study abroad experiences, and how their accommodations impacted their term abroad.
  • wheelchairtravel.org This blog is written by a wheelchair user with physical accessibility details about cities all over the world.
See Campus Resources listed in the "Discuss" section below.
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Discuss

  • Discuss your study abroad plans with your Study Abroad Advisor and Augsburg’s CLASS Office. Our offices will work with you to discuss reasonable accommodations abroad and assist you with the planning and pre-departure process. To better help you prepare, please contact us as early as possible.
  • Talk to a Study Abroad Advisor about getting put in contact with returnee students who can tell you about their experiences traveling and living with a disability while abroad.
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