Accommodations AbroadWe work to provide accommodations abroad for students who participate in study abroad. In this sense, our definition of accommodations is not limited to that of a disability as set by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but any adjustment to program or arrangement a student might need while abroad. As such, the below listings for possible accommodations is neither encompassing nor based upon the definition of disability:
- Students with a physical impairment(s) that substantially limit one or more major life activities (e.g. vision impairment, loss of limb, spinal conditions, etc.)
- Students with a mental impairment(s) that substantially limit one or more major life activities (e.g. documented learning disabilities, or with conditions such as ADHD, ADD, etc.)
- Students who are part of the LGBTQ+ community
- Students with dietary restrictions or preferences (e.g. food allergies, eating a vegetarian lifestyle, lactose-free diets, etc.)
This is a collaborative effort by the Center for Global Engagement with the Center for Student Academic Success, Health & Counseling Services, Center for Cura Personalis, Diversity, Inclusion, Community & Equity, Human Resources, and other pertinent offices. We seek to facilitate equal access for students pursing a study abroad experience and to provide information on accessibility at overseas sites.
- Students should disclose their needs as soon as possible by informing their Study Abroad Advisor. Students are welcome to include advocates in conversations with our office and others to help disclose their needs. The more open you are about what you need, the more we can help you in working towards accommodations.
- It is important to understand that, while studying abroad, students are subjects to the laws and regulations of their host country. As detailed further below, we make every effort to provide U.S. standards for reasonable accommodation in line with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Students should research the host culture they plan to study abroad in:
- Questions to Consider
- Physical impairments: How wheelchair accessible is my intended study abroad destination? Will I be able to move about my host country and other destinations I may wish to travel to?
- Psychological conditions: Can my intended study abroad destination provide necessary testing accommodations? Counseling services?
- LGBTQ+ community: How LGBTQ+ friendly is my study abroad destination? What is the political and social environment towards members of this community?
- Dietary restrictions: What does the typical diet consist of in my study abroad destination? Will locals understand what I mean (and accept this) when I say I am lactose-intolerant? Will not eating ____ (e.g. meat, dairy, eggs, fish, etc. etc.) be considered culturally inappropriate or offensive to my hosts?
- Abroad with Disabilities
- Dietary Restrictions includes resources for dietary restriction travel translation cards
- Questions to Consider
- 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
Not All Accessibility is the Same
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates equal access to university sponsored programs and services to students with disabilities. However when international sites are involved, providing U.S. standards poses a unique challenge. The expectation on the part of U.S. students and institutions is that reasonable accommodations will be made. Access overseas varies depending on the country and the overseas site. Creative thinking and a realistic assessment of the possibilities on site are essential considerations in this process. In some cases, it is possible to identify local support services. In other cases, the overseas site may determine modifications cannot be provided, and the student needs to consider another site.
What are the Next Steps?
If you need accommodations or would like to explore how your needs can be accommodated on a specific program, speak with a Study Abroad Advisor as soon as possible, the earlier the better.
In some cases, students will meet with a Study Abroad Accommodation Committee, which could be comprised of colleagues from Center for Student Academic Success, Health & Counseling Services, Center for Cura Personalis, Diversity, Inclusion, Community & Equity, Human Resources and the student’s faculty member(s) depending upon the accommodations that are needed for students. The Committee works with the student to determine an action plan on how to make the study abroad a safe and successful experience. The Committee needs 2 to 3 months before a student leaves to determine an action plan.