The Office of International Education and Development (OIED) and the Office of Disability Services work together to help students with disabilities participate in successful international experiences. Study abroad programs have become a regular part of an undergraduate and graduate degree with more than 900 Appalachian students participating each year from various backgrounds.
Listed on this page are some steps and resources for students with disabilities to consider as they plan for their experience abroad. We are excited to be a partner in your quest to learn more about new countries, culture(s), languages, etc. and about yourself.
To get started all students should visit our Guide Me page to learn about the different program options. This page will lead you to information about how to choose a program, the costs of studying abroad, and more.
While browsing the program options students with disabilities may want to consider the following to best determine potential needs:
- What is the physical environment like in your host country (i.e. weather, hilly, developed/developing, etc.)?
- What sort of medical facilities and medical support is available (i.e. hospitals, counselling, etc.)?
- What are the housing options (i.e. homestay, student residences, off campus apartments, hotels, etc.)?
- What is the university/host country transportation system like and how often will you need to use it?
- How are the classes and assessments structured (i.e. is the learning mainly from lectures, independent research, text books, papers, cumulative final exam, etc.)?
- Will you need to do your own cooking and laundry?
- What are the country’s laws regarding individuals with disabilities.
Studying abroad exposes students to new and different ways of interpreting the world and how they view themselves so flexibility is a key to success. The same holds true for perceptions of disability and the types of accommodations that can be made. Listed below are some tips for students with disabilities as they plan their abroad experience.
- Explore your options. Attend a Study Abroad 101 session and/or meet with an advisor.
- Plan early for your experience. Disclose accommodation needs you may have early to OIED and the Office of Disability Services so that we can advise you appropriately and verify that reasonable accommodations can be made in advance. Reasonable accommodations may vary by country and program site so it is important to ask questions during this planning stage.
- Research your location by speaking to an advisor in OIED and visiting resources such as Mobility International, Access-Able Travel, and Diversity Abroad. In addition to researching access this is also a good opportunity to start learning a bit about how they view disability.
- Select your program and apply.
- Apply for Scholarships and Grants.
- Submit your accommodation request. Students will work with the Office of Disability Services and OIED to submit the necessary accommodation request paperwork to the partner university. This should be done well in advance of the start of your program. Accommodation requests made at the last minute or after arrival in country may not be fulfilled.
- Prepare and go. OIED will hold an orientation for all students studying abroad to help them plan for their experience.