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Students with Disabilities

Perceptions and attitudes towards people with disabilities, as well as laws around accessibility, differ in other countries, cultures, and contexts. Additionally, the availability and extent of accommodations will depend on the study away program and country, so it is important to work with the Center for Study Away and the Center for Disability Resources well in advance (at least 6 months if possible) to discuss possible arrangements.

Don’t let a disability stop you from considering studying away! In addition to all the other personal and academic learning opportunities that a study away experience provides, living and studying in another country could provide a new perspective on how other cultures view and treat people with disabilities.

Given the variability between countries and programs, it’s important to consider what support services or accommodations you currently use on the Macalester campus, and which ones are necessary for you to be successful on a study away program (including family and friend support networks). Because the standard for accessibility in the United States may not be available abroad, it’s also important to become informed about the capacity for accommodations for your programs of interest, and be flexible and open to different ways of accommodating your disability if necessary.

You can learn more by talking to other students, considering some of the questions listed below, and then researching your host country through the following suggested resources.  Study abroad advisors in the Center for Study Away are ready and willing to discuss this topic with you during an advising session.

Questions to Ask—Selecting a Program

  • What disability services are you used to utilizing while on Macalester campus?
  • What types of accommodation and/or disability services are essential for your success in a study away program?
  • Have you spoken to the CSA staff about how program structure and location will impact your experience?
  • What type of documentation does the program require to confirm disability? Is updated information needed?
  • How accessible is the campus/housing/city in the program/area you are interested in?
  • How does the country you’re going to view people with your disability?
  • How important is it to have a community of other people with your disability while abroad?

Questions to Ask—Preparing for Departure

  • Have you spoken to the Center for Disability Resources about your disability and how it might be accommodated while away?
  • What might a reasonable accommodation look like on your study away program?
  • Do you have a need for a care provider either at your study away location or a connection to one back home?  How can you access needed care while away?
  • How will you access specific medications required for your disability (if needed)?
  • Are you willing to disclose your disability to others while away?
  • What are the physical environments like in your host country?
  • What are academics like in your host country? Is learning mainly from lecture, readings, independent research, or a different method? How are the assignments different than at Macalester?
  • What housing options exist on your program?
  • Is transportation available and accessible?
  • Will your disability prevent you from participating fully in all aspects of your study away program?
  • How will you answer questions about your disability in the language of the host country, if other than English?
  • How will you respond if you are treated differently because of your disability while abroad?

Resources about Study Away for Students with Disabilities

Country Specific Information

Student Voices

Scholarships and Grants

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