Frequently Asked Questions About NCDE
Frequent questions about the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange and Mobility International USA
Do you only assist people with mobility disabilities since your name is Mobility International USA?
Mobility International USA is cross-disability organization serving those with cognitive, hearing, learning, mental health-related, physical, systemic, vision and other disabilities.
I thought your name was Mobility International USA (MIUSA). What is the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange (NCDE)?
Mobility International USA administers multiple projects and grants, including the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange, a project sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
The NCDE is similar to a specialized library and resource center. We produce online publications and informational sheets on planning for disability accommodations and accessibility abroad, and advice on how to create more inclusive international exchange programs. We serve the public or organizations contacting the clearinghouse with these types of disability and international exchange questions. Our staff provides one-on-one assistance as needed in relation to people with disabilities participating in international study, work, volunteer, teaching and cultural programs such as those offered by universities, language schools and organizations.
Does MIUSA have exchange programs?
MIUSA specializes in disability leadership programs for small groups such as a delegation of young leaders with disabilities going to Spain or women leaders from developing countries coming to the U.S. These programs are very limited and are typically grant-funded for a specific target audience. To find out more, visit our MIUSA Exchange Programs.
Does MIUSA sponsor or provide funding for individuals with disabilities who want to come to the United States or who want to go on an exchange outside the United States?
No. MIUSA does not have funding to sponsor individuals coming to the United States or going overseas on an exchange. We do have a list of scholarships, fellowships and fundraising tips to assist people interested in international exchange. Go to: Financial Aid and Funding for International Exchange.
Does the NCDE have exchange programs to participate in?
We have a list of many different types of exchange programs offered by other organizations. Like a library, the staff provides referrals to these organizations, but we do not have any direct relationship with the programs that are listed. The majority of the programs are not specifically designed for people with disabilities, but people with a disabilities have a right to participate if they meet the basic qualifications as outlined in the program applications provided by the organizations.
Some of the programs have experience with people with disabilities participating in the past, while others will have to do some research to answer disability-specific questions. Some of the organizations' staff have attended the NCDE conference presentations or purchased the NCDE publications to learn more about how to make their programs better prepared for someone with a disability to participate. For those organizations with less experience, the NCDE can work with the program staff and the individual with a disability to answer questions and resolve potential barriers.
What kind of free assistance can the NCDE provide me?
The NCDE answers individual questions from people in the U.S. or abroad wanting to travel on an exchange program to or from the United States. Our staff are experts on issues of disability and international exchange issues ranging from providing accommodations, working with overseas universities, recruiting, and more. Our staff draw answers from personal experiences, networking, years of experience and continuous research to answer your questions on topics such as:
air travel preparation, such time zone affects on medications or preparing a power wheelchair for loading on international flights,
accommodations for specific disabilities,
the range of international exchange programs and scholarships available,
low-cost or creative ideas for accommodations abroad,
success stories from exchange participants who have gone abroad,
how to travel with medications, service dogs or a personal assistant,
how to avoid pressure sores or figure out electrical conversions for power wheelchair users,
tips on working with partners or program coordinators who are resistant or uninformed about the possibilities of people with disabilities going abroad,
what organizations or universities in the country of destination may be able to provide necessary resources.