Going abroad gives people with disabilities the opportunity to develop important professional skills, as well as other skills equally important to finding a career, such as problem-solving, resiliency and confidence. This issue of A World Awaits You follows twelve people with disabilities on their career paths, charts hot spots for exchange around the globe, and shows how to take the next step.
On the cover: Anjali Forber-Pratt explores India by wheelchair in the company of young fans. As an athlete who has competed in the Paralympic Games, Anjali has capitalized on her athletic achievements to develop sports programs for people with disabilities in India, Bermuda, and Ghana. The Paul G. Hearne Leadership Award recipient urges other people with disabilities to be open to travel. "Having the opportunity to go abroad, to participate in an exchange program, whatever that may be, broadens your own world perspective."
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International exchange experience builds valuable professional skills for people with disabilities, including skills that go beyond the resume, such as problem-solving, confidence and flexibility.
Discover some of the skills that people with disabilities can develop while participating in international exchange.
Reveca Torres, who uses a wheelchair, founded BACKBONES, a nonprofit organization that matches peers with spinal cord injuries. Torres developed leadership, communication and independent living skills during her experiences abroad.
Daniel Erchick, an amputee, volunteered in Ghana and Sierra Leone, and now works for the International Vaccine Access Center in Baltimore.
Christie Gilson, who is blind, spent eleven months in Hong Kong on a Fulbright grant. She is now a professor at Moravian College in Pennsylvania.
Jessica Chesbro, who has a mobility disability, has studied abroad in the Netherlands and France and was also a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines. She now works for the Foreign Service.
Anne Reuss, who is Deaf, studied abroad in Italy, where she gained the confidence and skills to build a career in social media.
Meghan Hotchkiss, who has a learning disability, became fluent in Spanish and Portuguese through programs in Spain and South America. She now works for Cross Cultural Solutions, an international education program.
Emma Verrill, a wheelchair user, has taught and studied abroad in France. Her experiences working abroad led her to decide to become a teacher.
Carla Valpeoz, who is blind, has taught and studied in Yemen, Tunisia, Egypt and Spain. She now works for an Arab-American nonprofit organization in Detroit.
Robert Hurtekant, who uses a wheelchair, has visited South Africa three times for international exchange, including a language immersion program through the Fulbright-Hays Program. He now works for the National Democratic Institute in Washington, D.C.
Erikson Young, who is Deaf, was a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya, where he improved his advocacy and professional skills. These skills are valuable for his current work with the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
Beth Ocrant, who is blind, studied Special Education as a student in England. She spent a decade working as a case manager for the Easter Seal Society, in Chicago.
Learn about disability-specific resources and other tips for going abroad with a disability.
The National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State and administered by Mobility International USA. The goal of the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange is to increase the participation and inclusion of people with disabilities in the full range of international educational opportunities.
Published by Mobility International USA (MIUSA). Copyright © March 2013. All rights reserved. Articles are written by Franz Knupfer, consultant with the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange (NCDE) and edited by Cerise Roth-Vinson and Ashley Bryant. Please contact MIUSA/NCDE with suggestions or corrections.