Resource Library

Tipsheet
Two young women, one American and one Jordanian, lean towards each other in conversation.

Common Questions

"Can I go on a MIUSA exchange program?" "Which U.S. exchange program is right for me?" See if we answered your question about finding exchange opportunities in the U.S.

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A young Pakistani girl with no legs or hands digs in a garden alongside a pet cat.

Volunteer in the U.S.A.

Volunteerism, also known as community service, is highly valued in the United States. Anyone can be a volunteer, and many international visitors with disabilities have volunteered in their U.S. host communities. Although volunteer positions are unpaid, there are many possible benefits. Make a difference in your U.S. host community by volunteering your time and talent!

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A smiling blind man in a suit holds a cane while greeting a man in a formal suit.

Gain Professional Experience

Professional exchanges, such as internships and fellowships, provide opportunities for international visitors to gain career experience or to share their knowledge or skills while living in the United States. These exchanges can last from a few weeks to a few years. Many people with disabilities have traveled to the U.S. to gain career experience or to share their expertise in a variety of professional fields.

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A high school girl wearing a headscarf and sitting in a wheelchair rides the lift to board a yellow school bus.

Study at a U.S. High School

"American school is so neat," signs Belvion, a Deaf exchange student from Mozambique who communicates using sign language. "They've got libraries and computers and the teachers are great. I'm loving it."

Belvion is one of the many high school students with disabilities who come to the United States every year to live and study on an exchange program. Are you ready to be an exchange student too?

Tipsheet
A middle-aged woman addresses an audience while two younger women stand behind her to interpret in sign language. A screen behind them reads "Top Tips for English Language Learning."

Learn English

What motivates YOU to learn English? Whether it's to get a better job or to meet people around the world, take the first step to reach your goal. Join an English as a Second Language (ESL) program in the U.S. or online.

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A group of students from different countries, including a student in a wheelchair, share a group hug.

Find a Program in the U.S.

Find opportunities to study, learn, and grow professionally in the U.S., whatever your disability. Your options are endless. As a person with a disability, you have the same right as everyone else to gain professional experience, study at a college or high school, learn English, or volunteer in the U.S.

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An international student from Asia in a power wheelchair wears a graduation cap and gown as he accepts his diploma.

Study at a U.S. College or University

On any campus, you are likely to find students, staff, and faculty with disabilities studying, working, and teaching alongside people without disabilities. Imagine yourself among them, then begin your path to U.S. study today!

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Empty wheelchair outside Asian temple

Infographic: Get Your Planning Started

People with disabilities live and travel everywhere these days. By planning creatively, collaborating with others, and being flexible there’s no need to limit yourself to places that are more like home. Your decision may be less about the country where you go, and more about the type or length of program that works for you.

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Deaf female student from Malaysia stands in front of the Model Secondary School for the Deaf

High School Placements for Deaf Exchange Students

In the United States, the vast majority of secondary students with disabilities are mainstreamed in inclusive high schools per the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). First passed in 1975, the IDEA is a powerful landmark civil rights law that guarantees access to a free, appropriate, public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE) appropriate to every child with a disability.

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Blind student and teacher smile while holding a hand puppet in a school hallway..

High School Placements for Blind and Low Vision Students

It used to be that the majority of blind and low vision exchange students were placed in schools for the blind in the United States. That is no longer the case. Experienced exchange professionals know that there is no one size fits all approach to placing these talented students in U.S. high schools.

In the United States, the vast majority of secondary students with disabilities are mainstreamed in public high schools.

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A volunteer surrounded by kids

Volunteer Abroad

Whether you apply to participate in a volunteer abroad program like the Peace Corps or join a volunteer project abroad, volunteering can dramatically change your life and the lives of those around you. Since many volunteer organizations offer opportunities to work with disability communities overseas, people with disabilities can be valuable role models at these placement sites. As you consider your disability-related needs for a potential volunteer abroad experience, remember that many people with disabilities have successfully coordinated a variety of supports in order thrive in international volunteer settings.

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A young woman wearing sari material as she uses a wheelchair is petting several animals in a local courtyard.

College/University Programs

Each year, thousands of American undergraduate and graduate students with and without disabilities travel abroad on international academic exchange programs. These students are brushing up on new languages, advancing their cross-cultural awareness, and building valuable independence - all skills that make a hearty resume for future employment opportunities. You can, too!

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Two young women of color have their arms clasped and are smiling brightly for the photo.

High School Programs

It might be going abroad for a high school field trip, volunteering on a church mission trip, or participating in a State Department-sponsored program. You can find a lot of fun programs to see the world and gain new experiences!

Youth with disabilities use these international experiences to help build important skills that make them more competitive for post-secondary employment and education opportunities.

Additionally, participation in international exchange can lead to:

Tipsheet
An American exchange participant talks with two young female students.

Professional Exchanges

Professional exchanges, such as internships and fellowships, provide opportunities for international visitors to gain career experience or to share their knowledge or skills while living in a particular country. These exchanges can last from a few weeks to a few years.

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