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I liked how the U.S. university is run. A lot more interactive and the professors actually worked in the field that they are teaching about – they are not just academics that want to do research.
I used the disability services in England and the U.S. as well. Americans are more openly emotional and there’s a lot more talking about feelings, which the English don’t do.
A Deaf student from Russia, Tatiana experienced the best of both worlds by attending two schools during her Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) year in the United States.
She attended the Delaware School for the Deaf (DSD) for the first five months of her exchange program while taking pre-calculus at Christiana High School, a mainstream public high school. After five months attending DSD, she transitioned to Christiana full time.
When Katharine Royal was five years old, she told her grandfather that one day she’d welcome a child from Africa into her life. Years later, her childhood dream came true as she and her husband opened their home to Stella, a high school exchange student from Kenya who has spina bifida and uses a wheelchair.
Katharine understood the challenges that Stella was facing. Like Stella, she, too, has spina bifida and uses a wheelchair. “Pretty much before [my friend] even fully asked me if I would consider hosting Stella, I told her we are doing this,” Katharine says.
Azat Toroev jokes that he is happy if his classmates can find Kyrgyzstan on a map. Since he arrived in his host state of Colorado, he has been raising awareness of his native country while studying for a year at a U.S. high school. Toroev, who has cerebral palsy, has also increased his own self-awareness while in the United States.
When Molly Rogers was a professor at the University of Oregon, she visited the island of Penghu, Taiwan, to present a paper on Kansei Engineering and Emotion Research, it was the first time she’d traveled solo since becoming a wheelchair user. Molly, who is a member of Mobility International USA’s board of directors, was excited to visit a new place, but also admitted to being a little nervous.
When Guida Leicester arrived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for a six week program through a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Summer Fellowship, one thing quickly became apparent to her. “The staff and faculty had discussed what I could and could not do, but they had failed to include me in the conversation.”
While working with partners from the Dominican Republic to promote the country’s new disability rights law, Kimberly Tissot, who is the Executive Director of Able South Carolina in the USA, found a lot in common.
“I thought the disability community there was going to be different,” said Tissot, who has a physical disability. “We all face the same barriers—just at different levels.”
Amanda had an amazing summer studying six weeks in Florence, Italy. She shares how her anxieties faded away or were talked through with others once overseas.
For six weeks this summer, I’ll be interning at a media organization in Accra, Ghana. By night I will share a house with fourteen fellow students from the University of Oregon. By day I will likely travel solo to and from work in a densely populated African city. This will also be my first time traveling internationally by myself. Eek!
As I navigated my way through piles of paperwork and broke the news to my family, I was rather amused at others’ reactions to my summer internship.
Hannah Mann has traveled to China three times, including a semester abroad studying Mandarin at Peking University in Beijing. Her Mandarin studies began when she signed up for a summer class at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
“My interests have always centered around Asia,” she says. “I’d always been fascinated with Chinese history and culture since I was a little girl. I think it started with Jackie Chan movies; I loved watching the fight scenes, and the other aspects of Chinese culture shown in these films also fascinated me.”
In many ways, Christy Smith is the ultimate survivor.
She was born premature and weighed just two months at birth. When she pulled her breathing tube out as a baby, she became deaf. Later, she became the first Deaf person on reality TV when she starred on the Amazon edition of CBS’ popular reality TV show Survivor. She lasted thirty-three out of thirty-nine days before she was ousted and finished sixth.
Christy is more than just a survivor. She’s also an adventurer, a world traveler, and an advocate for Deaf communities everywhere.
"I'll be away from family, away from the doctors, away from the security of my own surroundings. I truly have to find a way to 'survive' and know that I can do this alone," blogged Tracy Cherba in the time leading up to her departure for Peru, where she would soon be traveling with a group of her professional colleagues to volunteer in a Cross-Cultural Solutions program.
Meet Kathleen Coleman, a study abroad alumna to Spain, who would like others to know that having a travel companion with Asperger's can enhance an already-unique experience.
My semester in Barcelona was the highlight of my university experience. Immersing myself in Spanish culture gave me a sense of independence and confidence I had not known before. I learned my way around Barcelona via the Metro. I got lost several times, but never permanently!
Originally from Bothell, Washington, Tony Ive attended the University of Idaho and has ADHD and learning disabilities.
After hearing about it from MIUSA, he applied for the Korea-US Youth Network program through Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) and was awarded a scholarship to participate. The program is a short-term exchange for students to learn about Korean culture.
Previously, Tony participated in a backpacking trek to Machu Picchu, Peru with a group of visually impaired athletes and traveled to Costa Rica on a MIUSA disability-related exchange.
My biggest concern as I prepared to travel was asking myself if I could really study Arabic. I have never studied an oral language before, besides working hard at English, so this was a big concern for me.
In light of this, I signed up for a summer community college Arabic course in order to figure out what would be challenging and to get a head start, even though I hadn't been accepted yet for Middle East Studies Program (MESP), which is run by BestSemester/Council for Christian Colleges & Universities.