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!
"It's a stuffed bell pepper with rice, meat and different kinds of vegetables." My parents listened intently as I translated the waiter's explanation of this traditional Peruvian dish.
As a blind person, I was used to having a sighted intermediary explain the menu, and tell the waiter what I wanted. But this was different. Everything on the menu and all the conversation around us was in Spanish and I was the only one of our group who could understand it. I turn to the waiter and referring to my parents, I explained, "She'll have the stuffed bell pepper and he wants the soup."
No-Cost! Universal Design Examples to Increase Access to Language Learning
From gathering information, to expressing ideas, and staying engaged – individuals learn in various ways.
MIUSA implements short-term international exchange programs in the United States and abroad and has worked with over 2,300 alumni with and without disabilities from over 135 countries. These alumni leaders are part of a global MIUSA family. Our unique programs focus on youth, young adults, parents, professionals and women in a world where people with disabilities commonly face discrimination, barriers and isolation, especially as they become leaders. These alumni leaders are part of a global MIUSA family.
While deaf and hard of hearing (D/HH) students can face challenges with hearing and listening, their experiences cannot be easily generalized. Some people who are completely deaf are still oral, while others prefer to use sign language. Others are nonsigning and prefer captions. Others simply have difficulty hearing, and can supplement their limited hearing with lipreading. What works for one person might not work for the next, so keep an open dialogue with your students.
Ripple Effects: Travelers with Disabilities Abroad is a podcast brought to you by the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange, a project sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and administered by MIUSA. Enjoy vivid stories from people with disabilities going abroad and the positive impact these experiences have on demonstrating what is possible.
Listen Now for available episodes for Season 3 on SoundCloud. Access transcripts for each episode from the Table of Contents.
Studying in the U.S. offers many opportunities to reach your academic goals:
- English Learning
- Community College
- University or College
- Graduate School
There are many support sources available to provide students the tools to succeed:
National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange (NCDE)
- Pre-Arrival Support
- U.S. Disability Rights and Culture
- Funding Options
- Connect with other students with disabilities
Students with learning disabilities (LDs) may struggle in a language classroom, but ultimately reap the same benefits as others.
Consider viewing our discussion on the definition of a learning disability as well as methods of identification by referring to the related resources section at the bottom of this page.
According to Ann Sax Mabbott, who has provided case studies of several students with LDs, many achieve success as language learners and even become foreign language teachers.
As part of the #AccessLanguages campaign, to increase access for students with disabilities learning and teaching a foreign language abroad, MIUSA awards the Mike and Lisa Sygall Fellowship to WILD alumna, Jenny Chinchilla!
In partnership with the University of Oregon, American English Institute (AEI), the award will provide 10 weeks of enrollment in an intensive English course, an internship with MIUSA, and host family placement in Eugene, Oregon this fall.
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.
You deal with many diverse locations and programs -- now learn how a diversity of people can take part in what you do.
Disability is diversity. If a person with a disability meets the qualifications and is eligible, start with YES! Accept them first and then focus on how to provide reasonable accommodations that make the program accessible. It's about equal opportunity.
By building flexibility into your programs, you meet more people's needs. What works for someone with a disability can benefit others too.
The English Access Microscholarship Program (Access) provides a foundation of English language skills to talented non-elite 14–18 year-olds through after-school classes and intensive summer sessions.
ACCESS: Disability-Related Country Spotlights
Mongolia: The Regional English Language Office (RELO) assisted with the creation of a program for Deaf and Blind students to gain knowledge of American Sign Language, Braille tactile writing skills, and enriched knowledge about American culture, friendship and opportunities towards the students’ future.
Through meetings to discuss probation and disqualification status, to the discovery of learning disabilities in her own family, Maiko came to appreciate that the reason why so many students were struggling was most likely related to undiagnosed learning disabilities.
Something needed to be done if her program was going to take its work to the next level. After putting in place procedures to educate teachers, destigmatize, detect and diagnose learning disabilities, as well as partner with the university’s Accessible Education Center, things took a turn for the better.
These tips will help you gain #AccessLanguages no matter what your disability, and no matter what the language.
Research Language Nuances
Understand what is involved with your language of interest.