Use these at-a-glance tips for going abroad with specific chronic health or systemic health conditions, such as chronic fatigue to environmental sensitivities and more. Don't forget to browse our resource library for more detailed advice on many of these topics!
We naturally work with a gender lens. Empowerment of women is integral to who we are and what we do. MIUSA's women's programs support the implementation of Article 6 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which promotes the full development, advancement, and empowerment of women with disabilities.
You can join us by taking action to empower women and girls globally. Read 5 Ways below or click on the Table of Contents (top right) for more.
Whatever your disability, know that it is possible to travel abroad to study, volunteer, intern, or explore your professional interests.
From health care coverage to stress-busters, prepare for issues that might arise when traveling with a chronic health condition.
"Being disabled doesn't mean I have to give up on my dreams," explains Emily Block, who studied abroad in over a dozen countries on the Semester at Sea program, all while managing a rare chronic health condition.
As a person with a chronic or acute health condition, also known as systemic disability, you have the right to apply for the same kinds of life-changing experiences overseas as everyone else!
Many best practices for including people with disabilities start with making sure funds are available for disability-related accommodations in the international exchange program.
“If I expect the program to fully include me, then I need to provide them with as much information as possible," says Betsy Valnes, who has a brain injury and has participated in several overseas programs. "In my experience, people are more understanding about my need to excuse myself for a while if they know my reasons for fatigue."
Check out funded programs that give you the chance to build incredible academic and professional skills!
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.
Help smooth the transition abroad for by implementing these inclusive ideas into the structure of a group exchange program. These tips, adapted from Autism Network International, can benefit exchange participants who are on the autism spectrum as well as those who are neurotypical.
Just as access is not perfect in the U.S., access won't be perfect when you are abroad. Laws similar to the U.S. may or may not exist in the countries you are considering for your international exchange experience. It is important to do your research and begin preparing for environmental and cultural differences in how disability is addressed in the country (or countries) you plan to visit. You might be surprised to find that some countries with less protective laws have very open and progressive attitudes toward people with disabilities.
Three ways you can help make a smooth transition into your international exchange experience are disclosing your disability, being your own advocate, and determining disability accommodations for access.
Available to tour national and international galleries and cultural spaces, the Brilliant & Resilient exhibition is an opportunity to bring together women leaders with and without disabilities, government officials, NGO development actors and other agents of social change.
Americans with disabilities are becoming international explorers through exchange opportunities that include both people with and without disabilities. All U.S.-based international exchange organizations are required to make their programs inclusive of people with disabilities.
Focus on programs that best fit your interests, academic goals, and professional aspirations. These include academic study abroad programs, fellowships, professional development programs, internships, and volunteer opportunities abroad.
Let's get started by building a list of potential expenses you may have when participating in an international exchange experience. From general fees to disability-related expenses. These expenses might be paid for in a number of ways, including through your own expenses, a school, an exchange program, vocational rehabilitation funding, scholarships, and more.