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 a unique exhibition featuring a collection of photographs and personal stories of women with different types of disabilities, all alumni of Mobility International USA’s Women’s Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD). Their powerful portraits and vignettes illustrate the issues that significantly impact their lives, including access to education, employment, political power, reproductive health services, and HIV/AIDS and violence prevention.
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.
"How can I afford to go abroad?” is likely a big question on your mind. While MIUSA does not directly provide financial resources for international exchange, we can point you in the right direction. To get started, think about the international exchange opportunities you are most interested in.
Women and girls with disabilities face double discrimination based on disability and gender. They are more likely to experience violence, abuse, and poor health than men with disabilities. They are less likely to have opportunities for education and employment, or access to critical services such as disaster aid or HIV&AIDS prevention programs.
If women and girls with disabilities are so vulnerable to human rights violations, why, then, are so many of them being excluded from the life-saving and life-enhancing development programs that exist in their communities?
Youth with disabilities are amongst the most marginalized and poorest of all the world’s youth. They commonly face more discrimination and severe social, economic, and civic disparities as compared with those without disabilities, especially in developing countries.
Yet, youth programs seldom address issues of youth with disabilities, much less include them into activities.
Disability inclusion in all phases of emergency response and preparedness is crucial, from disaster risk reduction preparedness, prevention and mitigation to disaster relief, rehabilitation and recovery. Utilize the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) to ensure international cooperation provides accessible and inclusive humanitarian responses.
Will you be welcoming an autistic exchange student or participant on your program for the first time? Great! Brush up on your understanding of neurological differences, respectful language and related lingo so you can advise your participant with confidence.
Have you ever felt like an anthropologist, having to figure out the social habits of those around you? Have you ever had to find new ways to communicate with other people, or had to interpret the slang or figures of speech used by other people? These can be common experiences for people on the autism spectrum, but they are also very common experiences for international exchange travelers! Why not be both?
People with disabilities in developing countries often represent the poorest of the poor, yet they are typically overlooked in the development agenda. Poverty reduction strategies must include people with disabilities to achieve development goals.
Economic development programs such as microfinance have revolutionized efforts to fight poverty by providing financial services to people previously conceived as dependent on charity. Such financial services have empowered and enabled people, particularly women, to take control of their lives and contribute to their societies.
The world needs all its citizens involved.
We are a springboard for leaders with disabilities to make a positive impact on a local level, empowered by their connections with the global community.
Building inclusive, vibrant democracies depends on the active engagement of all citizens in public life. People with disabilities represent approximately 15% of the population, a large constituency base in every country, yet decision-makers and policy-makers in government have historically been unresponsive to their needs.
Through involvement in political activity, law and policy reform, disabled people and their organizations can influence improvements in the areas of health, rehabilitation, education, employment, and access to goods and services.
At a conference for international educators I presented with two engaging college students who use wheelchairs. One studied in China and the other went to Spain, with the same very reputable study abroad provider.
Each student had a great experience, but both had also been discouraged in their original attempts to study abroad through other program providers. Too often, the initial desire to go abroad ends prematurely for students with disabilities because of discouraging experiences that result in them giving up the search.
Get to know one of MIUSA's partners for a SportsUnited Exchange program in Armenia. Founded to provide relief to children with disabilities following a major earthquake, the Armenian Association for the Disabled (Pyunic) has since grown to empower people with disabilities to be involved in culture. MIUSA talked to Mr. Hakob Abrahamyan, Pyunic's president to find out how sports and recreation play a role in disability rights in Armenia.