"I have seen many posts online highlighting why studying abroad can be an enriching opportunity for anyone," writes Emely Recinos, author of the blog Thinking Disability Overseas, "but I want this post to be specifically about why people with disabilities have so much to gain from studying abroad."
First, a bit of background: Emely is a recent graduate of New York University where she received her BA in International Relations with a minor in Peace and Conflict Studies. In 2018, she studied abroad in Argentina and was a recipient of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. While in Argentina, Emely expanded her knowledge both on Inter-American relations and on the rights of people with disabilities in Latin America. As a blind traveler, she also made several observations about studying abroad with a disability that she wanted to share with prospective study abroad participants with disabilities, encouraging them to pursue international exchange but also prepare for it. She applied for MIUSA's "Access to Exchange" externship to get her blog idea off the ground.
In her recent post, "Why You Should Really Consider Going Abroad," Emely makes a strong case for why a student with a disability should take the leap to study abroad, enumerating several solid reasons ranging from connecting with overseas disability communities to honing one's ability to acclimate to any situation. In honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), we're highlighting an excerpt of this post which discusses how international exchange can also unlock employment-related perks:
"If you study abroad with a program, such as the Gilman Program, you will gain access to a large network of other program alums who may be working in international affairs or some other related field. Having access to these alums can help you build a network of professional connections simply by having participated in a study abroad program. This can be especially beneficial if you already know you want to work in the international space.
"With a study abroad experience you can also demonstrate to potential employers that you have the cultural and linguistic competencies to interact with individuals of varying backgrounds and nationalities, which can be further enhanced if you completed an internship or volunteered at a local organization while you were abroad.
"Given that in the U.S. the employment of disabled people lags significantly behind the non-disabled, I think being able to add the completion of an international program on your resume can help boost your applications for employment."
Read Emely's blog, Thinking Disability Overseas.
Learn more about the Gilman International Scholarship.
The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.