Advancing disability rights and leadership globally®

The Evolution of Study Abroad Programs


To achieve greater student diversity in education abroad, faculty-led initiatives and oveseas preparations can make a difference.

We had a full room of attendees on Friday, November 18, 2016 at 10:30 – 11:45 am to discuss growing trends in education abroad to attract a greater number and diversity of students, including those with disabilities. These trends focus on making education abroad interesting, and of interest to, traditionally underrepresented groups, and by targeting these diverse groups and including faculty/staff in the planning, it results in more participation.

This session looked at examples of CIEE programs and university-based efforts, presented by Mobility International USA, CIEE Director of Student Services in Seville, Spain, and a study abroad alumna from Arizona State University, who has a disability and did a faculty-led program to Seville. 

When institutional initiatives promise all undergraduate students an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in their chosen field before they graduate, it’s an opportunity to create something inclusive in study abroad. Rather than making exceptions for students with disabilities, it is a call to action to think about accessibility from the start in recruitment, technology, and program design with faculty leaders. For students with disabilities to progress in a wide spectrum of career fields, they need to have opportunities to add a global component to their learning. 

Presenters focused on how they prepared through on-site collaborations, and adjusted for programmatic, language, and environmental conditions in the host community to create an experience that facilitated learning and inclusion.

Download the PPT below.

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The National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange is a project of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, designed to increase the participation of people with disabilities in international exchange between the United States and other countries, and is supported in its implementation by Mobility International USA.

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