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Webinar: International Exchange Programs For High School Students With Disabilities



You don’t have to wait until college to begin your international education!

There are a variety of international education opportunities, sponsored by organizations like the U.S. Department of State, specifically available to students in high school. You could spend a few weeks learning about civic participation in South America or up to a year attending high school in Germany.

Watch the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange (NCDE) on this webinar about the many options open to you! Presenters include NCDE staff, a representative from the Youth Programs Division of the Department Of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and exchange program alumni. The discussion is followed by a session of Q&A.

  • What: Learn about high school study abroad opportunities and hear personal stories from those who have experienced it.
  • Where: Online via Zoom.
  • When: Thursday September 22 from 3 PM to 4 PM Pacific (Los Angeles) or 6 PM to 7 PM Eastern (New York)


Watch the webinar on YouTube!


Meet the Presenters

Antonia DeMichiel

Antonia DeMichiel currently serves as a Disability Specialist in the Student Disability Services office at the University of San Francisco, where she also earned her Master’s in Higher Education and Student Affairs. Her professional practice is deeply informed by her lived experience as a woman with a physical disability and the principles of the social model of disability. After earning her Bachelor’s degree in International Studies from the University of Oregon, Antonia joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and completed two years of service in Santiago, Chile, where she worked at Jesuit Migrant Services as a Volunteer Coordinator. 

Antonia has been volunteering and studying abroad since she was 16 years-old, having navigated accessibility challenges in 12 countries thus far. Outside of work, Antonia is involved in adaptive CrossFit and serves on the Northern California Junior Board of the Challenged Athletes Foundation, 

Britta S. Bjornlund

Britta Bjornlund is Chief of the Youth Programs Division at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).  As the Youth Programs Division Chief, Britta currently oversees programs for more than 4,500 youth including the Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) and the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study programs (YES), among others.  Prior to acquiring this position in November 2018, Britta was the Study of the U.S. Branch Chief for ten years where she created and oversaw the Mandela Washington Fellowship (YALI) and the YSEALI Academic Fellowship. Before joining the Department of State in 2009, Britta was the Executive Director of the International Women’s Forum Leadership Foundation from 2006 to 2008.  Prior to that, she worked at the Open World Leadership Center of the Library of Congress where she directed high-level exchange programs for leaders from Russia and other Eurasian countries.  Her background also includes managing development and technical assistance programs in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Russia.  

Britta authored four books on the Cold War and the Russian Revolution for middle school students.  She holds a master’s degree in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a bachelor’s degree in Russian from Williams College. 

Justin Harford

Justin (he/him/his) is a Program Coordinator with the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange, working to increase the participation of people with disabilities in international exchange by providing information and resources to both individuals with disabilities and international professionals.  Previously, Justin worked for two years in disability community organizing and policy in the foothills of Northern California. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Latin American History and Spanish Literature from University of California, Berkeley. He studied abroad at the Pontifical Catholic University in Santiago, Chile, where he researched and wrote a thesis on the history of the blind in Chilean society. In 2008, he spent 10 weeks immersing himself in the culture and language of Michoacan, Mexico.

Michelle She 

Michelle caught the travel bug in 2012 as a high schooler in the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Program. While her parents were wary of her traveling alone with cerebral palsy and a visual impairment, everything turned out better than expected. She later went on to serve as an English Teaching Assistant in Taiwan through the Fulbright Program and has been traveling abroad every summer since then. 

During the school year, Michelle is a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments. She holds a M.Ed. from Vanderbilt University and has a background in Child Studies and Second Language Studies. When Michelle isn’t traveling or in school, she can be found reading, writing, or learning languages. She dreams of living in a barrier-free world one day, but even if not, that won’t stop her from exploring! 

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Justin Harford

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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