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"American school is so neat," signs Belvion, a Deaf exchange student from Mozambique who communicates using sign language. "They've got libraries and computers and the teachers are great. I'm loving it."
Belvion is one of the many high school students with disabilities who come to the United States every year to live and study on an exchange program. Are you ready to be an exchange student too?
What motivates YOU to learn English? Whether it's to get a better job or to meet people around the world, take the first step to reach your goal. Join an English as a Second Language (ESL) program in the U.S. or online.
Visa fees, airfare, health insurance, tuition, test fees, housing... International exchange expenses to the U.S. can add up quickly! Are you prepared?
Find opportunities to study, learn, and grow professionally in the U.S., whatever your disability. Your options are endless. As a person with a disability, you have the same right as everyone else to gain professional experience, study at a college or high school, learn English, or volunteer in the U.S.
If you come to the U.S. on a professional program, internship, or cultural exchange, you will need to find resources and services in your U.S. host community that can meet your disability-related needs. International students, scholars and teachers can access disability services at their U.S. school but will sometimes need to find community resources, too.
In recent U.S. history, disability rights activists have fought to ensure that every person with a disability may have the opportunity to live up to his or her full potential. While you are in the U.S., you will benefit from the same disability rights possessed by U.S. citizens with disabilities, and you will also be expected to fulfill certain responsibilities.
On any campus, you are likely to find students, staff, and faculty with disabilities studying, working, and teaching alongside people without disabilities. Imagine yourself among them, then begin your path to U.S. study today!
I am 17 years old and an ASSE YES Exchange student from Karachi, Pakistan. I was very excited to get the opportunity to come to the United States of America. This was something that I prayed for and it was like a dream come true.
I am visually impaired and have had very little vision my entire life. In Pakistan, where I attended a school for the blind, there are many challenges and few opportunities for blind people. I’ve learned the opposite is true here in the U.S. What I’ve learned here [in the US] is more than I could possibly write about in a few short paragraphs.
A neighbor once told to my mom that there was no space for people with disabilities after graduation, that I should stay home to learn sewing, embroidering, or doing housework.
Handiwork and household jobs were popular for girls with disabilities in the 1990s, and I recognized many people with disabilities in general stopped their education because of discrimination. I tried to convince my parents to give me an opportunity to study further and expressed my expectation to live independently. It took me long time to get an approval from my parents.
Like many other people with disabilities, I struggle with the issue of disclosure. Legally, I’m not required to disclose that I am Deaf unless I plan to ask for accommodations. At the same time, I’ve learned that I need to disclose my disability at some point in the process of applying for an international exchange program, school, or job in order to be successful. I can’t hide my disability, and nor should I feel I have to.