As I near the end of my fall internship with MIUSA, I am filled with gratitude for the wonderful opportunity to support this amazing organization, championing in international development and exchange while fostering leadership among people with disabilities.
For years, the annual Open Doors survey has provided a snapshot of the participation of college students with disabilities and other diverse identities in U.S. study abroad programs. Now a survey from Diversity Abroad is adding to the picture of how diversity is represented in education abroad by inviting international educators to self-identify.
"Travel has been haulted due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak."
"This conference has been cancelled due to the global pandemic."
These were common headlines staff were seeing across all sectors. These were also headlines not only event-goers were monitoring, but also event planners, such as ourselves for our originally planned Joining Hands Symposium in Washington, DC for July 2020.
And the questions began:
"Do we cancel, postpone, or turn our onsite event into a virtual event?"
Myth 1: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) only applies to Americans.
FACT: The ADA is a territory based law, which covers everybody who happens to be on U.S. soil. Citizenship does not matter.
That’s because international experience can lead to growth in personal areas like empathy, cultural competence and acceptance of difference that can transfer to the workplace. It can also result in the growth of skills directly related to employment like teamwork, problem-solving and creativity.
Here are some of the many ways that studying or volunteering abroad can give you an edge on your next job application, and prepare you for a more meaningful career.
In new cultural contexts, you may find that how local people perceive you is different from how you're perceived at home and even from how you perceive yourself. Certain aspects of your identity may be more "visible" or stand out more than others. This could be positive, negative, or neutral. Flattering or frustrating. You might find that the aspects of your identity that are most salient to you - perhaps race, cultural heritage, or disability - seem to be overshadowed by your nationality or perceived wealth:
It may not necessarily take a global pandemic to make travel impossible or infeasible for some of us. Let's face it. Sometimes finances, work, family, homework or health concerns can make traveling difficult. Yet you don't need to travel to experience the world. Try putting into practice these tips for staying globally engaged from home.
The first time I visited the MIUSA website and found resources from the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange (NCDE), my first thought was: I wish I knew about this organization when I was preparing to study away! Little did I know that I would soon be invited to present with the NCDE on my experience and takeaways at the 2019 Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) Conference.
We were a group of 15 teenagers and young adults with disabilities, five student assistants, and two adults from the USSR's State Committee on Physical Culture and Sports and Adventure Club.
The invitation came from Mobility International USA and passed to Adventure Club, as there were no organizations or associations at the time to represent people with disabilities in the USSR. CEO of Adventure Club Dmitry Shparo found and put together a mixed group from different Soviet republics.
If you know your black disability history, you may know the name Don Galloway.
I didn't. At least not until the most recent Ed Roberts Day.