2020 Data on Disability Diversity in International Education

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.

Zoom screenshot of 6 participants; most are in their 20s

Creating Community in a Virtual Space

"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?"

Study Abroad and Land a Job

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.

Cartoon-like illustration of five individuals seated in chairs or wheelchairs reading books labeled with different languages

What International Exchange Can Teach Us About Identity: 14 Disabled Travelers Reflect on Their Experiences Abroad

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:

Two side by side images of Johileny in the entrance of a red phone booth; in one photo she uses a cane; in the other, she uses a wheelchair

4 Takeaways from my Study Abroad Experience for Exchange Professionals

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.

Grainy group photo of 20+ young men and women gathered, wearing 80s/90s-era clothing.

The Adventure Club: Still Adventuring 30 Years Later

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.