Promoting Access to Work, Internship, and Volunteer Abroad (WIVA) Programs

People with disabilities adventure beyond study abroad!

The image of international exchange is broadening to encompass opportunities for students and educators and people outside the academic world as well to gain valuable exposure to international exchange and citizen diplomacy while developing their leadership, cultural competency, or professional expertise.

Through an initiative of the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange (NCDE), we celebrate and encourage people with disabilities of all ages who participate in international experiential exchange. By offering tips, stories, and resources to those seeking an experience abroad or who may not even know that it is possible, the NCDE shows how to get started.

In addition, the NCDE looks forward to also connecting with experiential exchange programs to share practices for planning for inclusion for people with all types of disabilities in these unique programs across various geographic regions. 

Join the NCDE in making sure that participants with disabilities have equal opportunities. 

“While these experiences have shaped my identity and character, I am aware that many students with disabilities do not know that volunteer programs can be made inclusive and accessible to them. I need to equip the next generation of students from this underrepresented population with resources to explore and contribute fully to our world.” 

- Antonia DeMichiel, Alumni with Jesuit Volunteer Corps

Who?

  • People with disabilities, including athletes, artists, teens, young adults, recent graduates, professionals, community members, and retirees
  • Institutions, organizations, and agencies providing overseas experiential opportunities

What is Experiential?

“Experiential” international exchange refers to most person-to-person intercultural programs other than study abroad and can include:

  • Volunteerism
  • Foreign language teaching
  • Internships or temporary work
  • Cultural/arts exchanges
  • International visitor programs
  • Sports exchanges
  • Professional development and training
  • Youth leadership programs
  • More!

"I relied solely on my interactions with the Spanish people for the true learning that took place during my year in Spain. I know now what experiential education means, and without this piece to the puzzle, I would never have become fluent in written and spoken Spanish."

- Kristin Hoobler Morgan, Alumni of Spanish immersion program

Get Involved

  • Are you a person with a disability who has participated in an internship, volunteer or teaching experience abroad? clearinghouse [at] miusa.org (subject: Experiential%20Exchange%20stories) (Tell us your story to be featured in a number of various platforms. )
  • Are you an exchange professional who made international exchange possible for a participant with a disability? clearinghouse [at] miusa.org (subject: Experiential%20exchange%20best%20practice) (Share your best practices!)
  • Share on social media! Post your story, photos, or videos volunteering, interning, teaching, performing, or other experiential exchanges internationally using the hashtag: #AccessExchange
  • Consider participating in noncredit experiential education overseas to boost your resume and share your skills with an amazing project abroad.
  • Exchange professionals, share your overseas opportunities with the disability community.
  • Sign up for the NCDE “Access to Exchange” e-news to stay tuned for all upcoming resources and events. 

Upcoming Activities:

  • Publication: A World Awaits You (AWAY) journal, Experiential Exchange Programs issue
  • Workshop Series: “Planning for Inclusion” - online sessions for exchange program professionals
  • Video: “Broad Stories Abroad”
  • Event: Experiential Exchange Alumni Talent Showcase
  • Additional webinars

Follow this page or sign up for our Access to Exchange e-news to receive updates about the activities listed above.

Useful Links:

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.