Access to Exchange Summer 2020 Externs

Get to know the first cohort of the NCDE Access to Exchange Externship, learn about their creative and engaging outreach activities and access their final projects!

We are happy to announce the completion of the first Access to Exchange Externship for Summer 2020. These Externs each worked on their own projects including a video series, Zoom interviews, blog series, and a resource guide for students with disabilities.

Read more about our Access to Exchange Externship opportunities for both Inbound Alumni of an exchange program from another country to the U.S. and Outbound Alumni of an exchange program from the U.S. to country abroad. 

Access to Exchange Externs

Nadia smiling broadly against a gray background. I am a Caucasian female with medium-length brown curly hair worn down and brown eyes. I have clear rectangle glasses. I am wearing a black sweater with black and white polka dots on it.

Nadia Bon (She/Her/Hers)

About: “I believe it is important to create a community of those of us who have had the opportunity to travel to encourage others to be less fearful and more adventurous when considering travel opportunities.”

Nadia Bon is a recent graduate of Cornell University, College of Arts and Sciences. She received her BA with Distinction in All Subjects as a History major with a minor in Science and Technology studies. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. As a person living with cerebral palsy, Nadia is interested in what determines a person to be considered ‘of worth’ by society, especially people with disabilities, and how this determination translates into policies and legislation that impact attitudes. 

Nadia spent her Junior year abroad at Oxford University studying British disability history from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries, including Mental Disabilities and Asylums 1870-1930, and War and Attitudes toward Disability in the twentieth century. She has visited over a dozen countries in Europe, Canada, the Caribbean, and many states across the US.

For her project, Nadia put together a Blog series to share personal experiences during travels abroad and future plans of pursuing a Masters in Disability History at Oxford University. The blog series included tips on travel, succeeding academically, socially, and personally as a student with a disability. Though Nadia aimed her blog at supporting people with physical disabilities, she hoped her experiences help people with other disabilities as well. Read Nadia's blog.


African American woman in 20s with dark curly hair smiling with a black and white striped long sleeve shirt posing against a white column with brick wall and windows in the background.

Bobbi-Angelica Morris (She/Her/Hers)

About: “My name is Bobbi-Angelica Morris and I am an uprising 3rd-year undergraduate at the University of Virginia. I am an African American, Indigenous, and disabled (hard of hearing) student majoring in Urban and Environmental Planning and Global Development Studies with a minor in American Sign Language. My overall focus is to create a more inclusive and accessible society for disabled people.”

Bobbi-Angelica studied abroad in New Delhi, India as an intern for the Javed Abidi Foundation which is a nonprofit disability organization focused on the accessibility and inclusion of all disabled people. The goal of the trip was to learn how much the average person actually knew about disability access. She had a second internship with an urban planning organization that focused on making cities safer for children and other members of the community. While abroad Bobbi-Angelica also volunteered at a children's school for disability teaching deaf kids math and English.

Project: Bobbi filmed a video interview series to promote the benefits of international exchange to people with disabilities. She brought on a diverse group of international exchange alumni with different disabilities. Her goal was to discuss the overall experiences of her guests, including both positive and negative feelings, resources they came across, and advice for a disabled person interested in studying abroad. Watch Bobbi's video series.


Johna, a white female with red hair, sits on a concrete staircase and smiles. She wears a blue dress with pink flowers and a black choker necklace.

Johna Wright (She/Her/Hers)

About:  “As a disabled person who has been fortunate enough to experience multiple exchanges, I have seen firsthand how international exchanges can drastically boost confidence, improve mobility and self-advocacy skills, and allow for self-exploration that may not be possible at your home university.” 

Johna has participated in a number of international exchange opportunities. She was a service scholar volunteer in Cape Town, South Africa focusing on small business development and entrepreneurial education programs, then studied abroad as a Gilman Scholar at Linnéuniversitetet in Kalmar, Sweden, and as a Global Leader Scholar in Colchester, United Kingdom. Most recently, Johna was awarded a Fulbright Student Fellowship to pursue her studies at Tampere University in Tampere, Finland to study Comparative Social Policy and Welfare, in the hopes of working for an international disability-focused nonprofit.

Project: Johna organized a  webinar to empower students with disabilities to participate in study abroad. She partnered with disability advocacy organizations, and disabled student groups to locate a group of disabled exchange alumni with different experiences abroad. Follow-up advising sessions covered students with disabilities' interests, concerns, and goals to participate in international exchange and provide them with targeted resources. Access a transcript of the student panel.

Sheila Xu (She/Her/Hers)

About: "When I was a deaf student in college, I struggled to find information on accessibility and opportunities available to me in the countries I would be working and living in. I spent countless hours searching all over Google, outreaching to multiple people, and most importantly, finding funding sources to cover my accommodations, living expenses, and medical needs in a foreign country, where disability laws might not be favorable or non-existent.” 

Sheila’s International exchange experience started when she was a sophomore at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) after receiving a fellowship to research in England for the summer. The research was focused on deaf entrepreneurs in the UK and Europe and developed into her senior thesis research on the “deaf economy” - to examine, observe, and outline the traits and characteristics of the “deaf economy” in the U.S. and Europe.

After graduation, she was awarded the InterExchange’s Christianson Grant to teach American Sign Language and Deaf Culture at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice in Italy. Shortly after the grant ended, Sheila was awarded a Fulbright Study/Research grant to expand her work on the “deaf economy” to Italy and its deaf entrepreneurs.

Project: Sheila compiled a resource guide for people with disabilities, including the deaf students, about finding international exchange opportunities, and resources for reasonable accommodation and accessibility in Italy. She covered a variety of topics such as the benefits of going abroad, navigating bureaucracy, disability rights  in Italy, access to healthcare, financial resources available, how to find locals with disabilities, and how Italians generally view people with disabilities. Get a copy of Sheila's Italy access guide.

Read more about our Access to Exchange Externship opportunities for both Inbound Alumni of an exchange program from another country to the U.S. and Outbound Alumni of an exchange program from the U.S. to country abroad. 

Subscribe to the Access to Exchange Newsletter if you would like to be notified about your chance to be a part of the next cohort.

The National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange (NCDE) 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 (MIUSA).