Advancing disability rights and leadership globally®

The National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange (NCDE) is thrilled to present the 2024 cohort of the Access to Exchange Externship! Each of these promising individuals with disabilities has had such an impactful international exchange experience of their own that they have each devised their own project to educate their peers and communities about the exciting world of international education. Read on to learn about each of our externs and their projects.

Elizabeth Cappelli

After searching high and low for an exchange program that seemed like it had experience with students who are visually impaired, Lizzy found a match with a 3-week study abroad program in Spain through Southern Connecticut State University. She enjoyed the opportunity to take classes with other U.S. students in the mornings while exploring Salamanca in the afternoons. Professors and program planners actively worked with Lizzy to make sure that she had the necessary accommodations while learning a new city and taking academic coursework in Spanish.

For her externship project, Lizzy plans to create a travel guide for blind and low vision students to learn more about how to successfully study abroad in Spain.

Rachel Malone

Rachel spent two months studying at Dublin City University through the Council for International Educational Exchange (CIEE) in Ireland. Rachel has a physical disability and uses a wheelchair.

For her externship project, Rachel plans on putting together a series of podcasts in which she will interview individuals with disabilities about their experiences studying or volunteering abroad with the support of personal attendants.

Krzysztof Koziej

Krzysztof, who is hard of hearing, spent the academic year of 2022-2023 attending a U.S. high school in Waverly, Iowa. During his time in the United States, he logged more than 100 hours of volunteer time, and shared about the culture of his home country of Poland in numerous presentations.

For his externship project, Krzysztof intends to put together an online guide about scholarships and academic exchange programs available to all students including individuals with disabilities from around the world who are interested in studying in the United States.

McKenna Wirth

McKenna Wirth is wrapping up 10 months as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) in Osh, Kyrgyzstan. A recent college graduate with celiac disease, McKenna was drawn to Kyrgyzstan after completing the virtual Critical Language Scholarship Program in the summer of 2021.  As an ETA, she works with students at her host institution, Osh State University, and at the local American Corner.

For her externship project, McKenna will develop a guide to support other travelers with celiac disease who are interested in pursuing exchange programs in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan.

Learn more about McKenna

Michael Saravia

As a Peruvian public servant with visual impairment, Michael is committed to, in his words, “building an equitable, inclusive, and barrierless society.” Currently, Michael is pursuing a Master’s in Public Administration at the University of Georgia (UGA), having been awarded the first Fulbright scholarship directed towards professionals with disabilities in Peru.

For his externship project, Michael will present an information session for Peru’s disability community about international exchange and study opportunities in the United States, including an overview of resources for international students with disabilities and lessons from his own experience in the U.S.

Learn more about Michael

We at MIUSA/NCDE are eager to welcome our cohort of impressive and ambitious externs and believe their contributions will be of great value to the disability community and international exchange communities around the world!

Advancing disability rights and leadership globally®

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