People with Disabilities #AccessLanguages Abroad

[Image: colorful illustration of five seated individuals immersed in reading language books or conversation. One figure reads from a book labeled "English." Another has a white cane folded at his feet and accesses his text via a tablet with headphones. A couple read from an ASL book and sign with each other. The last person is seated in a wheelchair and reads from a book labeled "Arabic." The backdrop is a world map illustration. #ACCESSLANGUAGES (hashtag Access Languages) is below, with MIUSA and US State
Time to cultivate creativity, cross-cultural understanding, and career readiness. Time to #AccessLanguages!

The NCDE, a project sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and administered by MIUSA, launched a campaign to encourage more people with disabilities to learn and teach a foreign language abroad, including English as a Second or Foreign Language (ESL/EFL)! We have some great resources to share from that campaign initiative, and we hope that you will continue to promote and share the message of #AccessLanguages for people with and without disabilities.

One of the greatest parts of international exchange is learning another language, and for many people with disabilities, language learning can present unique challenges and opportunities. That is why in 2017 we collected and shared stories, insights and good practices from both teachers and students so that we all could #AccessLanguages abroad. 

What We accomplished?

  • Shared foreign language exchange opportunities, including those sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA)
  • Developed tip sheets, good practices and success stories related to learning and teaching foreign languages abroad including English as a Second or Foreign Language (ESL/EFL)
  • Presented and Promoted #AccessLanguages at the annual TESOL conference, University of Oregon American English Institute (AEI), and annual Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) conference
  • Published an A World Awaits You (AWAY) journal focused on foreign language learning and teaching abroad with a disability

What Can You Do?

NCDE cannot make this happen alone. We count on the knowledge and expertise of people like you to make our projects succeed. Ways that you can help us make this happen include:

  • Share your story of learning or teaching a foreign language abroad with a disability
  • Share your good practice of including students with disabilities in your foreign language exchange program
  • Connect us with a student with a disability who participated in a foreign language exchange program
  • Tell your story in a blog or at a gathering and let us know about it on social media using the hashtag #AccessLanguages
  • Like #AccessLanguages to keep up with all the upcoming resources and follow the engagement on the twubs  #AccessLanguages social media account!
  • Post to twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others about #AccessLanguages, so that your networks can learn about available resources.

Post it!

clearinghouse [at] (subject: %23AccessLanguages%20poster%20request) (E-mail us to request an #AccessLanguages poster to hang in your office!)

Continue the impact on social media and share the message!

Sample Tweets:

Sample Facebook Posts:

  • #AccessLanguages promotes the inclusion of people with disabilities to learn and teach a foreign language abroad! Share the possibilities! 
  • #AccessLanguages abroad creates access to opportunities for all including people with disabilities! 
  • Share a quick story about a #AccessLanguages experience abroad as a student or teacher with a photo.
  • Learning/Teaching ___________ in ______________ was just the beginning for me, which is why I think that #LanguageMatters. Check out the resources that Mobility International USA is creating for people with disabilities to #AccessLanguages.

We know from personal experience that participating in a foreign language program abroad with a disability is absolutely possible and that it can bring tremendous benefits, and that's why we want more people to #AccessLanguages.

Contact our clearinghouse [at] (subject: %23AccessLanguages) (Clearinghouse Team) to learn more and access the new resources below!