Advancing disability rights and leadership globally®

An Overview of Partnerships

As with any aspect of implementing an education abroad program, partnerships move things forward. Partnerships can take a variety of shapes. In this article we overview how partnerships can enable you to support participants with disabilities to study, volunteer or intern abroad.

How to Partner

Partners can enable you to more effectively support exchange participants with disabilities on your programs. They can also assist before a participant leaves the United States, by sharing accessibility information on the host community that can make your advising more effective.

Who can I partner with?

Consider the following as essential resources to partner with.

A disability resource Center. 

A common fixture in universities in the United States, and increasingly present in colleges abroad, disability resource centers provide services to students with all types of disabilities to enable them to access campus life. A DRC can provide a variety of services including:

  • Sign language interpreting
  • Communication access real-time translation CART
  • Alternative media
  • Exam accommodations such as extra time or a distraction free environment

Don’t forget that the host community may have a DRC in addition to the one on your campus. A DRC can support in other ways such as:

  • Sharing program promotional materials with students
  • Educating your staff on working with participants with disabilities
  • Advising on disability related issues like medications, service animals or personal assistant services
  • Reaching out to students who may need reasonable accommodations on your programs

A counseling center.

Counseling centers can also provide a variety of support for students with learning and mental health disabilities including:

  • Advice on traveling with and obtaining medications abroad
  • Educating students on mental health abroad
  • Following up with students who may require a treatment plan while abroad
  • Identifying mental health resources such as online counseling services

A disabled people’s organization in the host community.

Disabled people’s organizations or DPOs provide services and advocacy in communities around the world. They may be led by people with disabilities. Because of their unique spot in society, DPO’s may be familiar with community resources and strategies from which program participants could benefit. DPO’s can:

  • Identify local places to obtain counseling, medications, alternative media services and more
  • Share information about accessibility in the host community
  • Connect program participants with peers who could educate them on the culture and provide guidance
  • Offer opportunities for participants to volunteer or intern

DPO’s can be found through a variety of places including

  • Online
  • Through Mobility International USA
  • Through local contacts

An education abroad Consortium.

You may already be familiar with third-party program providers, or education abroad consortia, which provide a wider array of education abroad offerings to students. Often times universities rely on these organizations for the unique expertise and scale that they bring to international education. Sometimes they may also serve as great resources to provide more support to program participants with disabilities. You can access other articles on our website to read about the ways that education abroad consortia have accommodated participants with disabilities.

The center in the host community.

Many international education programs will already be able to count on staff in the host center. The staff can play a valuable role in supporting students with disabilities, even before their arrival to the host country. They can:

  • Provide accessibility information on public spaces in the local host community
  • Support with locating accessible housing options
  • Advise on accessible transportation options
  • Liaise with other local resources like DRC’s and DPO’s

Next Steps

Review the next article in the pathway to understand different cultures around disability and to develop strategies for communicating your institutional values and policies around disability to partners.

This article is part of the International Education Professional Pathway.

Previous: Accessibility Tips for Zoom and Other Virtual Programs

Next: Dealing with Doubts

    Advancing disability rights and leadership globally®

    Also Search our NCDE Web Resource Library

    Contact Us