Advancing disability rights and leadership globally®

A World Awaits You – Disability Inclusion and International Exchange: A Primer for Exchange Professionals

Cover Image of A World Awaits You: People with Disabilities Expand the Definition of International Exchange

Introducing AWAY Topics – Disability Inclusion and International Exchange: A Primer for Exchange Professionals

Cover Image of A World Awaits You: People with Disabilities Expand the Definition of International Exchange

Welcome to this release of AWAY Topics! Explore this issue and find highly practical, actionable recommendations for international education professionals. This Primer for Exchange Professionals provides foundational material that acts as both an introduction for those new to the field and a refresher for those looking to stay up to date on recommended practice. Are you interested in advocating for disability inclusion in programming? Looking for best practice on recruiting or advising disabled participants? Have questions about the disability related language or cultural conceptions of disability? This edition of AWAY Topics is for you. Ultimately, it is a unique, user ready resource that explores timely subjects related to disability inclusion in the field.

You have 3 options for reading this resource (downloads available to the right).

  • Download a PDF.
  • Download a Plain Text version.
  • Request a print copy at no charge by reaching out to us.


A Sneak Peek Inside the Issue…

Disability is Diversity

When it comes to implementing international exchange programs, are you linking disability with diversity? More than ever, people with disabilities are advancing their professional and personal goals by taking advantage of the same opportunities as non-disabled people – and that includes the broad range of experiences offered through international exchange.

Disability is an aspect of human diversity, representing the world’s largest minority. And yet not only are people with disabilities underrepresented in many sectors of society (including international exchange), they are often underrepresented in the very efforts that specifically seek to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. Let’s face it: DEI without disability is not DEI. It’s equally important to recognize that disability may be but one of many facets of a person’s identity, intersecting with identities related to nationality, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation, cultural heritage, religion and more.

The best practices included in this issue of AWAY Topics are for international exchange professionals to encourage people with disabilities to take part in international exchange and to have successful experiences abroad.

This issue explores topics such as disability language, how to create cultures of inclusion, the basics of accessibility, disability disclosure, the legal aspects of disability, and more. It also mentions elements of the exchange program lifecycle such as recruitment, selection, orientation, being on assignment, monitoring, etc., as they pertain to people with disabilities. Treat this guide as a starting point in your own exploration in the field. It is not meant to provide comprehensive legal instruction or information. Rather, it offers foundational information paired with supplemental, embedded resources. Readers are encouraged to continue the conversation well beyond these pages.

As a project of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), we at the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange are committed to upholding the ECA Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Statement which embraces disability identity as diversity.

By actively including disabled people in diversity initiatives, international exchange and education abroad professionals can offer these life-changing experiences to a broader population, and perhaps even build pathways for people with disabilities to seek international exchange careers for themselves. The world needs all its citizens involved.

    Tip Sheet

    Personal Stories

    Best Practices

    Books and Journals


    Videos and Webinars

    Sign up for our E-News

    Advancing disability rights and leadership globally®

    Also Search our NCDE Web Resource Library

    Contact Us