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Deaf International Exchange Opportunities

Two young women are signing to each other while smiling.
Two young women are signing to each other while smiling.

Looking for an international experience that focuses on Deaf culture and/or sign language? Check out the organizations and programs below!

As a deaf or hard of hearing person, you have the right to apply for and participate in any type of international exchange program for which you are otherwise eligible, so look for those which match your interests and goals! International exchange program providers and universities have worked with many participants to arrange sign language interpreters abroad, real-time captioning, CART and other forms of communication access.

If you are specifically interested in international programs that are focused on Deaf culture or designed for the Deaf community, read on for some examples and resources. If you don’t find an opportunity here that fits your interests, pave a new path and reach out to other international organizations, schools and programs that are involved in the deaf or hard of hearing communities.

Organizations to Contact

Discovering Deaf Worlds
Discovering Deaf Worlds works with signing Deaf communities in developing countries such as the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, and more.

Gallaudet University Education Abroad
This office organizes international study opportunities for Gallaudet students, faculty, staff, and others interested in international study tours. Learn more about their education abroad programs in countries like Spain and England; global internships; Fulbright programs and more.

Siena School for Liberal Arts, Deaf Studies Department
The Siena School for Liberal Arts Deaf Studies Department has worked with Italian and American Deaf and signing communities to allow ASL users access to transnational Deaf and signing communities through learning Italian Sign Language (LIS), and Italian Deaf Culture & History.

Programs to Explore

Ashanti School for the Deaf (Ghana)
The Ashanti School for the Deaf periodically looks for volunteers to be teachers’ assistants in their classrooms for three weeks or longer. Volunteers may help coordinate extra-curricular programs, or teach academic subjects.

Deaf Culture, History, and Sign Language in France
This three-week opportunity, led by the University of Rochester’s ASL program, gives ASL users an opportunity to learn French Sign Language and French Deaf Culture in a formal setting and further their understanding of the international Deaf World.

Every year, Frontrunners offers young Deaf people from around the world a one-year program to develop their skills and potential. Teachers offer courses in Deaf Studies, Deaf Art, Deaf History, Deaf Education and Sports Education. Media internship opportunities may also be available. Frontrunners receives funding from the Danish government and is partly financed by the student course fee.

Fulbright Grant in Deafness (Italy)
This scholarship allows a graduate student to conduct research, to teach, and/or collaborate on new projects in deafness-related fields in Italy. Fluency in American Sign Language (ASL) is required.

Gallaudet University Exchange Visitor Program
The purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges. Gallaudet University works with the U.S. Department of State to support international Research Scholars, Short-Term Scholars, Specialists, and Students.

Global Explorers Leading the Way Program
The Global Explorers Leading the Way program unites students with and without disabilities, including deaf and hard of hearing students, on incredible adventures around the world. Participants gain skills as leaders who focus on building a shared vision, encouraging independence and teamwork, learning from mistakes, questioning assumptions, promoting trust and embracing adversity.

Siena School for Liberal Arts – Summer Deaf Studies Program
Two- to three-week summer programs for signers, adult professionals and graduate students to gain exposure to a Deaf-World that expands beyond America, including Italian Sign Language and Italian Deaf Culture.

Taglit-Birthright Israel: ASL
The Taglit-Birthright: Hillel trip is open to deaf, hard of hearing, children of deaf adults (CODA), ASL students, and interpreters-in-training. Conducted in ASL and English with ASL interpreter support, meet other students as you explore Israel and spend time with Israelis from all backgrounds. Contact the Hillel offices at israel [at] hillel [dot] org to find out about future ASL trips.

World Endeavors – Deaf Education Volunteer Projects
Volunteers on World Endeavors Deaf Education projects empower deaf communities in countries such as Ecuador by increasing education, literacy, job skills, and economic self-sufficiency. Volunteers with signing abilities may assist in classrooms, provide after-school tutoring to deaf students, or teach computer and other skills classes.

Mention of a resource should not be construed as an endorsement by MIUSA/NCDE nor is the list exhaustive.

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