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MADRE staff give deaf applause for MIUSA presenter Maegan Shanks

Merging Movements: MADRE and MIUSA's New Partnership

“Women are women. If you serve women, you need to serve all women, and you should always expect to have disabled women and girls. This is non-negotiable.” These words, shared by senior-level MADRE staff by the end of the training, reflected a clear and bold shift in thinking had taken place, especially for an organization where most staff had very limited or no prior experience with disability rights issues.

Blog
A group of people with and without disabilities hold up signs with words in Vietnamese and English while posing for a photo at the ACDC office

Identifying the Gaps to Deaf Inclusion, and Taking Action

By Lydia Shula, Program Manager

My eyes dart around the room, while my fingers jump between laptop keys, camera clicks and my translation headset. There are papers with words posted all over the walls, visually shouting in both Vietnamese and English: ‘access’, ‘justice’, ‘ dignity’, ‘enforcement’, ‘autonomy’. Up on a screen, paused mid-play, is a video of Linh, a leading force in the Deaf rights movement, signing in front of a blue backdrop with text displayed to his right.

Event
A young woman pushes herself in a manual wheelchair down a narrow street with pastel colored buildings

Disability and Innovation Session at CIEE Conference on Global Education

The future is accessible! That is the expectation as more people with disabilities - the world’s largest minority community - continue to enter mainstream spaces, assume leadership positions, and identify and advocate for full inclusion. Education abroad serves to create a pipeline of emerging leaders with disabilities equipped with the global competencies necessary to further social justice at a greater scale.

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A young woman wearing sunglasses stands on a wooden deck that overlooks the ocean. She faces sideways. Mountains are visible in the background.

MIUSA to Exhibit at Virtual Fair for Disabled (& Proud!) College Students

Wondering how to enhance your college experience by traveling to another country? Students with different types of disabilities - including those with physical, sensory, chronic health, learning, and intellectual disabilities - have been everywhere and anywhere to earn credit while gaining unique experiences.

MIUSA staff will exhibit at the virtual Disabled and Proud conference to share resources from the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange on how college students with disabilities can access international exchange.

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Group of a dozen young adults - men and women, people of color and white, and more - making glamorous or smiling poses in a jungle or forest setting

Universal Design Presentation at NAFSA Region I Conference

As international educators, we can effect changes big and small to support students who think study abroad is out of reach. Attendees of the NAFSA Region I conference are invited to join MIUSA staff and others at the NAFSA Region I conference for the session:

“Is it Accessible?”: (Re)Designing Education Abroad with a Disability Lens
Wednesday, October 17
8:30 AM - 9:45 AM
Location: Oak 1

Best Practice
In the foreground graphic, a metal pole supports an orange rectangular road sign labeled “Collaboration” and below it, a green sign labeled “Portland Community College.” In the background photo, fir trees tower above a narrow road that bends through a forest.

Think Global, Act Universal

Some international education professionals share anecdotes about scrambling to find accessible housing and transportation options when a student unexpectedly showed up to the program site in a wheelchair; others recall students who took them by surprise by exhibiting signs of depression shortly after arriving in their host destination.

Best Practice
In the foreground graphic, a metal pole supports a red octagonal road sign labeled “Policy” and below it, a green sign labeled “Univ Texas El Paso.” In the background photo, we get a close-up of an asphalt road with double yellow center lines as it rolls away in the distance through sparse landscape with some rocky hills and scrub.

On the Rio Grande, Dreams Matter

Cara*, a UTEP student with a mental health-related disability, could have given up on her dream of studying European art abroad on an expedition to Rome when the faculty leader expressed doubts about whether she could bring her service dog. Instead she sought advice from the university’s Center for Accommodations and Support Services (CASS).

When she did, CASS staff sprang into action.

Tipsheet
U.S. campus with brick buildings and trees.

Top 10 Disability Resources On-Campus

International students and scholars with disabilities can often find what they need at their U.S. colleges and universities. Do a bit of research to find out if your U.S. college or university offers these ten offices or departments, which can work with you to make sure that you have full access to everything you do at school, whether it's taking a test or participating in a club or event.

Tipsheet
In the foreground graphic, a metal pole supports a blue rectangular-shaped road sign labeled “Professional Development” and below it, a green sign labeled “Clearinghouse; MIUSA; US Dept of State; Bureau Educational & Cultural Affairs” with white arrows pointing in different directions. In the background photo, a highway viewed from high above winds through red, yellow and green foliage. Map marker graphic along an illustrated road contains a photo of a young man dressed formally speaking

Nexus of Champions

The champions for inclusive international experiences are out there—and you’re likely among them! Find out how a national project is bringing them together and building their capacity as change-makers.

It’s not always easy being a champion for disability inclusion in international education. However, finding allies can make all the difference for driving change at our own institutions and organizations. It can lead to building the critical mass needed to make a lasting impact in the field.

Best Practice
In the foreground graphic, a metal pole supports a yellow diamond-shaped road sign labeled “Funding” and below it, a green sign labeled “Univ Arizona, Duke University.” In the background photo, an inclining road with yellow double center lines rises towards reddish rocky hills below a hazy pink sky. Map markers show photo of a young white male student seated in a wheelchair with a dog in one and leaning against a camel in another

Funding Access to a Priceless Experience

That’s the idea behind many higher education institutions’ forward-thinking approach to ensuring that no disabled student is denied the opportunity to study abroad due to the costs of facilitating access.

Best Practice
In the foreground graphic, a metal pole supports a white speed sign labeled “Outreach 65” and below it, a green sign labeled “Univ Texas Austin.” In the background photo, a windy road with yellow double center lines is flanked by scrub land, with blue mountains in the distance and an overcast sky above. •	A map marker along the road contains a photo of a student with her back turned. Her t-shirt reads: Take the World by the Horns.” She raises her right arm and points her index finger in a “#1” gesture.

Creating a Culture of Inclusion

Far too often, college and university students with disabilities recall being discouraged from going abroad by faculty leaders or other university staff.  

The University of Texas at Austin (UT), for one, is determined to never let this happen, recognizing that greater visibility to the inclusion of people with disabilities in study abroad is one of the most important steps to shifting a campus culture to greater access.

Best Practice
In the foreground graphic, a metal pole supports a brown road sign labeled “Advocacy” and below it, a green sign labeled “Univ Illinois Urbana-Champaign.” In the background photo, a straight road passes through shadows to bright sun as it leads to golden grass, green trees, and blue mountains beyond. A map marker shows Hugo Trevino in front of a Buddha statue

Advocating for Access

One of those students was Hugo Trevino, who developed his passion for international travel while an undergraduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Books/Journals/Podcasts
A highway road curves around a hill overlooking a town below. A setting sun casts a soft orange light over the scene, as birds flock in the blue sky above. A graphic overlaid on the photo shows six road signs on a single pole on the side of the road. The signs are stylized to look like speed signs, stop signs, construction signs, etc. Their text reads: Outreach; Funding; Policy; Professional Development; Collaboration; Advocacy.

A World Awaits You: Champions for Inclusion

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