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Tip Sheets
A man pushes himself in his manual wheelchair with luggage on top his lap at a Swedish train station

Choosing the Right Luggage (Without the Baggage!)

Traveling internationally with a mobility disability may be smoother by choosing luggage that fits you. Try experimenting before making a new luggage purchase to see what is most comfortable to transport on your own or what is best to protect your equipment when others handle it.

Tip Sheets
Two men on each side lift the frame of Susan's wheelchair up a short step

Lifting and Transferring People with Physical Disabilities

Being carried is an uncomfortable experience for many with disabilities, both physically and emotionally. Lifting a person up stairs or around obstacles is not an acceptable alternative to appropriate accessibility measures. Most people prefer to be lifted only as a last resort.

Tip Sheets
a portable ramp with handrails

Inaccessible? Ramp it!

The slope of a ramp should be no greater than 1:12, which is 12 feet (or meters) of horizontal ramp for every 1 foot (or meter) of vertical height. Some people with disabilities can use personal ramps that are shorter and steeper than 1:12. Before building a short ramp to provide access for a person with a disability, discuss whether a steeper ramp would work for that individual.

Tip Sheets
A black man in his 20s or 30s holds a microphone as he addresses a conference room of other people, mostly people of color in their 20s or 30s who wear business attire

Application Tips for the Gilman Scholarship

What it Is

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program is a program of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs with funding provided by the U.S. Government and supported in its implementation by the Institute of International Education (IIE).

Recipients are awarded up to $5000 (or $8000 including the Critical Need Language Award) to be used toward the cost of study abroad or international internship programs.

Personal Stories
Collage of ID badge showing Katelyn; stickers of luggage carts and hotel key; a photo of Katelyn spreading arms before Singapore skyline

Getting Creative with Fundraising for Global Opportunities

By the time Katelyn Parker, a student with cerebral palsy, enrolled at Kirkwood Community College (KCC) in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, she had already traveled quite a bit. Highlights included mission trips to Zimbabwe and South Africa. These early experiences left her with a passion for international exchange.

Tip Sheets
Two photos side by side; one is a group photo of young men and women wearing diverse traditional dress and holding flags; the other shows three young women wearing capes before a Celtic castle

Studying Abroad with Your Community College

More and more students find that community colleges are an affordable way to obtain a college degree. In states like Maryland, disabled students even have the option to seek a tuition waiver on some community college classes. Community colleges realize the value of serving a broad range of students and offering options including technical and general education: two-year and four-year degree programs.

Tip Sheets
Collage of photos showing Shea interacting with fellow students on the set of a movie

Quick Tips for Personal Assistant Services Abroad

Get funding

There are a variety of methods to cover the costs of a personal assistant. Disabled travelers may save up money through work-study. A community fundraiser using an online tool like GoFundMe can also be a good way to find funding.

Showing that the international exchange is part of an Individualized Employment Plan (IEP), an exchange participant might get funding from The Department of Vocational Rehabilitation for a personal assistant.

Personal Stories
Collage of an ID badge showing Shea; a group photo of Shea and students/actors abroad; stickers of a director's chair and clapboard

Directing Access in the Czech Republic

In the summer of 2018, Shea Megale, a woman with spinal muscular atrophy type II who uses a power chair, participated in the first-ever Czech Republic filmmaking program organized by Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA).

Students from NOVA flew to Prague, then traveled south to the town of Pisek, where they were mentored by acclaimed Czech filmmakers at the Film Academy of Miroslav Ondricek and engaged with Czech students to produce short films.

Personal Stories
Collage of ID badge showing Chynna; photos of Chynna exploring castles in Ireland; stickers of a shamrock and hands signing in ASL

Building Confidence in Ireland

For many years Chynna had been curious about the world outside of the United States, but she was also scared of what she might find. She had grown up thinking that the world is an unsafe place full of danger at every corner. She also had her hands full in Madison, Wisconsin. As a deaf black woman with a cochlear implant, she would have to work three times as hard to prove herself to others and to get ahead.

Tip Sheets
Group of colleagues in discussion

Costs & Legal Obligations

Many exchange advisors assume that accommodating people with disabilities in their programs will be prohibitively expensive. In fact, many accommodations are cost-free or quite inexpensive. The key to finding low-cost solutions is to foster open communication with the exchange participant and to think broadly about the possibilities and resources available to the organization and the participant.

Books and Journals
Collage of images including a notebook labeled "Community Colleges" and a smart phone showing travel photos on Instagram; a SmartPen

A World Awaits You: Community Colleges Issue

3 Ways to Read this Issue of AWAY:

  • Online: Stay on this page to begin reading; click on linked prompts to advance to the next article.
  • Electronic files: Download the full issue in accessible PDF (coming soon) or Word formats by clicking under Documents, below.
  • Print: Email us to request print copies mailed to your U.S. address.
Personal Stories
A young man, viewed from behind, uses a purple marker to write "Eric C" on a colorful wall that has been airbrushed with green, black and pink patterns. He wears a knit cap and sweatshirt.

Embrace the Uncertainty: Studying Abroad in Scotland

The first time flying by myself was during my senior year at Clark University, when I embarked on a semester abroad at the University of Stirling. I remember talking to friends about feeling very nervous about the upcoming semester, and they said that it is normal to be nervous about something unknown. They advised me to embrace the uncertainty. This concept was new to me, but it helped to create a wonderful experience in Scotland.

When I got to Stirling, I moved into a dorm with most of the other exchange students.

Tip Sheets
A small group of people are seated in a boat on a river. Most are people of color wearing dress common to Bangladesh. A white man with grey hair sits to the far right.

International Exchange for Late-Career Professionals

Before you begin your search, consider:

  • Type of experience. Are you interested in conducting academic research? Service-learning/volunteering? Sharing your expertise with a local community?
  • Length of program. Would a short-term program (ranging from a few weeks to a few months) be ideal, or are you interested in a longer-term experience (6-24 months)?
Tip Sheets
Missing wearing traditional Japanese clothes at shrine

Japan Focus: ADHD and Traveling with Medication

From time to time we get inquiries from people with ADHD wishing to study in Japan, and they are overwhelmed with the confusing maze of rules and regulations vis-à-vis their medications. Japan’s rules for medications, such as those related to ADHD or pain management, are unique, and they required a unique tipsheet.

A Yakkan Shoumei is a certificate authorizing permission for you to bring medication into the country.

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