Many of the services provided by these organizations are available to every person with a disability, regardless of citizenship. Community-based and state-based disability organizations are especially helpful to international visitors who will not have access to disability services through a U.S. university or college.
"Can I go on a MIUSA exchange program?" "Which U.S. exchange program is right for me?" See if we answered your question about finding exchange opportunities in the U.S.
Loans can help cover U.S. study costs for those who don’t receive enough funding from scholarships or savings. Could a student loan be right for you?
Apply for a program that will cover your expenses to the U.S. as you advance your professional or academic goals.
Professional exchanges, such as internships and fellowships, provide opportunities for international visitors to gain career experience or to share their knowledge or skills while living in the United States. These exchanges can last from a few weeks to a few years. Many people with disabilities have traveled to the U.S. to gain career experience or to share their expertise in a variety of professional fields.
Visa fees, airfare, health insurance, tuition, test fees, housing... International exchange expenses to the U.S. can add up quickly! Are you prepared?
Find opportunities to study, learn, and grow professionally in the U.S., whatever your disability. Your options are endless. As a person with a disability, you have the same right as everyone else to gain professional experience, study at a college or high school, learn English, or volunteer in the U.S.
Thanks to her self-advocacy prior to and during her travels, the potential pitfalls Paula experienced while studying abroad were manageable. She points to two challenges in particular:
One was that her Lithuanian professors would provide a list of 15 books as suggested reading and pull information from those books for tests.
"It was impossible to do all of that reading, because I’m such a slow reader. It was difficult knowing what they expected."
If you attend conferences or host events related either to the disability community or study abroad field, why not bring the topic of people with disabilities going abroad into the fore? Let us get you started with Powerpoint slides ready to insert into your next presentation.
The slides cover:
This connects with your iPhone's GPS functions to bring you live vocalized information about where you're at and where you're going. Open the application and let it run in the background, as it tells you the street you're walking on, addresses that you pass, cross streets, and landmarks of interest. Do searches for the nearest breakfast spot or the convention center, and Blind Square will help get you there. It is excellent for getting oriented to a new place, or just getting the name of that street when there is no one around.
On any campus, you are likely to find students, staff, and faculty with disabilities studying, working, and teaching alongside people without disabilities. Imagine yourself among them, then begin your path to U.S. study today!
Mobility International USA is always looking for surveys or research in the disability or international education fields that have the potential to shine a light on the participation and experiences of people with disabilities in international exchange. If surveys ask both "Do you have a disability?" and "Did you [study, volunteer, intern, teach, research] abroad?," then we do our best to request and report on the data, so we can all learn more from the findings.
Melissa Gulledge, CIEE Regional Director from South Carolina, has years of experience placing international exchange students from all over the world with American families, but a last minute decision to host a teenager with a disability led to one of her own family’s most meaningful hosting experiences.
The clock was ticking to match Pinar, a young woman from Turkey who is blind, with a host family and school.
With the busiest season just behind her, Shannon Kelly reflects on the role she and her colleagues played in the experiences of over 2000 students from around the world who arrived in the U.S. this summer through Spirit Cultural Exchange, where Shannon works as an intern:
"These students are thousands of miles away from their families and friends; we're here to be advocates for them."
If a prospective person with a disability meets the eligibility requirements for your volunteer abroad program, start with encouragement and then figure out together how to arrange the reasonable accommodations.