Resource Library

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.

Personal Stories
Collage of an ID badge showing Justin; a Hong Kong stamp; sticker of a pelican; photo of Justin in an orchard

Community Colleges Open Doors

When Justin, a man with left hip dysplasia, did not make it into the University of Hong Kong, he was in good company. Since the government fixes the number of spots available for local students enrolling in the highly coveted public university system, space is limited. In a given year, only around 20% of applicants make it. That means 80% don't.

Personal Stories
Collage of an ID badge showing Anna; a ribbon in Swedish flag colors; a paint palette; bulletin board with photos of Anna taped to it

The Road to Independence Runs Through A Community College

For Anna, a woman with Down syndrome from Sweden, study abroad runs in the family. Her sister studied in Argentina, and her brother studied in the United States. It was only natural that she would also want to study abroad, and she strongly advocated with her family to support her in doing so.

“They support me very much. They are proud and happy for me. I call them every Saturday and sometimes on Sundays.”

Personal Stories
Collage of an ID badge showing Abdul; a group selfie that includes Abdul at Grand Canyon; a sticker of Pakistan flag

Finding Community at a Community College

When Abdul Salam Mehsood, a software engineering student, was chosen by the United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan for the U.S. Department of State sponsored Global Undergraduate Exchange Program in Pakistan (Global UGRAD Pakistan) to spend a semester studying at a U.S. college, he did not know what to expect. He thought, the United States was not a Muslim country, and Americans would probably have a different way of viewing the world and him because of his religion. They also might have a different way of thinking about him because of his disability.

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
Young American with learning disability smiles with two Muslim women during a cultural exchange

What if They Don't Disclose?

No one likes to feel un-informed, especially when having to make arrangements or decisions related to international exchange. Learn now how to be prepared even without knowing who has a disability (or might have their first onset of one overseas).

You can shift from focusing on how to know enough, early enough, to accommodate someone with a disability – why not instead focus on your own ability to put in place good program standards (or verify such standards with those you partner with)? This is more in your control.

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
A Muslim man with an American woman dressed in red head scarf smile.

Cultural Differences & Disability: Tips for the Program Advisor

Disabled or not, all international travelers have experienced the awkwardness of being different or standing out in a new country. A person with a disability may also experience other cultural attitudes because of their disability.

Such experiences can be confusing, frustrating, or empowering. By their very presence and active participation in your exchange program, people with disabilities can challenge their own and others' perceptions.

Tip Sheets
Advisor and future exchange participant take their conversation outside

Advising Participants with Disabilities: How to Begin

When a prospective or accepted international exchange participant with a disability contacts you, how can you be a knowledgeable and approachable advisor?  We have developed tipsheets you can use to build your capacity for access and inclusion as well as disability assessment forms and guiding questions that you can use to get valuable details from the individual.

While each situation is different, the process is straightforward:

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