As a Deaf/Hard of Hearing individual, you have the right to apply to and participate in any type of international exchange program that fits your interests and goals! Exchange program providers and universities have worked with many participants to arrange sign language interpreters abroad, real-time captioning, CART and other technologies. If you are specifically interested in focusing on Deaf/Hard of Hearing issues or learning alongside other members of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing community, read on to learn about opportunities that might interest you.
The number of students with disabilities participating in study abroad is likely to increase in the coming years - be ready for them! These surveys look at overall satisfaction, disability supports, and participation levels of students with disabilities.
The Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange shows that among U.S. post-secondary institutions, where the disability status of study abroad students is known, 8.8% of study abroad students had disabilities in 2015/16 (which is up 3.5% from the previous year). This year 341 institutions reported that they had 5,641 U.S. students studying abroad with a disability in 2015/16, compared to 322 institutions reporting 3,831 disabled study abroad students in the previous report.
Remember that you are your own expert on your disability and how it might impact your participation in international exchange! Recognize that the exchange professionals you are working with may not already be familiar with certain types of accommodations, disability resources, or a country’s level of accessibility. Help in doing thorough research and build effective communication on what access you need.
As capable as you and your guide dog/service animal may be together, many people with disabilities find the amount of assistance they need when traveling goes up simply because some of the things they count on at home do not exist in this new environment.
In a nutshell, airlines to and from the U.S. must permit dogs and other service animals used by people with disabilities to accompany them on a flight.
By your very presence, and by your active participation in an international exchange experience, you can help challenge negative perceptions. People with disabilities who have traveled abroad have tried a variety of strategies.
Start planning early in contacting governmental offices or guide dog/service animal associations in the destination to learn about regulations, and in getting documentation from your veterinarian and your own physician to make sure all ready and verified.
You are taking the leap to go abroad and naturally you want to bring along your service animal or guide dog on this adventure. However, you may wonder what arrangements will be needed. Or, if bringing your animal companion is a good idea or not. Feral dogs in the destination country and other considerations on how to keep your guide dog or service animal healthy overseas can help when deciding.
From country to country, you will find there are vastly different views on disability that are based on your ethnicity, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, religious beliefs, and disability type. Local politics, laws, geographic setting (rural versus urban), existing services for people with disabilities, and more add another layer of complexity to disability culture and identity.
Whether you apply to participate in a volunteer abroad program like the Peace Corps or join a volunteer project abroad, volunteering can dramatically change your life and the lives of those around you. Since many volunteer organizations offer opportunities to work with disability communities overseas, people with disabilities can be valuable role models at these placement sites. As you consider your disability-related needs for a potential volunteer abroad experience, remember that many people with disabilities have successfully coordinated a variety of supports in order thrive in international volunteer settings.
For Alison, Italy was all about taking the time to savor simple experiences, whether people-watching on a leisurely evening in the piazza to lingering in Italian conversation with friends over a glass of wine. As a person who is hard of hearing, Alison worked with the coordinators of her program to arrange for accommodations that would help ensure that she had the same opportunity to engage in the classroom lessons and discussions, furthering her skills and confidence in the Italian language.
The technologies described below have proven useful for many Deaf and Hard of Hearing international exchange participants. Before you go, research your options, and whenever possible, try out different technologies to learn if they work for you!
If you've been to an airport before, you know that the variety of sounds, lights, and touch at the airport can result in sensory overload! Here's some tips on getting through security, and the bumps of the flight.
Getting ready to land in your final destination? Take some advice from international exchange alumni on the autism spectrum about what they did overseas to make the transition abroad more smooth - and what they wish they had done.