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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.

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
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 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 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.

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