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Best Practice
In the foreground graphic, a metal pole supports an orange rectangular road sign labeled “Collaboration” and below it, a green sign labeled “Portland Community College.” In the background photo, fir trees tower above a narrow road that bends through a forest.

Think Global, Act Universal

Some international education professionals share anecdotes about scrambling to find accessible housing and transportation options when a student unexpectedly showed up to the program site in a wheelchair; others recall students who took them by surprise by exhibiting signs of depression shortly after arriving in their host destination.

Best Practice
In the foreground graphic, a metal pole supports a red octagonal road sign labeled “Policy” and below it, a green sign labeled “Univ Texas El Paso.” In the background photo, we get a close-up of an asphalt road with double yellow center lines as it rolls away in the distance through sparse landscape with some rocky hills and scrub.

On the Rio Grande, Dreams Matter

Cara*, a UTEP student with a mental health-related disability, could have given up on her dream of studying European art abroad on an expedition to Rome when the faculty leader expressed doubts about whether she could bring her service dog. Instead she sought advice from the university’s Center for Accommodations and Support Services (CASS).

When she did, CASS staff sprang into action.

Best Practice
In the foreground graphic, a metal pole supports a yellow diamond-shaped road sign labeled “Funding” and below it, a green sign labeled “Univ Arizona, Duke University.” In the background photo, an inclining road with yellow double center lines rises towards reddish rocky hills below a hazy pink sky. Map markers show photo of a young white male student seated in a wheelchair with a dog in one and leaning against a camel in another

Funding Access to a Priceless Experience

That’s the idea behind many higher education institutions’ forward-thinking approach to ensuring that no disabled student is denied the opportunity to study abroad due to the costs of facilitating access.

Best Practice
In the foreground graphic, a metal pole supports a white speed sign labeled “Outreach 65” and below it, a green sign labeled “Univ Texas Austin.” In the background photo, a windy road with yellow double center lines is flanked by scrub land, with blue mountains in the distance and an overcast sky above. •	A map marker along the road contains a photo of a student with her back turned. Her t-shirt reads: Take the World by the Horns.” She raises her right arm and points her index finger in a “#1” gesture.

Creating a Culture of Inclusion

Far too often, college and university students with disabilities recall being discouraged from going abroad by faculty leaders or other university staff.  

The University of Texas at Austin (UT), for one, is determined to never let this happen, recognizing that greater visibility to the inclusion of people with disabilities in study abroad is one of the most important steps to shifting a campus culture to greater access.

Best Practice
In the foreground graphic, a metal pole supports a brown road sign labeled “Advocacy” and below it, a green sign labeled “Univ Illinois Urbana-Champaign.” In the background photo, a straight road passes through shadows to bright sun as it leads to golden grass, green trees, and blue mountains beyond. A map marker shows Hugo Trevino in front of a Buddha statue

Advocating for Access

One of those students was Hugo Trevino, who developed his passion for international travel while an undergraduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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About two dozen Bangladeshi men and women stand in a room before a projector screen

Creating a Culture of Inclusion: One EducationUSA Adviser’s Quest

Sausan Rahmatullah has always enjoyed volunteering. So when she heard that an organization in her home of Dhaka, Bangladesh was hosting a scholarship competition for high-achieving Bangladeshi students with physical disabilities, she immediately volunteered as a judge.

Having been introduced to so many talented students with disabilities through the volunteer experience, Sausan felt compelled to do more. Fortunately, the answer was right up her alley.

Best Practice
4 international students sitting in desks next to each other looking up to the front of the classroom.

Addressing Learning Disabilities in Intensive English Programs

Through meetings to discuss probation and disqualification status, to the discovery of learning disabilities in her own family, Maiko came to appreciate that the reason why so many students were struggling was most likely related to undiagnosed learning disabilities.

Something needed to be done if her program was going to take its work to the next level. After putting in place procedures to educate teachers, destigmatize, detect and diagnose learning disabilities, as well as partner with the university’s Accessible Education Center, things took a turn for the better.

Best Practice
Erinn sitting next to a local Spanish man taking guitar lessons from him.

Educating by Example: Including Teachers with Disabilities

This is best illustrated through the experience of the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), which accommodated Erinn Snoeyink, first in a semester abroad program in Seville, Spain, and then on their Teach in Spain Program in Toledo. Erinn, who is blind, wanted the opportunity to get to know Spain better after her first experience, and CIEE was more than happy to oblige.

Best Practice
GDDI group photo

Measuring the Impact of WILD

"WILD has succeeded in raising strong and dynamic women who are assertive enough to engage their community leaders to promote the issues of women and girls with disabilities in their countries. I am such an example; my level of confidence has tripled since WILD."
- Ekaete Umoh, WILD Alumna from Nigeria

To date more than 220 women with disabilities from over 83 countries have participated in MIUSA's International WILD program. 

Best Practice
WILD Panama Group Photo

The Power of WILD Seed Grants

“We should not wait for what people will do for us, but we should try to create impact and make our contributions felt in society.” 
​– WILD-Uganda participant

Best Practice
Reem sitting and smiling with students from the Association of the Visually Impaired in Alexandria, Egypt.

Knocking on Closed Doors

Reem Abou Elenain, who serves as an EducationUSA Adviser in Alexandria, Egypt, advises students who want to study in the United States. Before taking her position at EducationUSA, she was a Fulbright grantee for the Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) program, sponsored by the U.S Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, teaching Arabic at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania.

Best Practice
Two women (one is Hannah) look over their shoulders smiling. Great Wall of China is visible behind them.

Scaling the Greatest Walls

How can you translate your campus' idealistic principles of inclusion to the global campus that is study abroad? In this best practice, adapted from her post to the UC Davis Study Abroad blog, Program Coordinator & Advisor Dana Armstrong ponders this challenge while reflecting on her experience advising a student who is blind traveling to China. Follow-up conversations with study abroad alumni with disabilities can put the realities more into perspective.

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Two African American youth on a beach in Cyprus

Making Inroads in Increased Participation

Legacy International has been administering U.S. Department of State-sponsored exchange programs for people from all different age groups for decades. They see more participants with disabilities on exchanges traveling to, rather than from, the United States. So, on the American Youth Leadership Program on environmental stewardship to Cyprus, Legacy International aimed for, and achieved, a U.S. delegation that included 40% of the participants with apparent or non-apparent disabilities.

Best Practice
Batuhan, Nikita, and a third student stand and smile in an outdoor setting.

Cluster Leader Shares Best Practices for Inclusion

My role as a CIEE cluster leader is to organize enhancement activities that build the leadership and teamwork skills of my students. Last year I had sixteen students in my cluster, two of whom were students with disabilities. Both were studying in the United States on programs sponsored by the U.S Department of State.

There are certain activities that we do every year as a cluster. One of the most memorable of those activities took place in the winter. All sixteen of my students went up to our little cabin, which is what we do every year, to go cross-country skiing.

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