If you believe your medical condition and/or disability requires advance arrangement, early disclosure to your study abroad advisor and trip leader is strongly encouraged. Individuals involved in the program planning may need at least four to six months to make arrangements and reasonable accommodations.
The availability of disability accommodations and program adjustments are determined based on the following information: an assessment of the participant’s needs by an advisor in the Department of Disability Services
, examination of the program itinerary with the study abroad advisor/trip leader and on-site staff, and exploration of available resources in the participant’s host destinations.
Outlined below is the student’s role in the program planning process.
- Research the program destinations of your interest and ask questions to better understand the program, cultural norm, and available resources (e.g., classroom accessibility, academic services, group meals, transportation, required and alternate excursions, housing options, and health care services).
- Narrow program choices to 2 – 3 programs.
- Explore available funding opportunities.
- Do a self-assessment and brainstorm how certain tasks can be accomplished abroad, as well as items to complete before departure, while abroad, and upon return.
- Plan early. Shipment of special supplies, quarantine of service animals, immunizations, travel documents, and other necessary preparations will take time to complete.
- Be flexible. The provision and quality of accommodations may vary from that of the United States.
||Gaining knowledge through experience was what I expected to receive from the study abroad program. If it were not for my wonderful supporters including my family, Alicia Guevara from Texas A&M University Disability Services, and the Study Abroad Programs Office, I would not have been able to go study abroad to Australia and Fiji. It was definitely something that had changed my life, an experience I will never forget. I highly recommend Aggies go abroad; not only to step out of their comfort zone, but also to learn many new things during an incredible and exciting adventure.
-Sachiko Flores, RPTS major
Managing Expectations Regarding Accessibility Overseas
Most countries do not have laws ensuring equal access similar to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Therefore, study abroad participants with disabilities and/or medical conditions will need to be flexible, open-minded, and diligent in their preparations. The availability of accommodations will depend on the program structure, student’s needs, and host country. Listed below are examples illustrating how former study abroad students have been accommodated.
- Provision of course materials in an alternate format (electronic texts, audio books)
- Alternate testing environment with minimal distraction
- Extended timing
- Sign-language interpreter
- Independent housing to accommodate dietary restrictions
Preparing for your International Experience
Students who take the time to research their program destinations have a smoother transition in their host countries. To help get you started, listed below are resources for travelers with disabilities, medical condition, or dietary restrictions.