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Advising Students with Disabilities in Study Abroad WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE THEY GO: Ashley Bryant, Mobility International USA (MIUSA) Claire Özel, Middle.

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Presentation on theme: "Advising Students with Disabilities in Study Abroad WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE THEY GO: Ashley Bryant, Mobility International USA (MIUSA) Claire Özel, Middle."— Presentation transcript:

1 Advising Students with Disabilities in Study Abroad WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE THEY GO: Ashley Bryant, Mobility International USA (MIUSA) Claire Özel, Middle East Technical University

2 Free advising E-news Publications Webinars and events Website Sponsored by: Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State About MIUSAs Disability and Exchange Resources

3 1.Deciding Whether to Go 2.Preparing to Go 3.Cultural Differences in Disability 4.Roles of Students and Professionals 5.Questions and Discussion Overview

4 Deciding Whether to Go: Incentives for Going Abroad

5 Have a different experience Develop resilience Develop awareness Break away from home or habits Learn a new language or other skills Common Motives for Studying Abroad

6 Move out of protected environments Develop independent living skills and confidence Connect with people in other cultures or have same or similar identity Perceive self from others' perspectives Benefits of Going Abroad with a Disability (1 of 2)

7 Change the way society perceives people with disabilities Improve employability prospects Advocate for disability rights in other countries / be an ambassador Benefits of Going Abroad with a Disability (2 of 2)

8 Parental approval/encouragement Role models Attitude of home study abroad office (SAO) staff Availability of disability-related services or resources in host country Deciding Factors for Students with Disabilities (1 of 2)

9 Funding Health insurance coverage Impact on disability-related benefits at home Deciding Factors for Students with Disabilities (2 of 2)


11 Preparing to Go: Accessibility Abroad

12 Consider: Mobility/Transportation Housing Learning (testing, note taking, reading, etc.) Meals/Diet Accommodating Students Abroad (1 of 2)

13 Consider: Health (medication, doctors, counselors, etc.) Program schedule and pace Visits and excursions Socializing...Student's strategies Accommodating Students Abroad (2 of 2)

14 How aware is the student of differences in: language culture and politics possibilities and opportunities How skilled is the student in: Language - communication Mobility Requesting needs Adapting to change and new situations Resilience Students Awareness and Abilities

15 We never allow our students with disabilities to go anywhere with less than equal standards!

16 Flexibility Advocacy Creativity Persistence Connecting locally MIUSA's information services Planning Strategies to Work Through Barriers

17 Contact: Host Study Abroad Office (SAO) Host Disability Office (DO) Host country/ community disability groups, Exchange information Express needs Research procedures and opportunities Note: Do not rely only on reports from non- disabled people Planning

18 Differences in expectations What do local SwD do? What am I prepared to accept? Accessible dorms Transport Hygiene Privacy Spare parts: inner tubes; batteries (run out faster in hotter places), catheter, cane, medications Accessibility Abroad


20 Cultural Differences in Disability

21 Ideas of independence and confidentiality Recognition of disability Speaking about disability (blunt talk, taboo subjects) Behavior & interaction (staring, touching) Treatment from how locals with disabilities are treated Over-protectiveness Expect Differences in…

22 Procedural/Formal Approach - Doing what is required by rules or law Personal Approach - Direct conversations about what is needed and why Community Approach - Services given by a students friends, family and community Cultural Models of Providing Accommodations

23 A student travels from a "Formal Approach" culture to an "Informal Approach" culture A student travels from an "Informal Approach" culture to a "Formal Approach" culture What Might Happen When…? Formal approach Informal approach

24 Find out requirements or procedures Contact local disability organizations Ask peers with disabilities Know how/when to accept/refuse help Seek a disability advocate and allies Find opportunities to educate Adjusting to Differences


26 Roles and Responsibilities (R&R) of Students and Professionals

27 Involve the Student at All Stages Student HostHome

28 At the Home University Student Disability Office Study Abroad Office

29 At the Host University Student Disability Office Study Abroad Office

30 Help student make best accommodation choices, based on program structure Arrange overseas accommodations to mirror those provided at home institution Set up action plan for all stakeholders With students permission, share accommodation letter with SAO at home and host institutions Home Disability Office, Pre-Departure

31 Inform about: Policies and procedures: diversity statements, funding, etc. Student's legal rights and responsibilities Where to find information for student to make informed decisions and plans Cooperate with: SAO and student on needs, develop individualised creative solutions Home and Host Disability Office

32 Research range of possible host destinations Research availability of program accommodations in host countries Identify relevant criteria for prioritising choices: What matters to me? Student R&R: Selecting a Program

33 Disclose disability as soon as accepted Complete program-related tasks Plan program itinerary with SAO program coordinators Provide adequate documentation Take personal devices, equipment, spare parts, etc. Student R&R: Pre-Departure

34 Be proactive; create awareness of needs before departure and while abroad Contact Host DO: agree on support strategies Arrange personal assistants; train new local assistants Contact local disability organisations Student R&R: When Abroad

35 University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (USA): Work with study abroad office to establish an "advisor for access" School of Oriental and African Studies (London): Budget from student fees income to create a fund which could be used to cover reasonable adjustments What Others are Doing

36 Disability office at host institution Local disability organizations in host country Past participants: students with similar disabilities students from own culture MIUSA website Others Who Can Help


38 "International travel seems much more accessible to me now... Most of the resistance I encountered came from people who saw my disability as an impossible barrier to travel in a developing country, whereas I just saw it as a challenge. Now, I know that wherever the future takes me, it will most definitely involve more stamps in my passport." Rachel

39 Contact us and share your story! Ashley Bryant Mobility International USA Claire Özel Middle East Technical University Turkey Questions?

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