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Accessibility Abroad


     Students with concerns about their physical and/or mental health should not be dissuaded from studying abroad! While it certainly is important to understand the available resources and types of challenges you may face or encounter in different locations around the world, know that there is support for you and that strategies can be made to make your international experience safe and successful!?

     The following is a list of resources that might be helpful for students who have an accessibility need or health concern and are interested in studying abroad:*
On Being an ALLY to People with Accessibility Needs 
     It is perfectly possible that you will end up studying abroad with someone who has an accessibility need, or you will encounter people with accessibility needs on your travels. For people who have visible accessibility needs, it can be easy to assume that they lead a difficult life that is less fulfilling than yours, which can lead you down the path of feeling sorry for them. To be an ally for a person with an accessibility need, pity is not the answer. People want understanding and compassion, but they need to be recognized as equals, and part of being an ally to people with accessibility needs is making sure that you do not treat them as inferior.
     Although some people have obvious or visible accessibility needs, other people have needs or conditions that are not immediately apparent or visible. It is wise to refrain from making any ableist jokes or comments—even if no one has an accessibility need who is within earshot; making those kinds of comments perpetuate an ableist culture and dehumanize people with disabilities.
Ableism Definition
     If someone confides in you that they have an accessibility need, it can be a little
bit confusing to know exactly how to respond or behave. You want to find ways of
being supportive and helpful without making the person feel as though you are
taking away their independence, pitying them, or making them feel ashamed
of their need for help. The following sources provide information about how
to be an ally toward people with accessibility needs, both visible and invisible:*


University of Minnesota - Students with Disabilities

NorthWestern University - Accessibility Abroad

Best Colleges - How to Study Abroad With a Disability

*Guilford College is not responsible for the content of these links and has not screened them for validity. Readers should be advised that there could be strong content or sensitive material within them. They have been included here because they may be a valuable resource for personal knowledge. Reader discretion is advised.