Off-campus study opportunities exist for all Colorado College students, no matter your major, age, gender, orientation, financial ability, or disability. The key to a successful experience for students with disabilities lies in careful planning with the Office of International Programs and the office of Disability Services. These departments work together to assist students in obtaining reasonable accommodations, where possible, but it is important to be aware of cultural differences that can affect the provision of accommodations.
Students with disabilities who plan to study off campus are encouraged to consult early with the Coordinator of Off-Campus Study, Heather Brown, as well as the Director of Disability Services, Jan Edwards, in order to plan for a successful international experience and arrange any available accommodations in advance of departure.
Many students with a variety of disabilities have taken advantage of off-campus study opportunities. Colorado College alumna, Laura Hershey, wrote a book on the process, which is available from the Disability Services office: Survival Strategies for Going Abroad: A Guide for People with Disabilities.
In addition to Laura Hershey’s book, a variety of student experiences are described on the Mobility International USA (MIUSA) website:
“My biggest fear of going abroad was lacking travel friends because they would find my disability too much of a limiting factor in getting around—being creative and clear about what I could do helped me to find travel companions who remain good friends. Researching the transit system … helped alleviate uncertainty … Successful spending time abroad reinforced my confidence in how independent I can be, and was one of the best semesters of college.”
—Carolyn Belle, Colorado College, studied in the Netherlands
- “If you had told me freshman year that I would be in Africa now, I wouldn’t have believed you. … See, I’m diagnosed with ‘anxiety,’ and a touch of obsessive-compulsive disorder thrown in for fun.”
—Stanford student, studied in Kenya
(listen to Her Story: Studying Abroad With a Mental Illness)
- “When I applied to study abroad, I wondered how I would fare in a non-English speaking country as a profoundly deaf person, but I also worried about my health and access to medication. [Yet] I would not trade these memories for anything.”
—Sarah Franz, University of Michigan, studied in Italy and Costa Rica
(read Dreams Come True in Italy and Costa Rica)
- “I was elated to receive a letter … notifying me that I had been granted funding for a full year of study in China … just one week later I was diagnosed with Type I, insulin dependent diabetes … With adequate preparation and support … studying abroad can indeed become a reality”
--Elsie Reed, National Security Education Program Boren Scholarship recipient, studied in China
(read Studying Abroad in China with Diabetes)
MIUSA offers a variety of tip sheets to assist students as they consider off-campus study:
- Learning Disability and ADD/ADHD Questions
- Foreign Languages and Students with Disabilities
- Medications: Tips for Traveling Internationally
- Mental Health-Related Disabilities: Considerations for Exchange Participants
- Insurance Considerations for Exchange Participants with Disabilities
- Guide Dogs and Service Animals While on International Exchange
A full listing of tip sheets is available on the MIUSA website: http://www.miusa.org/ncde/tipsheets
Colorado College maintains a carefully-reviewed list of approved and affiliated programs for off-campus study that should meet the academic needs of most students. This list is available from the Office of International Programs. Please consult the Office of International Programs if you intend to receive credit for any off-campus study plans.
The following websites also provide supplemental information that may benefit students:
- National Clearinghouse of Disability and Exchange
A comprehensive, one-stop web resource on tools for people with disabilities of all types who are interested in international study, volunteering, teaching, and other exchange programs.
- Access Abroad MultiMedia Resource
Provides checklists, information, and other tools for university students with disabilities and for study abroad professionals.
Offers detailed information about the access to hotels, restaurants, colleges, tourist attractions, libraries, hospitals, leisure centers, etc.
- A World Awaits You: Journals of Success in International Exchange for People with Disabilities
A free online journal that includes interviews with people with disabilities who have participated in a wide range of international exchange programs.
- Global Information Access Net (GIANT)
Provides information on minority groups in international education and a database of international affairs organizations.
- Finding Funding for Your Study Abroad
Provides information for students, with and without disabilities, who need financial assistance to study abroad.
- IIE Passport.org
A comprehensive database of university-level study, language learning, and internship opportunities overseas.
Offers a search for all types of international exchange opportunities for everyone from high school students to senior citizens.
- SAFETI (Safety Abroad First—Educational Travel Information) Clearinghouse
This clearinghouse compiles information on safety in study abroad.
- Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality (SATH)
SATH provides information on accessible travel worldwide, including a database and newsletter with travel contacts, stories, and other disability resources.
- Students Abroad
This U.S. Department of State website is a one-stop resource for U.S. citizens of college age who are planning to study abroad.
- Transitions Abroad
Provides practical tips and resource listings on alternative travel, such as volunteering, working, or socially responsible travel abroad.