An estimated three percent of study abroad participants today have disabilities, apparent or non-apparent. Reasonable accommodations are negotiated on a case-by-case basis with program provider staff. A good program provider will work to include you in every aspect of the experience by making accommodations when possible. It is important to disclose your support needs early to be sure they can be met by the program.
Students who plan to use academic testing accommodations during their study abroad
programs should plan to bring both a copy of their educational testing as well as a letter
of verification from the Office of Disability Services. Providing your documentation to the appropriate office is required to set up accommodations just as it is here at Kenyon. It is recommended that you maintain a copy of these documents in your personal file as well. This material cannot be easily sent to your study abroad programs in a timely manner so it is important for you to have these documents with you when you arrive.
Anticipate differences in the way your host community may provide support. Your host culture may have different perceptions or may handle disability differently. Even if that culture approaches disability in the same way the US does, you may be studying with students from all over the world who will bring their culturally specific expectations with them. It's a good idea to prepare yourself by reading about your host culture, by talking to alumni of your program, and by acquiring the language skills to talk about your disability with those on your program and in your host country before you go.
For more information about off-campus study with a disability, please see:
The Access Abroad website at the University of Minnesota
The Center for Global Engagement staff at Kenyon College wish to thank Brown University, the University of Minnesota, Seattle University, Brandeis University, NAFSA: Association of International Educators, particularly the Rainbow SIG, and the University of Denver for sharing their resources for diversity abroad.