Students with Disabilities & Mental Illness
We at the Global Learning Office (GLO) are here to support all Marymount students and we encourage all students who meet the program requirements to apply for a study abroad program. Given that not all program locations are as accessible as their equivalent in the United States, our office is happy to work with you to explore your options and find a program that will suit your needs.
Many countries around the world are expanding their access and related services for persons with disabilities. However, the extent of their access-related services and accommodations varies significantly between different countries just as it varies between urban and rural areas within those countries. Hence, when planning each trip, as well as excursions on that trip, we ask that you take into account your unique access considerations.
We would like to assist you in making the best overseas choice as possible. In order to do so please let us know your thoughts about travel and what some of your needs might be in making that plan. Your acceptance into the program will not be influenced by informing our office about any access needs you may require as related to a disability.
We encourage you to begin the research and application process for your study abroad process as early as possible.
Here are some tips we recommend while applying:
- Disclose your disability early on so we can talk with our partners overseas about access needs to help you find the best program available.
- Talk to your clinician to see if you are able to go abroad and if you are, then what plans might need to be put into place in case of experiencing an “event” related to your disability or an “event” related to an emergency (e.g. fire, earthquake).
- If you have mobility needs, check the Mobility International USA website to see what access is available in the country you are considering for travel.
- Speak to Student Access Services (SAS) about what services and accommodations you will be requesting while you are abroad.
- When you have chosen a study abroad program and started an application, please fill out the accommodation form on our study abroad portal so we can best partner with you.
- Talk to your counselor, therapist, or psychologist and our Counseling Center professional staff members to discuss your plans for study abroad and what you will need while abroad.
- Remember that different countries have varying approaches to disabilities which may be different than what you have used in the past.
- Be flexible and brainstorm creative ways to gain access in light of a disability while abroad.
Some questions to ask yourself before you go abroad are:
- What does a “path of travel” look like for me if I have trouble navigating over terrain which is uneven, on a steep incline, and/or not marked? For example, do the buildings and activities (and the means to get to them) require that I use steep stairs, very narrow sidewalks, and unaltered street curbs (no curb cuts)?
- What are elevators’ capacities and dimensions?
- What will my ability be to both exit and enter buildings? This is important because some untouched historical areas are populated with doors that are resistant to opening and closing.
- What is the accessibility of public transportation there whether it be turnstile availability, restrooms on train, etc.?
- If I take medication, is this medication legal to have in my host country & what documentation would I need? What are some alternatives if it is not?
- What equipment (medical devices and physical supports) should I bring with me? Can these items by easily placed in carry-on overhead storage or in a standard airport and train storage locker? Keep in mind that many lockers are significantly smaller than the ones stateside.
- If I use a service animal, are there any laws in my host country regarding service animals? Do I understand the difference between a service animal and emotional support animal and how that definition might change overseas? Are animals required to be quarantined before arrival? Is there a veterinarian near where I would be staying/housed?
- Are auxiliary aids (e.g. typically services where necessary to ensure effective communication) available in my host country?
- What are some common beliefs about my disability in my host country?
- How should I react if I find something said about me or to me which is offensive?
- What are some resources or organizations in my host country that can help me while I am abroad?
Other General Resources:
- CDC Website for Travelers with Disabilities
- State Department: Traveling with Disabilities
- Unpacked: Students with Special Needs
- IES: Student Diversity & Access: A study abroad website with country-specific information regarding a variety of subjects including disability and mental illness accommodations for some locations.
- “Access Abroad with a Disability”
Resources for Students with Disabilities:
- Mobility International USA: A website designed to inform individuals with mobility needs about accessibility abroad
- Students with Disabilities Abroad
- “How Students with Disabilities Can Study Abroad”
- Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality
- “An Overview of Braille Around the World”
- European Dyslexia Association
- “Getting the Conversation Started: Learning Disabilities”