International Studies Abroad ®est. 1987


Students with Disabilities

Information for students With disabilities: Make the most of your experience abroad!

As the enriching opportunities provided through study abroad are increasingly becoming part of the mainstream undergraduate experience, ISA has established advising services, both in the U.S. and abroad, to support the special needs of students with disabilities. ISA staff, services and programs honor and frequently reference the policies, guidelines and suggestions established by the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and organizations such as Mobility International USA (MIUSA) to ensure students with disabilities are afforded a safe, healthy and positive study abroad experience.

Now that you are enrolled within an ISA study abroad program, you can begin taking the necessary steps to secure program elements on your behalf, in addition to researching your host culture and country. As a student with a disability, this pre-departure, 'preparation' phase in the study abroad process is imperative. Preparation for your time abroad will not only benefit your readiness for international travel, but will also be very informative for ISA to better ensure program elements meet your specific needs.

Whether you request additional time for test taking or need wheelchair accessible housing, we strongly urge that you adhere to the following suggestions:

  1. Be honest and open with the information you provide ISA. ISA holds all personal information confidential in following with the guidelines of the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
  2. Submit your ISA acceptance paperwork in a timely manner. Once aware of your specific needs we can communicate directly with your ISA On-Site Resident Directors to proactively ensure all appropriate steps are in line for a successful program.
  3. Do independent research to gather more information about students/traveling with disabilities in your host country and culture.

While it's true that people from around the world have special needs, it is also true that each country or culture may be unique as to how they approach an individual with a disability or the specific needs they require. Generally speaking, the United States is well prepared for handling disabilities of any level. However, when traveling abroad you can expect differences and even daily limitations that you would not generally witness within the States. Things may be more challenging abroad than you initially expect, as in many cases there will not be elevators, designated crosswalks or resource centers on your host university campus. Don't let that stop you! By following the suggestions outlined above, you are setting yourself up for success!

Please contact ISA for further questions or concerns.

Other helpful sections in the ISA Online Orientation:

- Living in the country and learning the language
- Health
- Safety
- Accommodations
- Transportation
- City Living

Additional Helpful Resources:

- Mobility International USA (MIUSA)
- U.S. Department of Transportation - Disability Resource Center -
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-
- The Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality (SATH)- an educational nonprofit group who publishes a travel magazine and offers advice (
- Access-Able Travel Source- access information and resources, and offers a free email newsletter-
- Rick Steves: Travelers with Disabilities -