Accessibility Off-Campus

Because we want all students to enjoy a safe and rewarding study abroad experience, we encourage students with documented disabilities to consider the types of accommodations they will need when exploring the possibilities for study abroad. Many programs Lawrence offers are accessible to most students with disabilities, and we will work to ensure reasonable accommodations, when they can be arranged.

Attitudes and laws related to disabilities, both physical and mental, vary by culture and these differences impact the level of accommodation and services available in a particular location.  Students are advised to work closely with both the Off-Campus Programs office and the program provider to prepare to participate in a study abroad program.  It is strongly recommended that you inform your program of your disability in advance of your participation; this will allow both you and the program to have a plan to address potential issues in advance of your participation.

While experiencing a country’s disabilities services that may be quite different from the U.S., please keep a positive and friendly attitude.  A lack of services may not necessarily be due to the country’s ignorance or avoidance of persons with disabilities, but rather due to a lack of funds and resources to inclusively support all of the country’s population.

Do not let perceived challenges dissuade you from studying abroad.  By living in a different culture for a prolonged period of time, you will gain a greater understanding of not only how that culture views those with disabilities, but also why that came to be.  These experiences will help you understand your identity as someone with a disability better across cultures.  You may gain an appreciation for everything you have at home to support you or you may even learn of a service you would like to see implemented here in the United States.

Questions you should consider for further research:

• What kind of accommodations will I need abroad?
• How are people with my disability viewed abroad?
• What are the laws regarding accessibility in my host country?  How accessible are places in my host country?
• Do I have the appropriate documentation for my accommodations?
• Will I need access to ongoing medical care or treatment for my disability while I am off-campus?
• What is the local learning environment like?  Are there additional support services available for students of varying abilities?
• What housing and transportation options exist?
• Who are the faculty and staff I will need to work with on site to make arrangements for my accommodations?
• Is it possible for the program to accommodate my disability in the same way it would be accommodated on campus? If not, am I willing and able to make adjustments in order to participate in this particular program?