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Study Abroad on a Budget
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Students with Disabilities
Non-U.S. citizens (PDF)*

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Students with Disabilities

In today's global society, it is imperative that students acquire international skills. Study abroad affords an opportunity to develop these skills and makes you more competitive for employment, along with providing the adventure and challenge of exploring different places and being exposed to another culture. As you learn about a new culture you also learn about your own, and in the process you realize what it means to be American.

Students who have studied abroad often say that their time in another country changed their perspective of themselves and the world - in addition to being the most exciting time of their college career! While studying abroad can be challenging, the experience can help you learn more about yourself and your capabilities, building self-confidence in the process.

With more than 300 programs in over 65 countries, study abroad at Michigan State University has become a normal part of the undergraduate experience for many students from various backgrounds.

The MSU Office of Study Abroad and the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities work together to help students with disabilities participate in successful experiences abroad. Refer to the Study Abroad FAQsOpens in new window to start planning!

Use these five keys to unlock the challenge!
Key steps:

  1. Explore your options. Attend the Study Abroad Fair and search for programs of potential interest to you. Consider the connections to your educational and personal goals as well as the requirements for participation. Start identifying potential programs well before you plan to go.

  2. Plan early. If you haven’t already done so, register with RCPD. Communicate with an OSA coordinator, your RCPD disability specialist, your academic adviser, and the leader of the programs that interest you. Ask an array of questions that may play a role in your selection of a program, relative to both your academic interests and potential accommodation needs. (What is the environment like? Where will you travel? What are the housing arrangements? What types of medical care are available? What public transportation is available?) It may be helpful to talk to students with similar disabilities who have studied abroad. If there is no previous MSU participant with a disability similar to yours, OSA may be able to connect you with non-MSU students who have studied at the location of your choice.

  3. Select the program and apply. After engaging with your program leaders and your disability specialist to discover which program is the best fit for you, follow the steps to apply for your program.

  4. Request accommodations specific to your program. Work with your disability specialist to complete the Study Abroad Disability Accommodation Request Form. This should be done at least 12 weeks in advance of your departure to ensure you are aware of accommodations that can be put into place. Please note that OSA and RCPD staff will assist as much as possible, but cannot guarantee that accommodations you request will be feasible or available in the program to which you have applied. Accommodation requests after you arrive in country may not be fulfilled.

  5. Prepare and go! Continue to work with your specialist to fully plan for your pre-departure, study abroad, and return. Adventure out and have a great experience! 


Additional Resources

(not all websites are accessible for persons with disabilities)

Access-Able Travel SourceOpens in new window
Access-Able provides information about: disabled travel, wheelchair travel, disabled holidays, disability travel, handicapped travel, accessible travel, accessible travel, and vacations for disabled, mature travel.

Global Access NewsOpens in new window

Global Access provides a website where disabled travelers can share their experiences.

Mobility International USA (MIUSA)Opens in new window

Mobility International USA is a non-profit organization that is a cross-disability organization serving those with cognitive, hearing, learning, mental health, physical, systemic, vision and other disabilities.

A World of Options

A Guide to International Exchange, Community Service and Travel for Persons with Disabilities
(1997 edition published by Mobility International USA: MIUSA and available at OSA)

*Adobe Acrobat Reader Opens in new window is required to read PDF documents.