Preparation for Studying Abroad
Studying Abroad is an exciting and important opportunity available to UArizona students. DRC and Arizona International collaborate with disabled students to explore options to study abroad, facilitate reasonable accommodations, and to provide information to students about accessibility for study abroad programs.
Your conversation with your Access Consultant about your accommodations while abroad may include discussions about academic, housing, physical access, transportation, communication access (interpreters, captioning), or assistive technology-related accommodations. Depending on the type of study abroad program you will be attending, your accommodations may be overseen by University of Arizona faculty or by a partner institution in your host country. You may also need to submit additional documentation and forms to your host institution.
We recommend you contact the DRC as soon as possible to explore and discuss your accommodations while abroad. If you are already affiliated with the DRC, please contact your Access Consultant. If you are not yet affiliated with DRC, please complete our affiliation form.
There are important aspects to a study abroad program beyond your accommodations that we recommend you research prior to your departure, such as: the disability laws in your host country, information about traveling with your medications, access to medical providers while abroad, accessible transportation, laws about service animals and guide dogs, and airline accessibility. Please review this information and our recommended resources below to learn more.
Please note on your study abroad application that you are eligible for accommodations, or that you would like to explore options for accommodations while abroad. Your designated Access Consultant will then contact you to discuss your next steps for your specific study abroad program.
Accommodations will need to be explored and confirmed with your program in the context of each country's legal framework. Disability laws, accommodations, and perceptions will vary based on your host country – the key for any student studying abroad is flexibility and communication with the relevant departments and staff. Students are encouraged to meet with their Access Consultant and with the Study Abroad office to discuss any questions you may have about study abroad programs.
Students who have not yet affiliated with the DRC, but would like to explore accommodations while abroad, will need to submit a DRC affiliation form.
Questions to consider when applying for study abroad programs
- How long do you feel comfortable studying abroad for? Have you traveled to another country before?
- What laws and infrastructure are in place for disabled people?
- How is the physical accessibility of the host country?
- Are there countries where your required accommodations are not available?
- Are your prescribed medications legal in your host country?
- What types of classes might you be taking? Will you need to request academic accommodations?
- What housing options are provided for this program?
- Will you need to do your own cleaning, cooking, and laundry?
- Will there be day trips, or solo travel opportunities?
- Will you need to organize and schedule your own airfare or other forms of public transportation?
- Is transportation accessible and available?
- What strategies do you use on campus to manage your disability-related symptoms and accessibility? How might you need to modify these while abroad?
Types of Study Abroad and Study Away Programs at UArizona
Arizona Abroad Locations
Students study abroad at UA locations through our partner universities or institutions across the world for a summer, semester, or academic year. Students can choose from a variety of courses at each destination and depending on the location, may take classes with other UArizona students. Learn more about Arizona Abroad locations and UA Global Track locations.
Programs organized and/or taught by UArizona professors and staff. Students travel with other UArizona students. Participants earn direct UArizona credit, which means grades received are calculated into the UA GPA.
Students attend one of UA's partner institutions abroad for a semester or academic year and attend classes with a mix of local and international students.
Please note: space is limited on some exchanges, so apply early!
National Student Exchange
Students can choose to spend a semester or academic year at one of approximately 200 colleges and universities in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, Canada, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more about National Student Exchange.
Cultural & Inclusive Experiential Learning Opportunities (CIELO)
Travel experiences are provided outside of Arizona International by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. CIELO integrates travel, multicultural education, and service learning to empower students with knowledge and skill sets to utilize as they continue their careers at UA and beyond. CIELO actively seeks to provide a valuable holistic student experience in the form of short-term trips both domestic and abroad. Learn more about their trip offerings on the CIELO website.
Tips for Students
- Discuss your accommodations and access needs with your Access Consultant and the Study Abroad office early, so necessary arrangements and reasonable accommodations can be implemented.
- Accommodations may be provided in a different way than at the University of Arizona. Learn about what kinds of accommodations are provided in your host country and ways your disability may be accommodated.
- Research the disability laws and infrastructure of your host country – expectations around accessibility and legal protections will be different in every country, we recommend you research this information and experiences of disabled travelers and citizens of your host country.
- You may need different or additional accommodations while abroad – these may include housing, transportation, and academic accommodations.
- There may be cultural differences with how disability is viewed and treated in other countries. Before you leave for your study abroad program, research your host culture.
- You may need to discuss your disability and health while abroad – look up key phrases and translations in your host country’s language. If you know you may need access to medical care while abroad, please notify your Access Consultant and the Study Abroad office.
Health & Safety Abroad
Study Abroad has information about health and safety on their website, and as part of their Pre-Departure Orientation. Additionally, they list emergency and crisis contacts at the University of Arizona.
We recommend that you notify your primary care provider, and other medical professionals and specialists you work with that you plan to study abroad. It will be important to discuss what your access to care and prescribed medications may look like while you are abroad.
Additionally, laws around medications vary depending on your host country. We recommend that you research any restrictions around your prescribed medications and recommendations for traveling with your prescribed medications. If you will be traveling with any medical equipment, or if you use a mobility device, please check with your specific airline(s) for more information.
If you are already affiliated with the Disability Resource Center, please contact your Access Consultant directly. If you have not yet affiliated, please contact us at email@example.com with any questions, and fill out our affiliation form.
For any questions about specific study abroad programs, please contact the University of Arizona Study Abroad Office firstname.lastname@example.org or call at (520) 626-9211.
- Mobility International USA & National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange: excellent resource center for disability-related questions about going abroad
- CDC Traveler Advice: provides general recommendations for preparing to travel internationally, as well as information for disabled and chronically ill individuals, and for individuals with weakened immune systems or mental health diagnoses.
- US Department of State – Traveling with Disabilities: offers wealth of valuable information regarding traveling abroad with a disability
- Access Abroad: Comprehensive guide from the University of Minnesota for students with disabilities who want to study abroad. They also provide a checklist for disabled students, and pre-departure preparation tips.
- Abroad with Disabilities Facebook Community:(link is external) discuss topics relevant to study abroad and learn about resources and tips to prepare for your trip
- National Deaf Center: Information specific for Deaf students on studying abroad
- National Deaf Center Study Abroad Planning Guide: a guide for Deaf students preparing to study abroad
- U.S. Embassies and Consulates: information about locations of all U.S. Embassies and Consulates by Country
- International Narcotics Board: Travelling Internationally with Medicines Containing Controlled Substances.
- CDC Traveling Abroad with Medication: Recommendations and helpful information about traveling abroad with medications
- Service Animals Abroad: Information from MIUSA about traveling abroad with service animals or a guide dog.
Disability Laws internationally:
- United Nations: Disability Law by Country
- MIUSA Tip Sheet: Disability Rights & Laws
- Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF): International Disability Rights