Study Abroad and International Programs

Study Abroad and International Programs

Quick Tips for Students Registered with ARS Going Abroad

  • Study Abroad has an Adviser, Anna Wilson (wilsonac@email.unc.edu) who will work with students with a disability on identifying an appropriate program, making necessary arrangements and negotiating accommodations; you should make contact with Anna as early as possible and share information about your current accommodations by using the Professor Notification system from https://arsportal.unc.edu; add Anna as if you would add a class to your record. This will allow Study Abroad and ARS to make appropriate arrangements and for discussions with a host institution about reasonable accommodations to be started well in advance.
  • It is important to communicate your needs and consider alternative ways to meet them. Study Abroad and Accessibility Resources & Service and are here to assist you before and during your trip abroad.
  • Be prepared to share information about your accommodations and documentation as early as possible with your host institution so that consideration can be given to your support needs when at your overseas site. In some cases, you may be required to present medical documentation to the disability office at your host university after arrival in order to be granted certain accommodations.  Make sure that you take all documentation related to your accommodations with you or have access to it (e.g. digitally), and contact the disability office as soon as possible upon arrival to set up or confirm your accommodations.
  • Remember that other cultures may provide disability access in a different way. Learn about what types of accommodation are typically provided in your host country, and be flexible and open to different ways of accommodating your disability. It may well be the case that the accommodations you receive at UNC cannot be replicated precisely in your host country.
  • Remember that you will be subject to the disability laws of your host country and not the laws applicable in the United States.

How Accommodations Can Differ

  • Some disability resources and services that are provided at UNC may not be available overseas.
  • To obtain a visa some countries require health information, this can delay the process.
  • Electrical devices / laptops may need convertors / adapters to work with the local electricity supply.
  • Learning disabilities may not be recognized in some countries, or recognized differently.
  • Sign language interpreters may not be certified or available at all times, and interpreting will generally be in the sign language of the country rather than ASL.
  • Some countries quarantine service animals before they are allowed into the country.
  • Consider whether spare parts and repair mechanisms are available for essential assistive technology and mobility aids.

Medical/Prescription Needs

  • If you take medication, make sure you have enough to last throughout the entire stay.
  • All medication should be stored in the original containers with their label attached and visible.
  • Carry a letter from a health professional that describes the medication. If possible have a copy in the host country's language.
  • Always carry medication in your carry-on in the event your checked bag is delayed or lost.
  • Confirm your health insurance will cover any disability-related medical needs while overseas; students can use their mandatory study abroad health insurance to research drug equivalencies, translate medication names, locate health professionals abroad, arrange payment for most medical visits abroad, and obtain reimbursements for certain medications purchased in their host country.
  • Ensure your medication is legal in your host country by contacting the consulate or embassy.

In preparation

  • Work early on with Accessibility Resources & Service and Study Abroad to arrange accommodations at your overseas site.
  • Identify a 'go-to' staff member at your overseas site who can help you assist you if you have difficulties and make contact with that person before you arrive.
  • Before you go, find out as much as you can about your host culture and how they view disability by reading, talking to other students, and attending pre-departure orientation sessions. The more you know, the better prepared you will be for the interaction between your disability and the new environment.

Other Information

  • Once abroad, on-site staff may help connect you with a student who has a similar disability.

  • An excellent source of study abroad stories from students with disabilities is Mobility International USA - www.miusa.org/ , an organization which promotes international exchange for people with disabilities. You'll find a number of student articles published in their AWAY journal (A World Awaits You).

Quick Tips for International Students Needing Accommodations

  • UNC's Study Abroad program has an Adviser, Anna Wilson (wilsonac@email.unc.edu) who will work with students with a disability on making necessary arrangements and negotiating accommodations; you should make contact with Anna as early as possible and share information about your current accommodations by using the Self Identification form. This will allow Study Abroad and Accessibility Resources & Service to make appropriate arrangements and for discussions about reasonable accommodations to be started well in advance. Make sure that you bring any medical documentation related to your accommodations with you or have access to it (e.g. digitally), and contact Accessibility Resources & Service as soon as possible upon arrival to set up or confirm your accommodations.
  • Remember that disability accommodations and services may differ to those you are familiar with in your home country. For information about the 'typical' range of accommodations implemented for students when at UNC please visit Accommodations, Resources and Services.
  • It may well be the case that the accommodations you receive at your home institution cannot be replicated precisely at UNC.
  • Remember that you will be subject to the disability laws of the United States and not those of your home country.

How Accommodations Can Differ

  • Some disability services that are provided at your home institution may not be available at UNC.
  • To obtain a visa to enter The US you will have to provide health information, which can delay the process.
  • Electrical devices / laptops may need convertors / adapters to work with the US electricity supply.
  • Some disabilities may not be recognized in the US or recognized differently.
  • Sign language interpreters will generally be in American Sign Language, not in the language of your home country.
  • Consider whether spare parts and repair mechanisms are available for essential assistive technology and mobility aids.

Medical/Prescription Needs

  • If you take medication, make sure you have enough to last throughout the entire stay.
  • All medication should be stored in the original containers with their label attached and visible.
  • Carry a letter from a health professional (in English) that describes the medication.
  • Always carry medication in your carry-on in the event your checked bag is delayed or lost.
  • If you may need to refill a prescription, ensure that the medication you need is available in the United States or ask your medical provider to identify an alternative.
  • Confirm your health insurance will cover any disability-related medical needs while in The US.
  • Ensure your medication is legal in the US by contacting the consulate or embassy.

In preparation

Other Information

  • Once at UNC, on-site staff can help connect you with a student who has a similar disability.
  • An excellent source of study abroad stories from students with disabilities is Mobility International USA - www.miusa.org/ , an organization which promotes international exchange for people with disabilities. You'll find a number of student articles published in their AWAY journal (A World Awaits You).
  • EASE (Easing Abroad Student Entry) is a student-run organization that seeks to provide resources to assist the transition of both incoming and returning study abroad students; membership is open to all UNC students. UNC and International students are paired in a mentor/mentee relationship and they have social events that are open to all students: https://studentlife.unc.edu/organization/ease/about or http://uncease.web.unc.edu/.