Study Abroad - Outgoing Students
Quick Tips for Students with Accommodations
- Remember that you will be subject to the disability laws of your host country and not the laws applicable in The United States.
- Study Abroad will work with students with a disability on identifying an appropriate program, making necessary arrangements and negotiating accommodations. You should make contact with email@example.com as early as possible and share information about your current accommodations. 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.
- Be prepared to share information about your accommodations as early as possible with your host institution. 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 their disability office as soon as possible upon arrival to set up or confirm your accommodations.
- Keep in mind that other cultures may provide disability access in a different way. Learn about what types of accommodations 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.
How Accommodations Can Differ
- Some disability resources and services that are provided at UNC may not be available in another country.
- To obtain a visa some countries require health information, which can delay the process.
- Electrical devices from hair dryers to laptops may need convertors or adapters to work with the local electricity supply.
- Learning disabilities may not be recognized in some countries, or may be 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 (American Sign Language).
- Some countries quarantine service animals before they are allowed into the country.
- Availability of spare parts and repair mechanisms for essential assistive technology and mobility aids may vary.
Medical Needs and Prescriptions
- 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.
- 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.
- 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, 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).
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