Connecting with Others Who Have Studied Abroad

I have dedicated a post to this topic because it was only whilst studying abroad and upon returning that I decided to connect with other students who had studied abroad. When talking and comparing experiences, we discovered we had similar concerns prior to going abroad, and we had considered many of the same factors when choosing where to study despite our different disabilities. For this reason, I think it is an excellent idea to reach out to other students and inquire about their international education experiences, or to share a similar interest in exploring a certain country/region.

I would recommend connecting with any disability organizations or resources on your campus and seeing if anyone there has, or knows someone who has, studied abroad. It’s possible that someone may know a student who has already graduated but who completed a semester abroad at the same location you are interested in . Although a student may not have the exact same disability as you, they will still be a great source of information to get a better understanding of not only the physical accessibility of the country you wish to visit, but can give you some insight of what the culture around disability is like. Additionally, connecting with other students can give you an idea of what fun excursions they went on and how to access them.

I would also suggest connecting with the team at Mobility International USA, they are a great resource in general and they have a very large network of students and professionals who have completed programs abroad. They might be able to reach out to someone who lives in your host country or who has also studied there, and connect you. If you are able to speak with someone who has worked with MIUSA it is also possible that they have been featured on MIUSA’s website or externship program which will be another great source of information.

Lastly, I simply suggest going online and searching “studying abroad with a disability”. There are many people who have shared their experiences online whether it be through blog posts , video interviews, or as part of virtual panels. You may be surprised at the amount of stories you’re able to find from disabled people who have gone abroad, in some cases people who have been abroad multiple times in very different areas of the world, and which can help give an insight into what the process might look like for you. In particular, I suggest looking at the Gilman Global Experience Blog, as it contains blogs from Gilman Ambassadors, who are Gilman Scholarship recipients, chosen to write about their experiences while abroad. Many share what it is like to be living in a specific country or region with a particular identity, and how they chose to prepare for their time in their host country.

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