Below please find a list of resources I have compiled that I think may help facilitate your study abroad experience. Some are disability focused while others are scholarships/programs that can assist in covering the financial cost of an international study experience.
These listed resources are by no means all the options you have for further researching and applying to international education programs, but they are the ones I am most familiar with. I hope they are able to provide a starting point as you begin learning about international exchange.
MIUSA is a disability-led non-profit dedicated to advancing disability rights globally through international exchange opportunities. In a previous post I mentioned that they can be a great way to connect with someone who has studied or worked abroad. However, they also provide excellent programing and trainings for individuals interested in studying abroad and for professionals working in international exchange. Additionally, they have information for both U.S. citizens interested in going abroad and non-U.S. citizens coming to the United States. I would recommend suscribing to their Access to Exchange E-News as they often share programs or events where you can learn about studying or volunteering abroad. In addition, they host informative panels with alumni who have varying disabilities and have completed study abroad programs, such as the Fulbright Program. I highly suggest connecting with their staff as well and asking any questions you might have about what resources may be available to you in another country.
Diversity Abroad is another great organization that I wish I would have known about before embarking on my international experience. They are dedicated to connecting young people from traditionally marginalized and underrepresented backgrounds with the knowledge and resources needed to study abroad. they have an article focused exclusively on students with disabilities, and have created their own list of questions and considerations for you to use. You can find the article here. They also have links to programs and scholarships for you to check out,. Lastly, they host a Global Student Leadership Summitwhere students of diverse backgrounds share their international exchange experiences.
This is a scholarship administered by the U.S. department of State to assist students of limited financial means interested in studying abroad. They are particularly interested in awarding the scholarship to students who have typically been underrepresented in international exchange such as students with disabilities. You can find more information about the program and the application here. You are required to submit an essay as part of your application where you can express why you are interested in visiting the country you’ve chosen, and it can be a great place to highlight why you are interested in international opportunities as a disabled person. Additionally, if you wish to travel to a country or program that is not commonly chosen by U.S. students, you can explain the particular interest you have in that country/program which will definitely help your application stand out.
You have probably heard of the Fulbright Program, but in case you haven’t, it is a program that provides grants to students interested in studying, conducting research, or teaching English abroad. The program is very prestigious and competitive but they are definitely looking for students who will bring a new and diverse perspective to international exchange. They host virtual panels before the application is due and you can learn more about the process of applying. I would also ask your home institution about this program as they might have more resources on how you can apply as a student of that university.
This is a conference that was shared with me by a member of MIUSA’s staff, and which is an excellent resource for anyone interested in learning about international exchange from students who are disabled, black, LGBTQ+, or low-income. The 2021 conference was held virtually and all their sessions are available online so go explore! I would also keep checking their website to see if they have any upcoming panels or programming that you could join live.
The Institute of International Education manages many programs in over 180 countries. They have a section on their website where you can browse programs and scholarships available depending on what region of the world you’re interested in. Additionally, you can search for programs based on fields of study which can be helpful if you are required to complete certain educational components as part of your degree or if your interested in finding programs that could lead to employment in international affairs or international development.