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Study Abroad

Students with disabilities can and do study abroad. SDS strongly recommends that students notify both Student Disability Services as well as the UTSA Education Abroad Services/Department of Study early on so that we can engage in an interactive discussion on any types of accommodations that might need to be implemented. Because of the stress, change in diet, and different living conditions in a foreign setting, some conditions may worsen while abroad.

It is important to keep in mind that many foreign countries do not have the same accessibility laws as in the United States. Therefore it is imperative that you inform the education abroad office and/or the department of study who is sponsoring the program of your needs and/or concerns so that they can be of assistance. If disability accommodations are necessary to fully participate in the program, it is very important to inform both SDS and the UTSA Education Abroad Office in a timely manner as it may take a considerable amount of time to make arrangements.

Some tips/suggestions outline by other international study abroad offices are:

  • What are the physical environments like in your host country?

  • Is learning mainly from lecture, readings, independent research, etc.?

  • How are the assignments different?

  • What housing options exist?

  • Do you need to do their own cooking? Laundry?

  • Is transportation available and accessible?

  • Disclose your disability needs to program staff early, so appropriate arrangements can be made in advance.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Think about how you will answer questions about your disability in the language of your host country--look up key vocabulary words ahead of time.

For more information, including helpful links, articles, and resources for any travel abroad with a disability, please see: