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Students with Disabilities

UWEC and the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) help students with physical, health, mobility, learning, sensory, and psychological disabilities fully participate in University programs, services, and activities.

The CIE recognizes that students with disabilities may require accommodations in order to succeed academically. If you are thinking about studying abroad, here are some things to consider:

Services Available

The services available at sites abroad will vary according to the laws and requirements of the host country. We have tried to pull out information on each program's brochure page, under the "Housing | Meals | Campus Life" tab. Programs that have their own student disability offices are linked so you can see what other universities can provide. Services to consider are:

Academic Independence
Each program has on-site staff that are available to answer questions/concerns regarding your new academic setting. You will find some programs are very group-oriented, while others offer a much more individual and independent learning environment.
Some institutions routinely grant academic accommodations based on accommodations at UWEC, but not all countries allow the same types of academic accommodations you may receive here. If you require any accommodations while abroad, check with the CIE to see which programs best fit your needs.

Living Situation
There are a number of options available in terms of housing. If you are uncomfortable living with a roommate or host family, there are several programs that offer single rooms. Accessibility of housing will vary. Check with the CIE to find out what options are available in programs you are considering.

Additional Services
You may have a list of questions or you may be asking yourself, what else?! Here are some additional questions to consider: Disability Resource Questions to Consider

Financial Assistance

Our Funding Study Abroad pages have a lot of financial resources. In particular, we want you to be aware of:
  • Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship: seeks to support students who are traditionally under-represented in study abroad, including students with disabilities. 
  • The Laurel & Mark Fleming Scholarship for Students with Disabilities is offered through the UW-EC Foundation. Two, $1,500 Fleming scholarships are awarded annually.
  • Diversity Abroad Network: UWEC is a member university and if you are eligible for their scholarships, we encourage you to apply! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I disclose my disability when I apply for a study abroad program?
Disability information is an educational record protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) which governs the privacy of student educational records. We strongly encourage you to disclose disability information, after program acceptance, on the “Medical and Disability Self-Assessment” questionnaire in your UWEC BlugoldsAbroad account. FERPA authorizes the CIE to seek confirmation of disability status and need for accommodation because the CIE has a legitimate educational interest and need to know in order to fulfill our professional responsibilities. Disclosure permits the study abroad staff to work with you and answer important questions about what access is available in the countries and programs you are considering. Protections available in different countries depend on the laws in that country, not the laws in the U.S. Not all accommodations are available in all countries.

What do I do if I am denied access to academic accommodations for my disability once I arrive at my host institution?
Availability of accommodations should be determined prior to your departure. If an agreed-upon accommodation is denied on-site, document when the denial was made and in what manner it was made (keep any documentation available) and contact your UWEC study abroad coordinator. Let them know what happened, providing any detail and documentation that you have. Although UWEC cannot guarantee any particular result, the CIE can follow up to determine the source of the denial and see if there are alternative solutions.

What if I decide not to use accommodations abroad?
The choice to use accommodations is entirely up to you. However, it is important to remember that if you decline to use available accommodations provided during the study abroad experience, and do poorly in classes, the grade earned will stand.
These questions were adapted from the International Academic Programs Office at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Additional Resources

  • Mobility International USA (MIUSA)
    • MIUSA is a disability-led non-profit organization that has been advancing disability rights and leadership globally since 1981. Their website has great resources on how plan for your time abroad.
  • WheelChair Travel
    • This wheelchair travel blog was started by wheelchair user, John Morris, to share his experiences about overcoming accessibility barriers while he has traveled to 27 countries and territories (and counting!).
  • So You Want to Study Abroad: A Guide for Students with Learning Disabilities
    • This helpful booklet was written by Andrew Maher, a UWEC alum who studied abroad in Japan. He wrote it as part of the service requirement for the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship he received in support of his time abroad.
  • The Global Access Files
    • A blog, created by Elizabeth (non-UWEC student), who has studied and lived abroad and uses a wheelchair. This blog has resources for students with disabilities who are planning on studying abroad.