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Students with Disabilities

UW-Eau Claire and the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities help students with physical, health, mobility, learning, sensory, and psychological disabilities fully participate in University programs, services, and activities.

The Center for International Education recognizes that students with disabilities may require accommodations in order to succeed academically. If you are thinking about studying abroad, here are some things for you to consider while looking for a study abroad program:

Services Available

The services available at sites abroad will vary according to the laws and requirements of the host country.  You can find basic information about most UW-Eau Claire programs abroad through the links in this document: 
Services for Students with Disabilities Abroad

Level of Academic Independence

Each program has on-site staff to help students transition into their academic setting and to answer any questions or concerns. 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 the home institutions, but not all countries allow the same types of academic accommodations you may receive here. If you require any accommodations to help you succeed academically while abroad, check with the CIE to see which programs might best fit your needs.

Living Situation

There are a number of options available in terms of housing. Homestays with a host family provide an excellent opportunity to experience and learn about everyday life in your host country and give you a chance to feel a part of a family. Apartments or dorm style living arrangements allow you to meet other students, either American or non-American from universities around the world. 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.

Financial Assistance

Financial aid awarded through FAFSA can be used to pay for your study abroad program. Students who receive Pell Grants are eligible to apply for the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship which 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-Eau Claire Foundation. Two $1500 Fleming scholarships are awarded annually.  There are a number of other UW-Eau Claire Foundation scholarships for students accepted to study abroad.  

UW-Eau Claire is a member of the Diversity Abroad Network and with that membership comes access for our students to apply to their scholarships. If you meet all eligibility requirements for the Diversity Abroad Network Scholarships, we strongly encourage you to apply. To learn more about those, please see our Additional Scholarships page and scroll down to "Diversity Abroad Scholarships." In addition, there may be other scholarships open to you, so be sure to look through them all.

Other Resources

Abroad with Disabilities
This non-profit organization was founded to provide resources and to encourage open dialogue relevant to going abroad with a disability. Their Abroad With Disabilities (AWD) Live sessions are available for anyone to ask questions, share resources, and chat with others through Skype via voice or video call, or messaging.

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 student 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. 

Study Abroad Program Considerations
Things to think about to help guide you in choosing a study abroad program that will work for you.

Frequently Asked Questions
Questions regarding application, disclosure and availability of accommodations.

Learn more from Andrew Maher

Interview with Andrew