Study Abroad & Students with Disabilities | Webster University

Study Abroad & Students with Disabilities

Webster University encourages all students to study abroad including those individuals who have disability or accessibility challenges. With the proper planning, study abroad can be a wonderful experience for all students. We encourage students to start a discussion with their study abroad advisor and their Academic ADA Coordinator in the Academic Resource Center (ARC) early in the study abroad planning process to assess needs and talk about setting up any on-site accommodations.

Some questions to consider are:

What study abroad program will best fit your academic needs?
Which program can provide accommodations for your disability?
What cultural differences exist that may create barriers to accessibility?

Students should examine their specific needs and adaptions to make sure the program of interest will be able to support them during each part of the program (arrival, orientation, campus life, classrooms, travel, and technology). Once students are abroad, they'll need to be realistic about the challenges that may occur. For example, students who are usually very self-sufficient may realize that they will need more assistance than normal. Students will need to be open, flexible, and be willing to work through any challenges experienced in their new cultural context. Countries outside of the US can sometimes have different laws, regulations and approaches to disability services so students should be aware of this and consider it in their study abroad planning.

It works best when students proactively reach out to the Academic ADA Coordinator to discuss their study abroad plans and request letters. This should ideally happen at least 1 month prior to departure if not earlier. The ARC will email the student’s accommodation letter to the academic director of the program and will email a copy of the accommodation letter to the student for the student to take with them to their study abroad location. It is the student’s responsibility to reach out the academic director and instructors at their program site to make sure the program site got the letter and to discuss their accommodation requirements.

Here are some additional resources which may be useful to students with disabilities (or their families) as they plan to study abroad.