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Disabilities and accomodations abroad

Accommodations are available to students who study abroad, and CGIS advisors are available to help you explore your options. The Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) office is also available to help you know how the accommodations you receive at UM might be secured for your international experience. Please note that this is not always the case, as different countries have differing laws regarding access and accommodations. Making arrangements for accommodations is the personal responsibility of the student, although CGIS and SSD are available for guidance and assistance. If you hope to use your accommodations abroad, you must obtain an advocacy letter—known as a Verified Individualized Services and Accommodations form—from the office of Services for Students with Disabilities. You must submit a copy of this form to CGIS. Please note that need for accommodations is never a criterion for selection or admission to a program.  

In order to determine what accommodations might be possible abroad, the interested student should consult with UM’s SSD, the CGIS Health and Safety Advisor, and the host institution abroad to assess the student’s needs and the accommodation possibilities. It is best for students to identify several programs that meet their academic interests, since many CGIS locations will have different types of accessibility. 

Students should be aware that federal and state laws do not require the university to provide funding for accommodations and facilities beyond US borders.

It is the student’s responsibility to assure that any funding required for special services abroad is arranged well in advance. If funding is not available, students are responsible for all costs associated with special services abroad.

Students who disclose needs at the last minute, or who require accommodations that cannot be made available in the host country, may be advised to postpone participation.

Check out Mobility International's AWAY (A World Awaits You) journal for many student articles and perspectives on traveling the world with disabilities. 

Explore Perspectives by Country

For most students, study abroad is an amazing, sometimes even life-changing experience. CGIS has prepared in-progress documents intended to provide identity-related background information and context from news sources and other resources. These documents are a springboard for your own research: they might prepare you for some of the specific dynamics that you may experience in several countries that are the most popular with CGIS students (Australia, China, Costa Rica, France, Israel and Palestine, South Africa, Spain, and the United Kingdom) but these documents are only a starting point, by no means an absolute or exhaustive list.


Even though you might be a minority based on your nationality in your host country, you may also receive additional attention for your additional identities, including race and ethnicity, which may or may not be discrimination. You might feel judgment from people based on your gender, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, disability, or religion, and your unique identities interact and intersect with one another to affect your experience. Remember that nowhere in the world is completely free of ignorance. No matter what happens, don’t let the possibility of discrimination keep you from experiencing and enjoying the life-changing opportunity to study abroad.


Keep in mind that although these excerpts and anecdotes might ring true for some, every identity and experience is unique, and you will have your own, specific experience abroad. These are living documents, and we encourage you to contact us at spauling@umich.edu or nestore@umich.edu if you would like to add your own experiences, input, or other resources to the list, for these or other countries.

Click here for our in-progress compilation of excerpts and anecdotes to start your own research!