The University of Iowa

Students with Disabilities Abroad

In addition to the assistance that a study abroad advisor can provide, you can find several student reflections and staff perspectives from members of the University of Iowa community who have agreed to share their experiences in hopes that you might benefit from what they learned on their journeys abroad. 

Student Reflections
Diversity Ambassador Sydney Alexander

Student Reflections on Disabilities Abroad: Becoming Fearless in Italy

As a student with learning disabilities, routine and structure is something that I not only need, but that I like to change as little as possible. So as you can imagine, choosing to study abroad was one of the most adventurous, risky, and nerve-wracking decisions I’ve ever made. Flash forward to now: if you would have told me I would come back after just twelve weeks abroad a fearless, tenacious, culturally competent problem solver with a newly acquired travel addiction, I would have made the choice a long time ago.

Tips for balanced mental and physical health in China

Although both the Chinese government and public are increasingly aware of China’s high prevalence of depression, burnout, and milder mental health concerns, the topic is not commonly discussed on local campuses. Chinese students often do not divulge their mental health status to close friends and family, and from what I have observed, the newly-arrived international students who are eager to integrate, do not either.

University of Iowa Resources

The local resources links below are relevant for students with disabilities on the UI campus. The national and international resources links include organizations, articles, success stories and tips for  students who are preparing to go abroad.

Student Disability Services

Student Disability Services facilitates accommodations for University of Iowa students to support opportunities for those with disabilities.

Center for Diversity and Enrichment

The University of Iowa's center for students who are underrepresented in higher education offers a variety of services and resources.

TRiO Student Support Services - TRiO SSS serves 350 students at the University of Iowa who demonstrate academic need and are first-generation, or low income, or have a verified disability.

National and International Resources

National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange 

This website includes travel tips for specific disabilities, disability organizations, international opportunities and programs, funding resources, success stories, and blogs.

Mobility International - Personal Stories and Blogs 

A "Personal Story" section can be can be found here organized by disability type, location, program type, and disability aids used abroad (guide dogs, wheelchairs, assistants, etc.) Also check out the "International Opportunities" section with disability information and resources listed by region and country, and the following very useful guidebook:

Free download of Survival Strategies for Going Abroad: A Guide for People with Disabilities

Transitions Abroad

Includes articles, international programs, tourism resources, organizations, and websites for disability travel.

European Disability Forum

A collection of initiatives aimed at disabled persons in Europe.

Wheel Chair Diaries

A student with cerebral palsy, discouraged from study abroad, makes a film about accessibility abroad.