Disabilities & Medical Considerations Abroad

Students living with disabilities and chronic medical conditions may want to research the level of accessibility that their preferred study abroad destination offers.  The prevalence of physically accessible buildings and streets, the type of support services available, and whether the appropriate healthcare and medicines are available in their host country are just some of the important factors to consider when choosing a study abroad location.

The advisors in the International Programs office are happy to help you research this information and make recommendations based on your particular needs.  Students can also contact the Student Accessibility Services office for information and advice. 

Middlebury Schools Abroad does not make admission decisions based on disability or medical status.

Things to Consider Before Going Abroad

Adapted from Northwestern University's "Identity & Diversity: Accessibility Abroad" webpage: http://www.northwestern.edu/studyabroad/guide/identity-and-diversity/accessibility-abroad/index.html 

  • Will my disability or medical condition affect which study abroad programs I consider?
  • How will I plan ahead to manage my condition before going abroad?
  • How will I adjust to living in a foreign country (e.g., housing, food, culture, language, etc.)?
  • What barriers might I encounter (both in planning to go abroad and while abroad) and how will I overcome them?
  • If I utilize academic, medical, psychological, or other resources at my home institution will I utilize these same resources while abroad? Where will I be able to access the resources I need?
  • Are the medications I take legal in my host country? If not, what alternatives do I have?

Things to Consider While Abroad

Adapted from Diversity Abroad's "Diversity & Inclusion Abroad Guide: Students with Disabilities Abroad": https://www.diversityabroad.com/guides/diversity-and-inclusion-abroad-guide/student-with-disabilities-abroad

  • How are people with my disability or medical condition viewed in my host country?
  • What types of resources, communities, or support networks for people with disabilites or chronic medical conditions exist in my host country?
  • Am I willing to disclose my disability or medical condition to my host family or roommates? To my friends abroad?
  • How accessible are places in my host country?
  • Will my disability or medical condition prevent me from participating in any excursions or activities?
  • How should I respond if people give me unsolicited help?

Highlighted Resources

Suggested Articles

Suggested Websites

  • Abroad with Disabilities. http://abroadwithdisabilities.org/ This site acts as a meeting point for a community of students, advisors, and advocates for studying abroad with disabilities.  The site offers resources, student testimonials, and ways to connect to the Abroad with Disabilities community, among other things. 
  • Mobility International USA (MIUSA). www.miusa.org A comprehensive hub for information and resources for students with all types of disabilities and other medical considerations who are preparing to study abroad.

Additional Resources