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Major: International Economic Relations
Status: Workygirl

I am fond of chocolates, flowers, friends, loud music, watching movies, taking pictures and traveling!!!

International Education with a Disability
Olya Bezvushko

Studying abroad is a great chance to see and experience other cultures and countries. For students with some disabilities some countries are more accessible than others. The US and Australia have a really good level of accessibility.

So, If you decided to go abroad, look for university, which has a policy with respect to people with disabilities and with information for such people. Both have to be easy to find and accessible. 

In a study abroad research process you have to explore all available international study programs. You are responsible for meeting all deadlines and paying for all student fees required. There are a number of scholarships for students with some physical problems. After you have found the way to budget your future main expenses, you have to contact your study counselor or advisor and let him know in a timely manner within the process to study abroad about disability-related conditions you will need for comfortable living. You should consider that accommodation planning requires extra preparation time.

Remember about the following facts while the enrolment and preparation for study abroad:

     - Preliminary communication. Discuss with your academic advisor when it is the best time to take part in study abroad program and how it will fit into your academic track. Establish contact with students who have the same disability problems as yours and have participated in the similar programs.

     - Timeline. Through the nature or kind of disability, the student should spend at least 1 year for preparation to internship with a study abroad advisor. Delaying this process might not ensure enough time for having all accommodations preparations and measures fulfilled prior to departure date.

     - Check physical, cultural and attitudinal treatment in the chosen country. Unfortunately, cultural interpretation of disability is different in different countries. Explore either there is disability-related governmental legislation. You can see how receptive a particular host institution is due to their culture of disability definition.

     - Transportation needs. Get to know the airline’s accommodation capabilities. Be prepared to be flexible and ready to deal with difficult situations. Know the policies of an airline before arriving at the airport. Be insistent about your needs and insist on services necessary to complete the flight. If it is possible, carry the copies of the airline policy to back up requests in cooperation with airline employees. Make research in advance and compare services offered by different airlines. Consider some European airlines that have excellent reputations for being very helpful to people with disabilities. Some foreign air companies may require a medical certificate for all independent air travel. You will undergo the same security screening process as other passengers. Those who travel on US airlines and do not have a wheelchair but need to use one at the airport can get one with corresponding airline personnel assistance. As to a public Transportation in the host country, it is necessary to know either there are any available transportation resources within a destination country.

     - Service animals. Look for any laws in your destination countries which support service animals. Learn the airline regulations for service animals traveling abroad.   

     - Housing. Pay special attention to the room dimensions and sleeping arrangements.

     - Daily living activities.  Are there agencies to help with finding personal care assistance like meal preparation, dressing and grooming?  

     Many colleges provide most necessary facilities, so you won’t experience any inconveniences. If you still have some doubts about going abroad, keep in your mind that studying in another country will allow you to develop cross-cultural skills and a wider global perspective increase your marketability for the workplace, get to know your own potential and what goals you would like to establish for the future. Moreover you will see new places and make memories that will have a lifelong impression. 

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