Study Abroad & Other International Travel
As a Cornell undergraduate, there are many opportunities to study, travel, volunteer or work abroad. Study Abroad for the semester or academic year is arranged through Cornell's Global Learning office, which also has information about different kinds of international experiences. Cornell University requires you to follow established procedures when traveling outside of U.S. on Cornell activities and/or business. Please refer to Cornell's International Travel Requirements for further information.
If you are a student with a disability and you wish to go abroad, planning ahead is essential. Before applying, meet with a member of the Global Learning staff (607-255-6224; firstname.lastname@example.org), as well as your Student Disability Services counselor (607-254-4545). Doing so can help you determine what you need to consider in making your decision and identify suitable programs to pursue.
Will my disability accommodations be provided abroad?
The rights of people with disabilities differ greatly by country. Many do recognize disability rights but not all. Facilities and/or support services may be limited or not available at all. Many programs and institutions abroad provide accommodations to make it possible for students with disabilities to have successful study, work, volunteer, or internship experiences abroad, and there are sources of information and support in the U.S. and here on campus.
If you will require disability accommodations, it is important that you request information from the host institution about the process and funding for accommodations before applying to that institution. If your disability raises the likelihood that you will need fairly significant medical or mental health support services while abroad, be sure to inquire about availability, quality, cost, language, etc. Staff in the Cornell Abroad office as well as in Student Disability Services can assist you in communicating with the institution, if needed.
Should I disclose on the application?
The application process has two parts: the first is an Approval Process to seek permission from your college to study abroad in a specific program or institution, and the second is an Application Procedure which will be unique to the program you wish to attend. Some applications will ask if you have a disability and, if so, will ask you to identify your disability; others will ask for this information after you have been admitted. There are several things you may wish to consider when deciding whether to disclose on the program application.
- What do you know about the host country with regard to how they view individuals with disabilities?
- What did you learn from your inquiries with the host institution or program?
- Will the disability accommodations you require be difficult to arrange?
- What would be the consequences if you did not disclose and later find that the accommodations you require are not available?
How do I arrange for my accommodations?
Once admitted to a program, if you choose to request accommodations you will need to disclose your disability and follow the host institution or program’s process for requesting and receiving accommodations. For some programs, a copy of Cornell’s accommodation letter may be sufficient. For others, full documentation of your disability will be required. Copies of disability documentation can be obtained from Student Disability Services.
Some accommodations take time to arrange, such as sign language interpreters, real-time captioning or alternate format/Braille text. Be sure to make your request as soon as you know you have been admitted (up to six months in advance) to allow time to arrange accommodations. Also inform your SDS counselor. They may need to be involved in making accommodation arrangements.
There are several helpful websites that provide information that can help in selecting your study abroad experience as well as once you have gone abroad.
Funding Sources for Study Abroad
Before Going Abroad
- Mobility International
Known as the premier source of information for international travelers with disabilities. Their tipsheets provide information and resources on many different disabilities and other things to consider when traveling internationally.
- Council on International Educational Exchange
CIEE is a major provider of study abroad programs and a leader in the field of study abroad.
Guide for students with disabilities in study abroad programs
- Transitions Abroad
Information about traveling abroad with a disability
- Befrienders Worldwide
Search for a crisis helpline, some available in English