Northwestern students with disabilities or accessibility considerations participate in study abroad programs around the world. While attitudes and perceptions about accessibility and accommodation for students with emotional, mental, learning, or physical disabilities may vary in different programs and locations, GLO is here to support you throughout your study abroad process.
Students registered with AccessibleNU who are eligible for on-campus accommodations are also eligible for accommodations abroad when it can be arranged. The key to a successful experience is planning; we encourage you to disclose any accessibility concerns early in the study abroad process so we can best support you.
Questions to Ask
Consider the below questions as you explore program options
- What are my primary goals for study abroad and what types of programs will help me achieve them?
- How can I prepare for adjustments (e.g., dietary changes, food allergies, language barriers, sensory overload, environmental factors like high elevation, etc.) in my host country?
- What are the physical environments like in the host country? What do academics look like in my host country/on my program (e.g. mainly lecture, independent research, etc)?
- How might my accessibility considerations impact which program I choose?
- Do I feel comfortable disclosing my condition to my Global Learning Office adviser or AccessibleNU?
Note: Health conditions and/or disability considerations are not factored into application decisions. Our first priority is to help you have a safe and positive experience abroad. We encourage you to disclose early in the process so we can support you in addressing these considerations.
- How will I plan ahead to manage my condition when abroad? If I utilize academic, medical, psychological, or other resources at Northwestern, how can I utilize resources abroad?
- Mobility International USA: Study abroad information for people with disabilities.
- Access Abroad: Comprehensive guide for students with accessibility considerations who want to study abroad.
- Abroad with Disabilities: Facebook page (started by a former Grand Valley State study abroad student) that serves as a resource for students with disabilities who wish to study abroad and a space where students can openly ask questions and share their experiences abroad.
- Videos of Stanford students reflecting on how their accommodations impacted their study abroad experience.
Prescription Medication ConsiderationsIf you are taking prescription medications, it's important to research how you will access these medications abroad. Start the process outlined below early.
- Talk with your prescribing physician well in advance of your program departure about obtaining an adequate supply of prescription medications you need for the duration of your study abroad program.
- Contact GeoBlue Global Health Insurance to determine if your medication is available and legal in your countries of interest.
- When traveling, carry your prescription medications in your carry-on bag in their original container along with the hard-copy prescription with your physician's explanation of the condition and the generic and brand names of the medication and dosage information.
- Do not mail medications abroad; this will require customs paperwork and may be delayed in delivery.
- Rehearse how you will explain your disability in the language of your host country. Look up key vocabulary words ahead of time.
- Review Mobility International’s prescription medications tip sheet for more information related to availability, legality, coverage of costs, back-up supply, time zone changes, and interaction with other medications.
McCormick 2016 | Energy Technology & Policy: Wanxiang Fellows Program in China
"I have lived with anxiety and some mental health issues, and studying abroad helped me stretch who I was as a person. I still use the experience as a benchmark for my strength and capability. Last week I had to go on a work trip by myself and at first I got that panicky feeling, but then I thought of study abroad and was like, ‘I went to China and thrived there for two months.’ It really has created for me this sense of strength and ability that something that seems so far away and different can be so beneficial physically and mentally down the road."