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Accessibility Abroad

Students with disabilities participate in study abroad programs around the world; the key to a successful experience is planning. Understand, however, that attitudes, accessibility, and accommodation for students with emotional, mental, learning, or physical disabilities may vary at different program sites and locations. Think about how you will manage these differences and seek as much information as possible before you depart.

Students registered with AccessibleNU (ANU) who are eligible for on-campus accommodations are also eligible for overseas accomodations when it can be arranged.


  1. What are my reasons for studying abroad? What goals do I have, and how will I achieve them?
  2. Will my disability affect which programs I consider?
  3. Will I disclose my condition to either my program or the Study Abroad Office?
    Note: Health conditions and/or disability considerations are not factored into application decisions. However, it is important that you think about these considerations early in the process, even before acceptance into a program. Our first priority is to help you have a safe and positive experience abroad!
  4. How will I plan ahead to manage my condition before going abroad?
  5. How will I adjust to living in a foreign country? (re: housing, food, culture, language, etc.)
  6. What barriers might I encounter (both in planning to go abroad, and while abroad) , and how will I overcome them?
  7. If I utilize academic, medical, psychological, or other resources at Northwestern, will I utilize resources abroad? Where can I find the resources I need?


  • Be sure to look at the Student Tips section to find helpful information and advice from Northwestern students who have already studied abroad. We have asked them for their perspective on many of the questions listed above!
  • Explore program options on our website, considering the questions listed above.
  • If you are taking a prescription medication, make sure to research how you will access this medication abroad. Start this process early!

    First, talk with your prescribing physician well in advance about getting the supply you need for going abroad. You can also contact GeoBlue Global Health insurance to find out if your medication is available abroad. You will want to bring an adequate supply in the original container, and a prescription with your physician's explanation of the condition and the generic and brand names of the medication and dosage information. Check with the embassies of the countries you expect to visit to make sure your medications are not illegal there. For more information visit Mobility International’s medications tipsheet

    Do not plan on sending medications abroad since it will require customs paperwork and may be delayed in delivery. Watch this video for more information about prescription medication abroad.

  • Think about how you will answer questions about your disability in the language of your host country. Look up key vocabulary words ahead of time.


Online Resources

See Campus Resources listed in the "Discuss" section below.


  • Discuss your study abroad plans with your Study Abroad Adviser and Northwestern’s AccessibleNU. Our offices will work with you to discuss reasonable accommodations abroad and assist you with the planning and pre-departure process. To better help you prepare, please contact us as early as possible.
  • Contact returnees from the country and/or programs that you are considering. They can tell you about their experiences abroad!
  • Read more about Travelers with Disabilities on the Office of Global Safety and Security's website.