Disability, Accessibility, Mental Health & Self Care
For students with a disability or accessibility needs, or a mental or physical illness, studying abroad can seem like a very daunting idea or even something that might feel out of reach. We in Education Abroad want to encourage you, whether your disability or health concern is apparent or nonapparent, that studying abroad is possible and available to you! We are committed to providing you with the resources to help you find the best study abroad program that meets your needs and fulfills your study abroad goals. As such, please see the following resources* that can help you choose a study abroad program as well as considerations for traveling and living abroad with a disability, mental health or physical health concerns.
*If you need additional resources outside of those that are linked below and feel comfortable disclosing your disability, mental or physical health concern to someone in the Education Abroad office, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to your study abroad adviser directly.
People with disabilities are an essential part of any study abroad program and the resources below can help you prepare for a successful study abroad experience that meet your needs and goals!
Things to Consider:
- How are people with disabilities are perceived in your intended host country?
- Depending on your intended host country, what should you expect in terms of possible discrimination?
- What level of accessibility can you expect and what types of resources will be available to you while abroad?
- What are the local disability and accessibility laws?
- What laws and regulations does your intended country have surrounding service animals?
- Does your intended study abroad location have ramps, curb cuts, and accessible public transportation?
- Is there the availability of sign language interpreters and other disability services in your intended study abroad location, etc.?
- Does your study abroad program or host university provide accommodations? If so, what are the procedures to request accommodations?
- US State Department
- CDC – Travelers with Disabilities
- Mobility International USA
- Diversity Abroad
- GoOverseas.com – “How Students with Disabilities Can Study Abroad”
- Goabroad.com – “Top 5 Tips for Students with Physical Disabilities Studying Abroad”
- Assistance Animals Abroad (University of Chicago)
- Assistance Animals Abroad (University of Texas)
- MIUSA “Traveling Internationally with a Guide Dog or Service Animal”
- MIUSA “Blind and Low Vision Tips for Going Abroad”
When embarking on a study abroad experience, many students can overlook just how much their mental health can be impacted by the stressors of living in an unfamiliar culture and environment. Many times, mental health conditions can be exacerbated by these stressors and the lack of usual support networks like friends and family, or readily available counseling and psychiatric services. We request you proactively and attentively plan for how you’ll attend to your mental health wellness while abroad. The following resources along with OU Education Abroad’s “Mental Health While Abroad” checklist can help you to plan on the best ways to support your mental health while abroad.
- Goddard Counseling Crisis Services (while abroad)
- TAO Online Therapy (while abroad — register using your OU email address.) TAO is an interactive, web-based program that provides well-researched and highly effective strategies to help overcome anxiety, depression and other common concerns.
- Mobility International USA – “Successful Study Abroad with Mental Health Conditions”
- Mobility International USA- “Preparations for Travel with Mental Health Conditions”
- SIT – “Counseling and Mental Health”
- University of South Florida – “Mental Health Wellness Abroad” Guide
- GoAbroad.com – “Studying Abroad with Anxiety”
- VeryWellMind.com – “Tips for Traveling with Panic Disorder and Anxiety”
- GoOverseas.com – “How to Deal with Depression While Studying Abroad”
- Afar Magazine –“6 Stay-Calm Strategies for Dealing with Anxiety Before a Trip”
- StudentMinds.org- “Resources: Year Abroad”
Physical Health is one of the most crucial elements to ensuring a positive and successful study abroad experience. Physical health and wellbeing are important for not only those with preexisting health conditions, but also in the case that you become ill while abroad or have any kind of accident requiring medical attention. Countries around the world differ greatly when it comes to local public health concerns and the types and levels of healthcare that are available, so before you depart for studying abroad, we encourage you to utilize the following resources to plan for a healthy study abroad experience. We also strongly recommend reviewing Education Abroad’s “My Self-CarePlan – Physical Health” checklist for important considerations.
- IES – “Breaking the Stigma About Mental Health Abroad”
- University of Texas – “My Experience with Mental Health Abroad”
- Durham University - “Mental Health and My Year Abroad”
- StudentMinds.org - Student Blogs
- CAPA – “On Being Sick While Studying Abroad”
- CAPA – "How to Deal with Being Sick While Studying Abroad"
- ISA - “What Happens When You Get Sick While Studying Abroad”
- University of California – “How I successfully Studied Abroad with a Disability”
- IFSA Unpacked: ”Do Not Let Disability Hold You Back Abroad”
- Mobility International USA – “Ripple Effects: Travelers with Disabilities Abroad” Podcasts
- OU Accessibility and Disability Resource Center
- Goddard Health Services
- University Counseling Center
- University Counseling Center Resources
- University Counseling Center Immediate Assistance
- TAO Online Therapy Service Available to OU students (register using your OU email address). TAO is an interactive, web-based program that provides well-researched and highly effective strategies to help overcome anxiety, depression and other common concerns.
- Education Abroad’s “My Self-Care Plan – Mental Health” pdf
- Education Abroad’s “My Self-CarePlan – Physical Health” pdf
- OU’s Study Abroad 24/7 Emergency Assistance Line: +001 (405) 630-5392