Purchase College, SUNY
Student Services Bldg. Floor 2
Purchase, NY 10577
(914) 251- 6032
Contact Us
Getting Started
General Information
Academic Policies & Eligibility
Goals & Priorities
Financing Study Abroad
Create Account
Apply for Study Abroad
Application Process
Download Forms
Program Types
Purchase Short-Term Programs
Purchase Exchange Programs
Affiliated SUNY Programs
Alternate Programs
Volunteer & Intern Programs
Before You Go Abroad
Preparing to Go Abroad
International Travel Tips
Cross-cultural Prep
Sustainability Abroad
Supported Education Abroad
Health & Safety
Additional Information
Parents & Families
Returning from Study Abroad
Student Blogs!
Program Search
Program Type:
Program Country:
Program Term:

Supported Education Abroad

Pre-departure Preparations:

Differences and Issues to Consider When Thinking about Study Abroad

Strategies to Cope with Different Circumstances

  • Work early on with your home institution to arrange accommodations at your overseas site.
  • Learn to explain your disability in the host language.
  • Read about students with disabilities who have been abroad in order to learn from their experiences.
  • Your disability may intersect with your host culture in unexpected ways. It is important to research your host culture before you go, discuss customs with your hosts, and be open to creative solutions. 
  • Once abroad, on-site staff can help connect you with a student who has a similar disability.
  • If your home institution does not offer a list of mentors, contact Mobility International USA
  • Laws that describe the rights of individuals are part of the legal system in the USA and not are universal.  Learn about this aspect of your host country prior to arrival.
  • Rural areas are less progressive than urban areas.  If your residence, work, or travel takes you to rural areas, be prepared for potential access, health care, or attitude challenges.
  • Consult program for details on accessing internet, phone, and land line services to ensure that you can reach out for help at any time.

How Accommodations Can Differ

  • Many disability services that are provided at US universities may not be overseas. You should be prepared to talk with your study abroad program provider about your situation to see what types of services are available to you
  • Tutoring may not be a free service at the host university, again be prepared to discuss with your program.
  • To obtain a visa some countries require health information, which can delay the process.
  • Electricity for equipment or recharging batteries often requires adapters or converters – be prepared to buy these before you go or once you are in country.
  • Learning disabilities may not be recognized in some countries or may not be understood the same way as in the US.  Researching your country of interest will be helpful to better understand the situation surrounding learning disabilities.
  • Sign language interpreters may not be certified or available at all times, and interpreting will generally be in the sign language of the country rather than ASL.
  • Some countries quarantine guide dogs before they are allowed into the country.
  • Bring mobility aids to use in restrooms without bars or on long train platforms.
  • Carry extra spare parts or differing types of casters for a wheelchair.

Medical/Prescription Needs

  • If you take prescriptions, make sure you have enough to last throughout the entire stay. Some countries have restrictions on certain medication – this is something to research.
  • All meds should be stored in their original containers with their label attached and visible.
  • Carry a letter from a physician that describes the medication.
  • Always carry medication in your carry-on in the event your checked bag is delayed or lost.
  • It is illegal to have medication sent abroad to you via postal mail.
  • Confirm your health insurance covers any disability-related medical needs while overseas.
  • Ensure your medication is legal in your host country by contacting the consulate or embassy. 
  • Consider your care needs abroad for the entirety of your stay.  It could be very important to identify physicians and/or psychiatrists who will consult with you or treat you in country. It is wise to determine whether a physician will provide similar approaches to treating your condition.  You can make those arrangements and identify travel routes to care sites prior to departure.
  • Obtain an ID bracelet for conditions that should be known in the event of emergency.


Purchase College, SUNY Purchase College Abroad