A couple of weeks ago, I attended Mobility International USA’s seminar titled “Accessing the World through International Exchange.” MIUSA is an organization that works to empower people with disabilities around the world to achieve their human rights through international exchange and international development.
The keynote speaker was Christie Gilson. She shared humorous and sometimes challenging stories about being a blind Fulbright recipient and doing her doctoral research in Hong Kong. MIUSA also presented six U.S. agencies that specialize in study-abroad and overseas professional development opportunities. The message I got from the representatives of these agencies is that they are eager to work with people with disabilities, and they want to make each person’s international experience as accessible and valuable as possible.
We also heard from MIUSA alumni who had gone abroad to study, teach English or enhance their U.S. careers. They offered advice about such logistics as hiring sighted guides in foreign countries, taking your wheelchair to the Outback and even using outdoor toilets in far-off villages. Above all, they stressed that there is funding to be discovered for such adventures. You can search for grants and scholarships through the MIUSA website.
You can get all the details from this seminar by reading the online transcript.
I received a fabulous grab bag of info at the seminar. You can access these resources and more by checking out some of the following links:
1. Tip Sheets
These include advice on traveling with a service animal, guides for blind visitors to the U.S., opportunities for community college exchanges and more!
2. Survival Strategies for Going Abroad: A Guide for People with Disabilities.
This book has lots of firsthand advice on finding a program, fundraising and navigating abroad.
3. A World Awaits You (AWAY) journal.
An e-newsletter that will come out during International Education Week (Nov.15-21). This issue is full of stories from people with disabilities who have received full scholarships through the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.