Disability Support Services

Studying Away

All students at PLU are encouraged to take advantage of study away programs. However, students with disabilities need to be aware that the accessibility that is available here at home cannot be guaranteed in other countries.  Students are encouraged to plan early and discuss their goals and plans for studying abroad with staff at the DSS Office and the Wang Center for Global Education.

Guide for Students with Disabilities Studying Away

In order for a Study Away program to be successful for students with disabilities, it is very important to plan ahead and research the right program.  To make an informed decision about the program that is best for you, carefully consider the following questions as they relate to your disability and potential accommodation needs:

  • How are the classroom setting and physical environment in the host country different from PLU?
  • What are the physical requirements for walking, lifting and carrying luggage? Is transportation available and accessible?  Are streets paved or cobblestone?  Are elevators generally available?   Are there curb cuts for wheelchair access?
  • What are the housing options?  Will you need to do your own cooking and laundry?  Will you have roommates or be with a family?  Are bathroom facilities accessible?
  • How is instruction different from forms of instruction you are familiar with?  Are classes mainly lecture?  Are computers available for assignments and exams?  How is learning assessed?  What is the host university’s policy on extended time for exams?  Will you need notetakers?   Is there extra cost for tutoring?  Will you have permission to tape lectures?  Are books available on CD?
  • What emergency medical care is available?  Is your medical condition affected by climate or temperature changes?  Do you have special dietary considerations?  Have you arranged for medication to be available?  (Do not plan on shipping medication as it may be confiscated or otherwise not reach its destination.)
  • How will you arrange communication to and from home?  Is there Internet access?  Should you purchase a pre-paid calling card?
  • Will you need an interpreter?  Who finds and funds this accommodation?  Is there a difference in sign language since ASL is not universal?
  • Is a voltage adjustment needed for special equipment or devices?  Are battery types the same?
  • Is Braille available on buildings, elevators, classrooms, etc.?
  • Be flexible!

Without careful planning, a student’s disability could have a negative impact on the Study Away experience.  Plan for a detailed discussion of your goals and needs with staff from both Disability Support Services and the Wang Center for International Programs. View PLU’s Policy for Students with Disabilities’ Participation in Global Education here.

Resources for Students with Disabilities Studying Away

Higher Education Accessibility Guide
This website is a guide to the accessibility services which are available in Higher Education Institutions across Europe. The information includes contact information to a large number of European institutes and programs which specialize in providing resources for those with disabilities who would like to travel abroad.

Mobility International USA (MIUSA)
Excellent site with many resources for administrators and students.

Student Disability Travel Resources for Europe
A resourceful website with contact information for various institutions and programs specializing in those with disabilities.

Study and Work Abroad for People with Disabilities
A website which lists the programs available in a multitude of countries worldwide including information about local conditions as well as the organizations which are looking for new contacts.

University of Minnesota Learning Abroad Center ~ Access Abroad
Great site with many resources for administrators and students.