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The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Amendments Act of 2008 ensures that people with disabilities can equally embark on their educational and professional endeavors. The Office of Education Abroad & Away is committed to helping you find the best program to meet your needs and goals, whether you have academic accommodations, varying mobility, medical conditions, or mental and physical health concerns, apparent or non-apparent.

Initial Considerations

Think about these initial items as you begin planning for your education abroad or away experience.


We encourage you to disclose your needs to an OEAA advisor as early as possible in the study abroad process, ideally at least six months before you plan to travel.  Disclosed information will be held strictly confidential unless a disclosure waiver is signed, and it will not have any bearing on your acceptance into a program.

It is also important that you work with the Davidson College Academic Access and Disability Resources Office so that they are aware of your plans to study abroad and can assist with accommodations if needed.

Choosing a Program

Students with disabilities have taken part in a wide variety of programs; however, just as cultures vary, so does the level of access and disability services in different countries and communities.  Many programs offer accommodations, but we encourage you to research your desired destination(s) for more details about your specific needs and concerns.  Please schedule an appointment with an OEAA advisor for additional guidance.

Cultural Differences

By studying abroad, you will learn about cultural differences as well as how your disability is addressed in the host country.

The first part of the lesson is practical: U.S. laws and society recognize specific physical, mental, learning, and health conditions as disabilities, but these conditions may not be legally recognized in the same way in other parts of the world. This could affect if and how you receive accommodations for your disability abroad.

The second part of the lesson is more abstract but equally important: views on disability, independence, confidentiality, respect for authority, and individual rights differ from country to country, and these views will also affect your experience abroad. In the United States, we tend to see independence as being able to accomplish what we want with little (or no) assistance that we control and that is guaranteed by law. In other cultures, independence often includes relying on assistance from family, friends, or even strangers. These differences mean that it is necessary to consider new ways of doing things, something that is required of every student who studies abroad. (Adapted from CIEE Disability Knowledge Brochure)


Review these useful resources for details about disabilities abroad and how you can prepare yourself for your experience.


Davidson College Academic Access & Disability Resources Office
Mobility International USA
Diversity Abroad: Students with Disabilities Abroad
IES Abroad: Disability, Mental Health & Self-Care Resources