Many students who struggle with mental health issues or consider themselves physically disabled in their home country believe that study abroad and international exchange opportunities are not available to them. Though attitudes, accessibility and accommodations vary by country, it is possible for students with ability considerations to participate on international programs. In order to do so, it is important to have an understanding of your circumstances, accommodations in your home country and institution, and how you will need to be supported when you go abroad. Your home institution will be better equipped to assist and accommodate you on study abroad when you disclose your needs to study abroad advisors at an early stage in the advising process. Additionally, it is important to research the following questions about your host community/country:

  1. What are the attitudes and perceptions of individuals with your disability?
  2. How accessible are the services and resources you need to feel supported?
  3. What accommodations are possible so that you feel supported while abroad?
  4. How are these accommodations similar or different to the support you receive in the U.S.?

On-Campus Resources

  • Disability Services

    Register with DS at Santa Clara

  • Office for Multicultural Learning

    Student and staff facilitated dialogue sessions during academic year for SCU community about various topics pertaining to identity on and off campus.

    • Perspectives Dialogue Sessions
    • Difficult Dialogues

Additional Resources


    Article on health and international travel insurance advice and resources for students with disabilities.

Gus Hardyimage

Bronco Perspective

Gus Hardy

"I thought to myself, 'You know what? I’m on the other side of the world, no one here knows me. I can be myself!' And I could, in a very real and honest way. The time that I spent abroad was the first time where my disorder was not something that made me feel 'separate' or 'other,' it was just a part of who I am and had to be worked around."

Olivia Chamblissimage

Bronco Perspective

Olivia Chambliss

"Many of my classes had field trip components that required long hikes through field sites, snorkeling and diving for laboratory research.  I found some of these tasks to be difficult as I had never hiked before and I was not a very strong swimmer."

Marie McNamaraimage

Bronco Perspective

Marie McNamara

"Ability was gaged differently in Ireland.  College education was not nearly as valued. Children were expected to stay close to home, inheriting the family business or farm. While in Ireland, my perspective on how to define ability changed. Before, I thought of one's ability as excelling in school or work. Abroad, ability was more focused on individuality, how you respond to adversity, and how you come to define yourself."