Skip to content

Student Resource Guide - Accommodations and GO

Accommodations, Disability Services and GO

Students with disabilities can complete GO through all three types of programs – GO Long (semester taking courses), GO Short (summer/winter break, with a group, experiential learning), GO Your Own Way (summer/winter break, independent, programming varies).

Students with disabilities are responsible for ensuring that Disability Services and GO offices are aware of their disabilities and for providing appropriate documentation for any accommodations needed. Please communicate your needs early and consider alternative ways to meet your needs. We cannot guarantee accessibility at all locations, but we can advise students if a particular site appears to be inaccessible and can recommend an alternate site.
Some resources: Helpful Steps in Planning GO:
  1. Research
    1. We recommend prior to the meeting to identify several programs that meet your academic interests, since each program will have different types of accessibility. Learn what types of accommodations are possible in your potential host country/culture and be open to different ways of accommodating your disability. While most are, some disability services that are provided at SU may not be available on all GO programs. 
  2. Communication
    1. Talk openly and honestly with GO and meet with disability services – we are happy to coordinate a joint meeting if you would prefer.  It is extremely important for this conversation to include an honest evaluation of your disability, what is required to manage it, and potential issues that could occur while away.  
    2. If you are registered with disability service to receive on-campus accommodation, you are eligible for overseas accommodations when they can be arranged.
    3. Connections with people in the host community with similar disabilities or to a community of people with disabilities.
  3. Early Disclosure
    1. Appropriate arrangements and reasonable accommodations need to be made in advance. Some accommodations may require significant advance notice.  Even if you are not sure you will need accommodations abroad, it is still important to make potential needs known so that a plan is in place should an unexpected issue arise.
    2. Being proactive about self-advocacy and communicating personal preferences and needs to those around you. Participate in the decision-making and planning processes and advocate for your own needs. 
Uncertainty and the Need to Plan

Be realistic about your condition and its impact, on your worst and best days. Have a plan for what to do to do during flare ups, along with a list of signs indicative of not being able to cope. Work a realistic day-to-day schedule and needs. Regardless of how you have managed your disability on campus, you may have to address the tension between the program structure and the need for flexibility demanded by the typical, sometimes daily, fluctuations of your condition. You may need to miss out on some program activities if the schedule is too full and does not correspond with your energy levels on a given day. How may the schedule of the program accommodate this?

Other uncertainties for students with non-apparent disabilities going abroad relate to “flares” or other changes in condition related to stress, environmental factors such as weather or sunlight, diet and level of activity. These “flares” may occur less frequently than ongoing fluctuations, but with greater intensity when they do happen. Most students with non-apparent disabilities find that the strategies to manage stressful conditions at home, often can get them through the stresses that they encounter during their experiences abroad

It is fair to say that even with the best efforts of everyone involved with your accommodations request, a problem may occur. If this should happen, we strongly encourage you to let us know so that we can work together to solve the problem as quickly as possible. Experience has shown us that many times a problem arises because of a misunderstanding or miscommunication; therefore, clarification can be a quick and effective solution.

Study abroad requires adaptability for people with and without disabilities. Living in a new culture will be different.  These differences will include disability services, perceptions, and accessibility standards from what you are used to on campus. 

Questions to Ask Yourself as You Prepare for Meeting with GO

Autism Spectrum
Blind/Low Visibility
Chronic Health
Deaf/Hard of Hearing
Learning Disability
Physical Disability
Mental Health

Medications Abroad

Before departure, work on a plan with your physician about medication management and medical care needs. Medications should be taken in the original prescribed bottle, with a copy of your prescription. We also recommend that you translate the prescription into the local language and know the medical compound (your doctor can assist).

If you take medications, use the US State Department, country embassy and CDC websites to research if your prescription is legal and available in the host country. Your doctor will determine, based on your medication, whether you can take an extra supply of medication that will last through your stay abroad.

Documentation

Disability Services, at your request, may write a letter documenting the disability and accommodations you are receiving on campus.  We will send this letter to the host university so specialized staff in the local disability office can assess whether similar accommodations can be arranged and the cost, if any. The local disability specialist may need to communicate directly with you if they require more information.

Bring a copy of your medical documentation abroad, including treatment and medication prescription information. Make copies of all documentation that you submit.