Students with Disabilities

Australia, Underwater Colors - Chris Hill

During the 2014-2015 school year it was estimated that of the 313,415 US students who studied abroad, 5.3% reported some type of disability, and that number keeps growing1.

Don’t let a disability stop you from considering studying abroad! A Study Abroad Advisor in UCSC Study Abroad can help you explore program options and consider how any disability-related needs might be reasonably accommodated depending on the location and program you select.

Disability Support Services on Study Abroad

UC Santa Cruz Study Abroad, UCEAP, and many non-UC study abroad programs make every effort to assist students with disabilities who want to study abroad. If you are a student with a disability, the first step is to talk to a Disability Resource Center Service (DRC) Coordinator about your plans to study abroad. The DRC can communicate directly with your intended study abroad program to share currently used. It is recommended that you begin this process well in advance of going abroad, as it can take up to six months to coordinate certain accommodations.

While UCEAP cannot guarantee the availability of support services or the accessibility of facilities in other countries, UCEAP does assume a proactive stance in helping students determine accessibility of various study abroad locations, and works with the campus Disability Resource Center to address disability accommodation needs. UCEAP and the Disability Resource Center are dedicated to providing pre-planning assistance prior to departure to help make your study abroad experience as successful as possible. For additional information refer to UCEAP's guide for students with disabilities.

While the goal is to facilitate reasonable accommodation on any program, there may be some program providers in the location you are considering that have an especially successful track record for proactively accommodating disability needs. We encourage you to discuss disability issues along with your goals for an experience abroad with your study abroad advisor. Early discussions about disability can help ensure that you have a set of viable options to consider and that you and your advisor can develop a realistic understanding of how access barriers and the disability might play into the experience.

If you plan to study abroad independently, be sure to discuss your needs with both a DRC Advisor and an advisor from the study abroad program you select.

1Institute of International Education. (2016). "Students with Disabilities, 2006/07-2014/15." Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange. Retrieved from

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Success Stories

Check out these inspiring success stories from UC Santa Cruz students Nikolay and Sarah

For other success stories about students with disabilities, take a look at Mobility International, USA.

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UC Santa Cruz Study Abroad is dedicated to making our events accessible. Please contact us at to request disability accommodations.