Students with disabilities can and do study abroad!
Remember to research your country of interest thoroughly before finding a program that fits your academic and personal needs. Your host country may have different attitudes to people with disabilities compared to what you are used to here in the U.S. This might manifest in the way people treat you and/or in the resources that will be available to you abroad. Many disability services that are provided on a UC campus may not be available overseas. For example, some countries do not offer note-taker services or may not recognize learning disabilities.
- DON’T let these challenges dissuade you from studying abroad!
- DO research about your program/university of interest well in advance (preferably one year before) to ensure that any accommodations can be met.
Since Berkeley Study Abroad supports programs beyond UCEAP, we'd like to direct students to our Explore page to see all of the programs available to them.
1. Meet with Disabled Students Program (DSP) to discuss what types of accommodations you may need while studying abroad
2. Request letter of DSP Verification/accommodation letter
- Your disability specialist can write you a letter informing the University/Program abroad of the accommodations you will be needing.
- This letter should include information about any campus funding available for these accommodations
3. Request and submit this letter as early as possible. The earlier the accommodation request is made, the more Berkeley Study Abroad can help you to research and arrange accommodations. Appropriate arrangements and reasonable accommodations need to be made in advance. Some accommodations may require three- to six-months advance notice.
Three main things to consider when doing research on your program of interest: accommodations while abroad, financial assistance, and medical care:
If you are registered with DSP to receive on-campus accommodation, you may be eligible for overseas accommodations when they can be arranged.
B. Financial Assistance:
Refer to our Financial Aid page to understand how financial aid works for the various types of study abroad programs
Combining multiple scholarships and rewards can have a big impact. You can find a list of scholarships available for study abroad on the Scholarship page of our website.
Berkeley Study Abroad Scholarship: The Berkeley Study Abroad Scholarship is available to eligible Berkeley students. Eligible students are automatically considered. No separate application necessary.
- Gilman Scholarship: The Gilman Scholarship Program is open to U.S. citizen undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university to participate in study and intern abroad programs worldwide.
- UCEAP Scholarships: UCEAP offers over 10 types of scholarships for all categories of participants and for a comprehensive range of programs. Students only need to submit a Global Scholarships application for most awards.
Other Sources of Assistance:
- Department of Rehabilitation
- If you have a disability you may qualify for funding with the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR). They can help pay for programs, tuition, and books. If you are already enrolled, ask your DOR counselor about what costs they can help with.
C. Medical Care Abroad:
- Before departure, work on a plan with your physician or University Health Services about medication management and medical care needs.
- Contact your DSP officer and your Berkeley Study Abroad adviser to organize accommodations and discuss health insurance abroad.
- If you study abroad on a UCEAP program, read more about the UCEAP Travel Insurance Policy
- If you study abroad on a UCB Summer Abroad or Global Internships program, read more about the UC Travel Insurance Policy.
Meet Sara Mahoney!
This guide was created by Berkeley Study Abroad alumnus Dinasha Dahanayake and updated by Berkeley Study Abroad advisers on June 29, 2022.