U.S. Teens with Disabilities Going Abroad!

In Here's the Spin, News by Melissa Mitchell

Mobility International USA and the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange (NCDE) announces the release of its first online issue of A World Awaits You (AWAY), a web-based journal describing the successful experiences of individuals with disabilities in volunteer, internship, cultural and educational programs abroad. AWAY stories answer frequently asked questions and share the benefits of participating in international exchange programs.

Written for a cross-disability U.S. teenage audience, this issue highlights youth who participated on short-term summer programs abroad – showing both the variety of exchanges available and different strategies used for asking one’s parents about participating.

Each article is full of ideas and observations gained through the first hand experience of participants and answers questions such as “Why go abroad?” “Do I need to know a foreign language?” and “How do I get started in finding a program?”

For people with disabilities, accessibility and the availability of disability-related resources and services overseas can be a concern.

One article includes tips from exchange alumni with disabilities, and their perspective in looking back on their experiences.

Readers are sure to gain insight into how to creatively manage access issues abroad and locate resources for a successful exchange so as to not miss out on amazing experiences

“The contact with another culture and getting to see all the things I studied about in high school, like Big Ben and Parliament, right there in front of me – I can’t put to words the value of it,” says Angela Winfield who has a visual impairment. “It just makes it very real; it makes the world small and makes it seem that everything is within reach.”

Stories in this issue of AWAY include exchange experiences in Australia, Bermuda, England, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Mexico and Wales. Readers will also find ideas for raising funds for study abroad, a checklist for becoming globally aware and helpful resource books and websites on international exchanges.

To read stories from previous print issues of AWAY, to search the online database for international exchange opportunities, or to learn about other NCDE publications, such as Survival Strategies for Going Abroad: A Guide for People with Disabilities (2005), visit www.miusa.org. Parents interested in learning more, can visit the “Just for Parents” web page at www.miusa.org/ncde/parents.