Student exploring his surroundings while studying abroad.

Accessibility Abroad

Student Accessibility Considerations for Study Abroad

We encourage Pace students to study abroad – including those with disabilities. However, attitudes, accessibility, legal rights, and accommodations for students with emotional, mental, learning, or physical disabilities vary around the world. If you have a disability and plan to study abroad, think about how you will manage these differences, consider programs that can best support you, and seek as much information as possible before you depart. Meet with a member of the Education Abroad team to discuss which program may be the best for you. The laws around disability and accommodations in higher education are not applicable outside the United States, regardless of whether the student is participating in a Pace-sponsored program. Some countries are more progressive with accommodations, and others significantly less so.

Advanced planning is the key to a successful study abroad experience! Research the country/region you are traveling to in order to determine a good fit for your disability and accommodation needs.

If you require accommodation(s) in order to participate in your program abroad, you must self-identify and contact Pace Student Accessibility Services (if you have not already done so) to request copies of your Pace-approved Letter of Accommodation and other documents to provide to your Study Abroad program or foreign university. Students seeking accommodations while studying abroad should contact Pace Student Accessibility Services well in advance of the study abroad term to ensure a smooth transition into life abroad. While it is your responsibility to initiate this process, Pace Education Abroad will support you throughout the process.

  • Pace Student Accessibility Services for the New York City campus: (212) 346-1199 or 161 William Street, 10th Floor
  • Pace Student Accessibility Services for the Westchester campuses: (914) 773-3710 or the Administration Center, 861 Bedford Road, Pleasantville

We also strongly encourage you to self-disclose your disability with your study abroad program abroad, so that they can best support you. The Americans with Disabilities Act is not applicable outside the United States, so support for your disability may look different from what you are accustomed to at Pace University and in the U.S. It is ultimately your responsibility to disclose any disabilities and plan for your accommodation needs. If you do not disclose disability-related needs until you are abroad, it may not be feasible for your study abroad program to act on accommodation requests made too close to the date of departure or once on site.

Ask Yourself

  • What are my reasons for studying abroad? What goals do I have? How will I achieve them?
  • Will my disability affect which programs I consider?
  • Will I disclose my condition to either my program or the Study Abroad Office?
  • Note: Pre-existing health conditions and/or disability considerations are not factored into application decisions. However, it is important that you think about these considerations early in the process, even before acceptance into a program. Our first priority is to help you have a safe and positive experience abroad!
  • How will I plan ahead to manage my condition before going abroad?
  • How will I adjust to living in a foreign country? (Re: housing, food, culture, language, etc.)
  • What barriers might I encounter (both in planning to go abroad, and while abroad), and how will I overcome them?
  • If I utilize academic, medical, psychological, or other resources, will I utilize resources abroad? Where can I find the resources I need?

Tips for Students with Disabilities Going Abroad

  • Disclose your disability needs to program staff early, so appropriate arrangements and reasonable accommodations can be made in advance.
  • Remember other cultures may provide disability access in a different way—learn about what types of accommodation are typically provided in your host country, and be flexible and open to different ways of accommodating your disability.
  • Before you go, find out as much as you can about your host culture and how they view disability by reading, talking to other students, and attending pre-departure orientation sessions. The more you know, the better prepared you will be for the interaction between your disability and the new environment.
  • Think about how you will answer questions about your disability in the language of your host country—look up key vocabulary words ahead of time.
  • Additional resources:
    • Mobility International
    • Access Abroad
    • accessibleGo - This platform allows travelers to filter accessibility options that extend beyond the basic "wheelchair accessible" toggle feature in most hotel booking apps. Once a booking is made, an accessibleGO team member contacts the destination directly to assure that all accommodations are able to be met.
    • Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program - While there’s no app yet, the web-based program is growing in usage around the world. By simply requesting a free bright green lanyard decorated with sunflowers through the program, users are easily identifiable to airport staff as a traveler with an invisible disability.
    • Be My Eyes - Be My Eyes connects blind and low-vision users who want sighted assistance through live video and artificial intelligence. With the app, which is available on Apple and Android, users can scan anything from written documents to photos—and AI or a stable of volunteers will verbally interpret the information for them.
    • TSA Cares - Available in all US airports, TSA Cares provides information and modifications on standard security procedures aimed to help passengers with disabilities, medical conditions and individuals needing additional assistance to better prepare for the security screening process.
    • Google Maps - With the option to request wheelchair-accessible transit and walking routes on the app, travelers can get stair-free routes. Tap the three dots at the top of the Google Maps screen when requesting walking directions, and toggle “wheelchair-accessible” on under route options to receive stair-free directions.
    • Roadtrippers - This app, which is available on Apple and Android, helps travelers plan a road trip, offering wheelchair accessible or service dog-friendly stops and attractions along a selected route.
    • zTrip - While this rideshare option is not yet in every U.S city, it is offered in a growing number of locations. Wheelchair accessible vans and trained drivers are a regular part of zTrip’s business so they know how to accommodate travelers safely.