Differing Abilities and Body Diversity

Students with disabilities increasingly participate in study abroad successfully. It is important to note that accessibility and cultural standards about body diversity vary by destination. The best way to ensure success on your program is to anticipate what accommodations and resources you might need while abroad. 

Be sure to contact the Disabilities Resource office at your home university and the Education Abroad office to discuss your needs before traveling.

Some questions to ask before you travel

You might find it helpful to research the host culture's attitudes toward disabilities, both visible and invisible, to prepare yourself for your time abroad. Other aspects of the program you may need to consider include arrival, living accommodations, food, classes, transportation, etc.

Early planning improves the chances of securing the accommodations you need and more peace of mind before departure. 

Some questions to consider: 

  • What kind of transportation and living arrangements might I need? 
  • How will I navigate the airport or other transportation networks? 
  • What resources are available to me in the host country if I need support? 
  • How difficult is it to meet my dietary or prescription needs in the host country? 
  • How are people with my disability or body type perceived in the host country? 
  • How can I prepare to meet these cultural challenges? 
  • How accessible will my housing/campus/environs be? 
  • Will program excursions and other extracurriculars require accommodations for me to participate?

    Contacts and Resources

    If you want to discuss your disability needs, contact the Education Abroad Office and your host institution’s Disability Resource office. If you anticipate needing accommodations for a disability, you will need to submit an official accommodation letter from your university in your Study Abroad portal.

    Once you have been accepted to your program, we also recommend that you contact our Emergency Assistance Provider for questions regarding healthcare access abroad (you can find their contact information in your Study Abroad Portal).

    Resources at Temple

    Additional Resources

    Student Perspectives

    Read, "When in Rome: Moving through the world with a non-normative body," by Lindsay Nicole Beck.

    View more blog posts.