Students with Disabilities
McMaster University thrives on diversity. We strongly encourage students with disabilities not to deprive themselves of an experience abroad. While some services may not be identical to what you have in Canada, a growing number of universities overseas is gaining experience working with students with disabilities, and are creatively coming up with solutions. It is important that you get proper advice at McMaster's Student Accessibility Services (SAS). Book an appointment with a SAS Disability Counsellor, at MUSC-B107, or call extension 24711. The Disability Counsellor will deliver one-on-one assistance to help you identify the service(s) you may require while overseas. You will find it easier to determine if the necessary services are offered in the host institution and country.
Mobility International USA (MIUSA) is an organization with the explicit mandate of empowering people with disabilities around the world to achieve their human rights through international exchange and international development. MIUSA's website is a very comprehensive resource for students with disabilities going abroad.
An excellent, easily accessible resource for students with addiction and mental disabilities is the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). CAMH is Canada 's leading addiction and mental health teaching hospital. CAMH succeeds in transforming the lives of people affected by addiction and mental illness, by applying the latest in scientific advances, through integrated and compassionate clinical practice, health promotion, education and research. Visit the CAMH website, educate yourself and make an informed decision about your sojourn abroad.
Important Things to Consider:
- You may face discrimination directed at your physical or mental disability.
- Will there be transportation, accommodations, restaurants, markets, stores, medical facilities, etc., to meet your needs?
- Will you need to take any special supplies or medications from home? Will you be able to buy these supplies and medication at your destination?
- Will you need someone to travel with you to help you in your daily routine?
Information for Travelers with Disabilities
Below are a variety of tips and resources to help you prepare for a comfortable and positive time abroad, and to encourage you to explore the many ways your international interests can be fulfilled. Before you go, it is important to make your specific needs known and identify what services you will require abroad, if these services will be met or not, and what the country-specific procedures are to follow. You must realize that different cultures interpret and approach disabilities differently; therefore laws, regulations, and services effective here do not always apply overseas. Additionally, many overseas organizations have limited resources, particularly those in developing countries, but if they have ample time and detailed information about your disability they may be able to provide you with what you need. Clearly, doing research and communicating your disability to your host country/institution ahead of time is strongly encouraged as this will help you prepare adequately and help you get the most of an experience abroad.
Having said this, the following tips and resources are geared toward exposing you to the full range of opportunities of international exchange programs and to providing you information on the support systems at home and abroad on disabilities and accessibility overseas.