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Accessible Education

Below are some FAQs on studying away for students with disabilities. If you have any additional questions, please contact the Office of Accessible Education (OAE) directly at 

1. If I have disability accomodations at Williams, what should I know before studying away? 

Students should be aware that the protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act and other U.S. laws governing accommodations do not extend to other countries. Each country will have their own set of disability-related laws and may manage the accommodations process in ways that are new to you. Your accommodations at Williams will not necessarily carry over to your study abroad program, or may not be implemented in the same way. 

We recommend finding out as much as you can about perceptions of disability in your host country, as well as about how your study away program or host institution provides accommodations. If your disability requires ongoing treatment, consider options for how you might receive mental and/or medical health care and refill any medications in your host country. Remember that other cultures may provide disability access in different ways—learn about what types of accommodations and supports are typically provided in your host country, and be flexible and open to different ways of accommodating your disability.

We want you to thrive in your study away experience and part of that is ensuring that the program and host institution are a good fit for your needs. Similar to Williams, there will be certain essential expectations of your study away program and coursework that all students will be expected to meet, with or without accommodations. If the accommodations you request would alter these expectations or would fundamentally change your experience of the program, they are unlikely to be approved. Make sure you take these expectations and the core values of the program into account as you’re finalizing your plans.

2. How do I receive accomodations while studying away? 

Each study away program will have their own accommodations request process. Share your needs with your program staff early so they can guide you through their process and direct you to the relevant forms and deadlines. Some may require updated documentation from your healthcare provider and/or a copy of your letter of accommodations from Williams. Give yourself ample time to collect any necessary paperwork and communicate with program staff before your departure.

For programs run by Williams (Williams-Mystic and WEPO), speak with program staff about how the accommodations you have on the Williamstown campus may be adapted for this new environment and what information they may need from the Office of Accessible Education (OAE). 

3. What role does the OAE play in accomodations for students studying away?

The OAE cannot determine or implement accommodations for study away programs run by other institutions, but we can be a sounding board for you as you consider your accessibility needs elsewhere. Feel free to schedule a meeting with OAE staff before you go if you’d like to review your approved accommodations at Williams and think together about what barriers you might experience at your host institution. While we may not know all the details about your study away program or host country, we are good listeners!

OAE can also provide a copy of your letter of approved accommodations at Williams to your study away program, with your permission. If you need us to send this letter to your program, please contact

4. What resources are available to me around accomodations while I am studying away? 

First and foremost, you should contact your study away program staff with any accessibility concerns. Since they are the most knowledgeable about your program, your host institution, and the culture of the country in which you’re studying, they will be the best resource for you. Again, OAE and Williams are not involved in accommodations decisions for study away programs run by other institutions and cannot influence these decisions. It’s important to work directly with student support and accommodations staff through your study away program to understand your options and be able to make fully informed decisions about next steps. Your study away program staff can also help connect you with healthcare professionals in your host country, if this is necessary.

Mobility International USA (MIUSA) strives to ensure the inclusion of people with disabilities in international exchange and development programs. Their website includes extensive information, personal stories of students studying away, listings of international disability rights organizations, and financial resources for students with disabilities to help fund study abroad opportunities.

Diversity Abroad includes resources for students with disabilities who study internationally, including tips on how to manage mental health challenges while abroad. 
Traveling with Disabilities includes tips and resources for individuals with disabilities traveling internationally from Travel.State.Gov. 

Have any additional questions? Please visit the OAE webpage or email