Accommodations, Accessibility, and Culture: Increasing Access to Study Abroad for Students With Disabilities

Christopher Johnstone, Paul Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Student mobility is a key aspect of internationalization of higher education. Within the broad population of students who have the opportunity to study abroad, however, there are particular groups who are under-represented. In the United States, for example, approximately 11% of undergraduate students in postsecondary degree-granting institutions have disclosed that they have a disability, yet only 8.8% of those who study abroad disclosed to having a disability to their home institutions. To better understand why under-representation may be occurring, this article examined study abroad through Schwanke, Smith, and Edyburn’s “A3” model of inclusive education, which highlights efforts of institutions related to advocacy, accommodations, and accessibility. Findings indicate that institutions—even those with strong reputations in study abroad for students with disabilities—are heavily focused on ensuring appropriate accommodations for students and only beginning to explore the design of programs through the lens of accessibility. Implications for international education units, such as the role of partnership building and commitment to Universal Design principles, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)424-439
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Studies in International Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research and/or authorship of this article: This project was funded by a grant from the Institute for Diversity, Equity, and Advocacy, Office of Equity and Diversity, University of Minnesota.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 European Association for International Education.


  • accessibility
  • accommodations
  • disability
  • internationalization of higher education
  • mobility of students and academic staff
  • study abroad


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