To be successful in an increasing
number of jobs, young adults need to have leadership and
cross-cultural skills. These skills can be developed and
enhanced through international exchange or study abroad. Plan
now to gain international experience in high school or
college. This experience will give you an edge in applying for
jobs in the future.
Broaden Your Horizons
From participating in an
intensive French language program in Switzerland to interning
with an international business in Singapore, from taking part
in a school-to-school exchange in Mexico to studying wildlife
in Kenya, youth and adults with disabilities can participate
fully and equally in international exchange programs. Start
planning early, see the world and enhance your employability.
The Social Security Administration and Mobility International
USA want to ensure that young people with disabilities,
parents and the professionals who work with people with
disabilities understand the importance of international
exchange and options for including it as part of education and
Some people with disabilities are eligible for assistance
under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program if they
meet the definition of disability and their income and
resources are within the allowed limits.
The Social Security Handbook
"A student of any age may be
eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits while
temporarily outside the U.S. for the purpose of conducting
studies that are not available in the U.S., are sponsored by
an educational institution in the U.S., and are designed to
enhance the student's ability to engage in gainful employment.
Such a student must have been eligible to receive an SSI
benefit for the month preceding the first full month outside
Understand your benefits and
To continue to receive SSI while
studying abroad, ensure that:
The international exchange
course of study is not available to you in the U.S.
The study abroad program is
sponsored by a school in the U.S.
Participation is critical to
your educational and vocational success
You are eligible for SSI for
the one month immediately prior to leaving the U.S.
You will earn academic credits
towards your high school or college degree while abroad
If you receive SSI payments and
plan to study abroad for up to one year, work with your
transition or benefits specialist to arrange to continue your
SSI payments while you are abroad.
What young adults can gain
from international experiences…
Improved competitive stance in
applying to college and future jobs;
Improved maturity by causing
youth to take responsibility for themselves on their first
significant "away from home" experience;
Exposure to new ideas and
cultures, helping young people to understand underlying
difference among people and improving their tolerance of
Education about the culture,
history and language(s) of another country;
Experiences to help in making
choices about future career directions, including those in
international education, international relations and
A new excitement and optimism
about the world they live in.
The Council on Standards for
International Educational Travel/CSIET, Administering Youth
rehabilitation (VR) funding is available to some individuals
with disabilities. Students with disabilities who receive VR
funding for their education should consider studying abroad to
be competitive in their future careers.
Propose the Inclusion of Study Abroad in Your VR Plan
Visit your campus
study abroad or department head office to find out about
study abroad programs related to your major.
National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange for other
programs, accommodations abroad, and financial aid
Check with your
international exchange advisor and health insurance provider
to find out about medical coverage abroad.
on a study abroad program that is required or supports your
educational/vocational goal to your VR counselor's
Write down the
program information in a letter to your VR counselor.
Clearly state how
the experience will enhance your educational and vocational
List all the
study abroad program expenses (students can request cost
information from the study abroad office, and consider any
disability accommodation expenses)
Include how much
you are able to financially contribute towards the expenses
Study abroad expenses that VR has funded:
and supplies for a student with a visual impairment to study
for a semester in the Czech Republic and Greece
Attendant (PCA) wages when a PCA was needed for a student
who uses a wheelchair to spend a summer session studying in
room/board for a student who is Deaf to study Spanish for
one semester in Costa Rica, and for one month of summer
school in Mexico
The program fee
for a student who is blind participating in a summer
educational program in Costa Rica
Rental of a golf
cart for transportation for a student using a wheelchair on
a large university campus in Australia
fees and books for a student who has a visual impairment to
study for a year in England
People with disabilities
international experiences on my resume was definitely an asset
in my job search. The work I'm doing now is for an
organization with offices all over the world, so they do look
for people who have that international experience." Get the
experience you need to get a job
"I put my international exchange experience on my resume and
it did spark questions in my job interview. I'm now a camp
program director and a quarter of my staff are international,
so I'm sure that my international experience really helped me
to get the job."
"I put my Mexico and Russia exchange experiences on my resume
and it worked - I got a job at an independent living center
and I actually work with Deaf people from different countries
who are living in the US."
"The international experience helped me to change my job. Now
I'm working for international NGOs."
"In my job, we're serving more and more Japanese people with
disabilities. My international exchange experience helped me
to be more sensitive to other cultures."
"My year of study in England really put disability rights law
and policy issues into a global framework. Now I envision a
career that brings domestic and international law together. I
see them as inseparable now."
"I was fascinated to learn about how the government in Germany
addresses disability issues, and to compare that to what we do
here in the US. That comparison made me interested in policy.
Now I'm working with a policy-making organization that advises
our state government on disability issues."
It is important that youth and adults with disabilities
recognize the importance of international experience, and,
when possible, include it as part of education and employment
preparation. The National Clearinghouse on Disability and
Exchange (NCDE) offers free information and resources related
to the numerous international exchange options available to
people with disabilities of all ages. NCDE is managed by
Mobility International USA and sponsored by the United States
Department of State.
Read a Mobility International USA Success Story
International Exchange Flyer for Printing and Distributing
Microsoft Word Format
International USA and
The National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange
PO Box 10767
Eugene, OR 97440
Telephone/TTY: (541) 343-1284
Fax: (541) 343-6812
Christa Bucks Camacho
Youth and Transition Coordinator
Office of Program Development and Research
Social Security Administration
6401 Security Blvd.
3656 Annex Building
Baltimore, MD 21235
Tel: 410 966-5147
Fax: 410 597-0825