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5 posts categorized "ADA 25th Anniversary"



In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, CIEE and Mobility International USA (MIUSA) have provided 27 scholarships to U.S. college students with disabilities to study abroad.

Representing 24 colleges and universities across the country, the students who received CIEE/MIUSA Access to the World Scholarships had the opportunity to further their academic studies while immersing themselves in another country and culture including France, Japan, Jordan, Morocco, Spain, and other locations.

The scholarships are part of CIEE’s five-year leadership pledge to increase access to study abroad for all students from all backgrounds. “International education is a powerful tool in the development of all students, providing necessary skills to succeed in a globally interconnected world,” said CIEE President and Chief Executive Officer James P. Pellow.

Virginia Commonwealth University student Antoine Craig thought studying abroad was beyond his reach. A strong advocate for people with disabilities in his home community of Richmond, Virginia, Antoine believed his visual impairment would preclude him from traveling and learning abroad. “I never thought I would be able to leave the U.S. and experience another culture. As a visually impaired person, there are a host of challenges – some I could expect and some I could not even fathom,” he said.

Antoine Craig
Virginia Commonwealth University student Antoine Craig studying abroad in Alicante, Spain.

Antoine received a scholarship to take part in CIEE’s Summer Language and Culture program in Alicante, Spain, in 2015. With this experience, he became the first person in his family to study abroad – with or without a disability. “The scholarship has allowed me to overcome my fears of traveling alone. Jumping in headfirst through this experience allowed me to see what I’m really capable of. Without the CIEE/MIUSA Access to the World Scholarship, I don’t know that I would ever have had the chance to learn that lesson,” said Craig.

MIUSA CEO and co-founder Susan Sygall applauded the long-standing partnership with CIEE. “I am so excited that MIUSA and CIEE are working in partnership to increase the number of people with disabilities who participate in all types of international exchange,” she said. “The scholarships have created a powerful catalyst for current awardees to serve as mentors and examples to demonstrate to people with disabilities ‘what is possible’.”

Joseph Underwood, a student at the University of Missouri – Columbia who received a scholarship to further his Spanish language skills during CIEE’s Summer Language and Culture program in Seville, Spain, this past June, agrees, saying, “If I were to speak to another student with a disability who was considering studying abroad, I’d tell them there’s no reason to think they can’t. It’s worth it. Studying abroad was the best experience of my life.”

Joseph Underwood
University of Missouri – Columbia student Joseph Underwood with fellow study abroad students in Seville, Spain.

CIEE and MIUSA launched the scholarship program in March 2015 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which has helped to expand opportunities for people with disabilities since 1990. The scholarships are part of CIEE’s Generation Study Abroad pledge to break through the barriers of cost, curriculum, and culture to double the number of students from all backgrounds, socioeconomic statuses, and majors who study abroad by 2020. In support of this initiative, CIEE has committed to providing $20 million in scholarships and grants to American students, to sponsoring passports for 10,000 students, and to offering an annual $20,000 grant to college faculty to support innovative approaches to custom study abroad programs.

Read more about CIEE’s Generation Study Abroad pledge.


A Parent’s Perspective: On Studying Abroad in Tanzania

For many parents, the concept of studying abroad can be unfamiliar and overwhelming. This is particularly true when their child is interested in studying in a nontraditional location or in a developing country: how will they ensure that their child is safe during their time abroad?

When Joanna and Philippe See’s daughter Caroline expressed interest in studying abroad in Africa, Joanna was supportive of her daughter’s desires, but with one condition: that Caroline would study abroad through a CIEE program. In high school, Caroline went abroad through the CIEE South Korea Scholarship program, where she had an ‘absolutely amazing’ experience and discovered a passion for different cultures. In college, Caroline began studying sociology, which led her to pursue a semester abroad in Iringa, Tanzania, located in eastern Africa, through CIEE. 


Caroline (center) with her parents in Tanzania.

Joanna says that her household has always been internationally focused; her husband, Philippe, is from France, and they have hosted international high school students during the school year. Joanna and Philippe travelled to Tanzania to visit her daughter during her semester abroad, and had the opportunity to see the region through her daughter’s eyes. “She took us through a lot of the highlights of her CIEE program,” Joanna recalls. They went on a safari in a national park, toured the university, and met with the resident director of the Iringa program. 


Caroline and her family in Tanzania.  

        “During Caroline’s time abroad with CIEE – both in Korea and in Tanzania – she felt an ‘automatic acceptance’ into the new cultures and ways of communicating."

Caroline had studied Swahili prior to departing for Tanzania, and became fluent in the language during her time abroad. Joanna says that it was an incredible experience to see her daughter in a new element. “She thrives in foreign cultures,” she says, “she absolutely loves to travel, and has fallen in love with Africa.” Caroline struggles with some learning challenges, and Joanna says that during Caroline’s time abroad with CIEE – both in Korea and in Tanzania – she felt an ‘automatic acceptance’ into the new cultures and ways of communicating. “[Caroline] says that she finds a certain level of automatic forgiveness with being abroad,” she explains, “and it’s changed her world, she’s become more sure of herself, and just makes her want to see more and do more and learn more languages and meet more people.”

This summer, Caroline has returned to Tanzania to volunteer with the Igoda Children’s Village, a safe haven for orphans and vulnerable children from 0-18 years of age, and to conduct interviews for her senior thesis on NGOs and healthcare in Africa. After graduation, Caroline plans to work and live in Africa. “It’s a long flight,” Joanna laughs, “but it’s so worth it.” 

CIEE is committed to increasing access to international exchange opportunities for everyone, including students with disabilities. In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and in partnership with Mobility International USA (MIUSA), we’re awarding 25 scholarships to students to enroll in CIEE study abroad programs. 


Seeing Amman through the eyes of Access The World Scholarship Recipient, Lauren Distler

The city of Amman is built almost entirely out of white sandstone, so when viewed from from a distance it looks like outcroppings of rock on the hillsides.

Amman scene

The Roman colosseum in Amman, where events and concerts are still held today: 


Jordanian Independance Day Band:


A mosque downtown:


Many of my favorite memories come from the trips we took--

Floating in the Dead Sea:

Amman 4

Umm Qais:
Riding through the Hippodrome in the ancient city of Umm Qais:

Amman 5

Umm Qais, Old and New:

Amman 7


Pictures completely fail to capture the beauty of the Hagia Sophia, or the awe one feels walking around in a place suffused with so much human history.

Hagia Sophia

Amman 8

Learning to cook Turkish food:

Amman 9

Sultanahmet (Blue Mosque):

Amman 11

Sultanahmet lit up at night- one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. Those pinpricks of light you see are actually birds wheeling in the sky about the mosque, their wings illuminated from below: Amman 12


One of the most interesting things I came across in Petra was a church carved into the cliffside. Having been in Istanbul the week before, it was fascinating to compare the church's austere elegance with the opulence of places like the Hagia Sophia. Two very different structures built for the same purpose.

The church in Petra:

Amman 13

Inside the Hagia Sophia:

Amman 14

Wadi Rum:
   My favorite memory of the whole trip was when we were in Wadi Rum (which translates to "Rock Valley"), this place in the desert that used to be the floor of an ocean millennia ago. At some point there was an earthquake that drained the ocean, leaving behind a desert and these /huge/ sedimentary rock formations that rise out of the sand like jagged towers. During the day we rode camels and 4x4s around the desert, got these awesome meals from the bedouin tribe we were staying with, watched the sun set, etc; but what I really was looking forward to was when the stars came out. After nightfall a couple of friends and I hiked back out of the camp and climbed up one of the rock formations (I got a couple of nice scrapes and bruises from that but it was worth it). There was the road in the distance, and a couple of camps dotting the landscape below, but other than that there was no source of light pollution for miles and miles. Laying back on the rocks there were so many stars above that it was difficult to pick out the familiar constellations from among the thousands of glowing pinpricks. To my right, low in the sky, one could make out the big dipper; to my left, the hazy clouds of the milky way. If you thought about it right you could see the sky as curving above you, a glittering dome stretching from horizon to horizon.
   Telling this story, a friend asked me if seeing the cosmos made me feel small. I replied that no, if anything witnessing that vast beauty above me reinforced the delight I find in the idea that, through pure chance and probability (atoms bumping against each other), the universe created something with which it could observe itself.

Amman 15

The desert at sunset:

Amman 16

CIEE and Mobility International USA are partnering to offer motivated and high-achieving U.S. college students with disabilities the opportunity to study abroad!

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of President George H.W. Bush's signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act in July 1990, CIEE is awarding 25 scholarships to students to enroll in CIEE study abroad programs.



Access the World Scholarship Recipient Reflects on her Study Abroad Experience!

First and foremost, I want to say thank you to CIEE for allowing me to to experience study abroad during the summer of 2015, Session 1 in France through the “Access the World Scholarship”.  I realized that I can survive traveling alone internationally, since this was my first time ever traveling fully across the Atlantic Ocean and going to Europe. I went to Paris twice on my own and Amsterdam for a day.  I really learned a lot in the class on European Integration on the politics, policy, law and on the culture of France and the E.U. The teachers were very in tune with the material. I loved the way they were able to put the information together in ways that I was able to retain, via readings out loud, smart board, videos, conversations, and more. I felt that knowing the politics and culture really helped me understand France more while I was there. I learned from my host family more ways to eat healthy and realized that self-care and taking time instead of rushing while eating is crucial. I also, liked the excursions to the other places in France (Carcassonne and Collioure).   Within Toulouse I enjoyed eating macaroons and making dinner with my host family.   During the "ICE" Weekend in Madrid I was able to taste different cuisines, speak more fluently and meet students from other programs. I liked the Survival French class that I took.   The teacher was able to teach me words that I needed to use for going to restaurants and asking for directions. Also, I was able to write things down phonetically in order to communicate in French. I liked the experience of seeing how the culture and food is different from the United States in a good way. I miss the price of organic food and the transportation in France. I also liked the fact that I got to meet other people either previous students from the semester course and to speak with people from the city in Toulouse. Last but not least, I would like to thank all the people involved in CIEE Toulouse for being aware of my food restrictions and for giving me advice on where to go to eat for lunch and where to buy food. I found places like Vietnamese restaurants and other organic natural restaurants that serve gluten free and dairy free thanks to their advice.    20150616_185205

A carousal in Toulose


Study trip to Airbus in Toulouse to learn about the aviation industry


Jardin de Plantes


CIEE and Mobility International USA are partnering to offer motivated and high-achieving U.S. college students with disabilities the opportunity to study abroad!

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of President George H.W. Bush's signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act in July 1990, CIEE is awarding 25 scholarships to students to enroll in CIEE study abroad programs.


CIEE Study Abroad Alumni Shares Advice to Students with Disabilities

In the spring of 2009, I studied abroad in Rennes, France with CIEE. Despite my every desire to study abroad in Paris, Rennes proved to be more wheelchair accessible and easier to navigate. With admittedly some hesitation, I embarked on what ended up being the best five months of my life. Studying abroad in general is an incredibly humbling experience. I learned so much about myself through both challenges and incomparable adventure. My goal while I was abroad was to have an experience like the rest of my peers. I lived with a host family, took classes at the local university, and traveled with my friends on holidays. I took risks and embraced challenges and took advantage of every opportunity that allowed me to make the most of my time in Rennes. The best part of study abroad was the friendships I formed and the confidence my experience instilled in me. After my experience abroad with CIEE, I returned to Rennes after I graduated from college and spent two years as a teaching assistant in a public high school. Without my initial experience studying abroad, I would have never dreamed of my two years in France as even a remote possibility or opportunity. I learned to advocate for myself and coincidentally found my passion: teaching. After moving back to the United States in 2012, I applied to graduate school to get my Master’s in Education. I moved to Austin in 2013 on a whim. I packed up my car, convinced a friend to be my co-pilot, and started masters class in the fall at Texas State University. Studying abroad didn’t hand me these opportunities, but the experience taught me to problem solve, embrace challenge, take risks, and fostered a special sense of adventure. My advice to students with disabilities who are considering studying abroad isn’t to accept EVERY challenge and jump into an experience you’re not ready for, but rather to think of studying abroad as an opportunity to learn who you are and consider the possibility and opportunities study abroad offers. FullSizeRender