Which Countries Offer an Accessible Experience for Your Study Abroad?

By Lucy Miranda

EEducation is important to everyone and so is study-abroad experience. But not all countries are wheelchair-friendly. Online student advisor Vishnu Kumar has helped hundreds of students choose their study abroad destinations. He says, "Some countries are more accessible for disabled students. I counsel them about the best countries, cities and campuses that are more disability-friendly. Students with certain disabilities need classes, accommodations and transportation mediums to make the experience as accessible as possible."

He says that study destinations that have recently held a grand or large-scale event, such as Olympics or international music festivals, are designed to be accommodating to the disability community.

Studying Abroad with a disability. Image of Step Free Route Sign.

Here are four countries where students with disabilities can have a smooth and positive study-abroad experience:

Wheelchair-friendly Study Destinations Down Under

Wanda, an international student studying in Sydney, loves the country. She says, "Australia is relatively young and progressive. Sydney is very accessible. There are ramps everywhere, public transportation is wheelchair-accessible, and Australians are quite friendly and accommodating. I went to Melbourne and it was almost the same as here."

Wanda shared that Australia has a law—the Disability Discrimination Act of 1992—which makes wheelchair-accessibility compulsory in buildings, housing facilities and transportation throughout the country. Sydney held the 2000 Summer Olympics and since then, living there has been easy and fun for wheelchair users.

New Zealand Accommodates Disabled Students

Most people think of New Zealand as an adventure tourism destination. While that is true, it is also wheelchair-friendly. Its national parks are very accessible as are its campuses. You can also find many tourism companies whose services are focused on fun-loving wheelers.

Colleges like the University of Auckland have active, committed Student Disability Services offices on which students with both visible and invisible disabilities can rely for needed support. Whether it is accessible parking for someone with a physical disability, special exam circumstances for people with learning challenges or other considerations for a diagnosed mental health condition, these helpful professionals assess and accommodate the needs of each person individually, making international study in New Zealand a pleasant experience for all abilities.

Barrier-free Germany

A top-notch study abroad destination for everyone, Germany has been consciously working towards becoming a barrier-free country. In 2013, Berlin won the 'Access City' award for having the most accessible transportation, public spaces, facilities, infrastructure, information, communication and other services.

If you choose Germany, you can take the help of your host university's 'Studentenwerk' (student service organization) to find a wheelchair-accessible student housing facility. More than a decade ago, in 2009, the German Rectors' Conference (HRK) pledged to remove all discrimination in the country, which included equal treatment of students with disabilities. Since then, under the Higher Education Framework Act (HRG), higher education institutions in Germany have been making facilities accessible for people with disabilities or chronic illnesses.

Exploring while traveling accessible regions

Thumbs Up for UK Accessibility

Allan Pollard, a dissertation writing expert in the United Kingdom, says, "The UK government effectively enforces laws that protect the disabled and makes lives easier for them. In England, you will find that public transportation, facilities and other infrastructure are wheelchair-accessible. Accommodations are available for students, too."

"There is a multi-racial community group here called WinVisible where people with visible and invisible disabilities meet and support each other. This allows them to overcome isolation and discrimination and get other benefits (such as self-help information and advocacy) as well."

London is a very disability-friendly city where tubes, buses, and special black cabs with ramps abound. Most museums in London, the Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, and other attractions of the city are also accessible. Almost all the top universities in the UK also have disability offices to provide students the support they need.

Of course, this list is not exclusive and many other countries can offer an accessible college experience. Be sure to research the schools you are interested in attending as well as the cities in which they are located. Also talk reach out to other students with disabilities who have studied abroad to learn more about their personal experiences.


Accessible culture while studying abroad. Having a drink at a pub.

About the Author:

Lucy Miranda is a freelance writer and editor at Essay Help. She is devoted to her family, work and friends. She is a news enthusiast and a bookworm. She loves swimming and dancing, too. She is interested in educational, marketing and blogging issues for all communities.


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