An Exploratory Study of Perceptions of Benefits and Barriers to Study Abroad for Students With Disabilities
Kutsche, Melissa Jean
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Although roughly 11% of college students identify as students with disabilities, in 2009 only 3.6% of students who studied abroad were students with disabilities. Due to the lack of research on the topic, little is known about the reasons for this underrepresentation. In this exploratory study, qualitative data analysis was used to analyze responses to an open-ended survey distributed to 749 students with disabilities at a Midwestern university. Responses from 28 students indicate that students with disabilities perceive various benefits and barriers to study abroad, and that demographic characteristics such as type of disability, age, and marital status are not significantly related to whether the reported barriers are disability-related or not. Findings summarizing the perceptions that college students with disabilities have regarding benefits and barriers to study abroad will be of particular interest to student affairs practitioners working in both disability support and international education.