Durham University seeks to ensure that all students, including (but not limited to) those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), have the support they need to make an application and have a successful global experience.
Thinking about a Global Opportunity
A period abroad for any student requiring additional support or adjustments, however large or small, can be incredibly rewarding. Each year Durham supports a number of students who have particular needs to successfully undertake a global opportunity. There are a range of options available and the support available will depend on the type of placement chosen.
If possible, we recommend that all students start considering what options may appeal to them in Year 1. This gives time to:
- Attend the Study Abroad Fair held usually mid October of each year;
- Gain an insight into the options available;
- Consider the options and discuss ideas with your friends, family, Department, College, support services in Durham (such as Disability Support) and or Careers / Exchanges & Study Abroad Team;
- Learn or maintain a language with the Centre for Foreign Language Study.
In Year 2 it is not too late! The options above are still open to you, although languages courses at the Centre for Foreign Language Study fill quickly. Each global opporunity has a different deadline, however, Study Abroad applications typically open after the October Study Abroad Fair.
Remember that other cultures may provide things like disability access in a different way. Take a bit of time to learn about the things that may be important to you such as the types of accommodation are typically provided in your host country, and be flexible and open to different ways of accommodating your disability.
We work with a range of partners, from universities to employers, volunteering organisations and internship partners. In addition, students may source their own placements for work abroad opportunities, such as Placement Years and shorter internships.
Our Study Abroad partners subscribe to a policy of equal opportunity and agree to not discrimiate on the basis of age, colour, gender, age, ethnicity, religion or disability. We have strong links with these partners and work to overcome challenges where students have particular needs. We link their webpages off our webpage and if thinking about making an application to study abroad, we would recommend looking at their webpages (and google maps) to see how they may meet your needs and global ambitions. For example, some partners are on smaller, accessible campuses, whereas others may requirine a daily commute across a crowded metropolis from the accommodation to campus.
The section 'In Placement Support' (below) details the support that Durham can give, however, please, be also aware that as we offer global opportunities, some partners and placements are in countries and regions in which infrastructure and facillities may not be as developed as in Durham.
Students can still apply for the full Maintenance Loan and/or Grant from Student Finance England (and equivalents in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland).
UK students may be eligible for Disabled Students’ Allowances whilst attending an overseas university or college as part of your UK course. In most cases, you must apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances before undertaking any study abroad so that your eligibility and entitlement can be clearly established prior to leaving the UK. For further details, please visit the relevant Student Finance webspage for your home nation: England & Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland.
Making an application?
When making an application there is range of support available:
- Study Abroad each Department has a Departmental Exchange Coordinator who will be able to provide guidance. If successful, your Departmental Exchange Coordinator will be able to assist on academic matters throughout a year abroad.
- Working abroad on a Placement Year there are Faculty Placement Managers who can provide advice on applications and sourcing a placement.
At any time you may wish to speak with further support services that you may already access. When making an application for a global opportunity, the University may ask students to declare if they a disability or condition that may require support. For Study Aboard this information does not form part of the scoring process. Instead the information may be used to assist with providing additional support, should you be offered a place.
If offered a place / Pre-Departure
If offered a place, we would recommend contacting the relevant global opportunity team (and/or if appropriate Disability Support or similar) at the earliest possible opportunity if you have particular needs that need accommodating (if you are a student compulsory year abroad, such as Modern Languages Students, you may be able to do this during your application). This will ensure that there is time to assist making reasonable adjustments and communicate with partners about specific needs. For example, Study Abroad partners often have a range of accommodation types available, however, accommodation in certain locations or of certain standards may not be unlimited.
Global opportunities have formal pre-departure processes to follow which depend on the placement type. These often include: breifings, a risk assessment and an application for travel cover. Please ensure you complete all of these in good time. In addition, we would advise that you find out as much as you can about your host culture. For example, if you have a disbility you may wish to think about how you will react to and answer questions about it in the language of your host country—look up key vocabulary words ahead of time. Or if you require medication, looking up where a local pharmacy is. The more you know, the better prepared you will be for the interactions in new environment.
Medications and Travel
Many common medications are banned or controlled substances in certain countries abroad - including transit countries. For example, in Japan this includes: Vicks Inhalers, Sudafed, medicines for allergies and sinus problems, cold and flu medication containing Pseudoephedrine and even some over-the-counter painkillers like those containing codeine. Likewise the frequent import of medical devices may be customs controlled. Most countries, however, have procedures and agencies to enable students to gain access to prescription medication/medical devices. The UK.gov Foreign travel advice pages provide a useful starting point for finding out medical import restrictions, the arrangements for access to medication and links to the relevant foreign health ministry webpages.
While on a global placement students may continue to access support from Disability Support, Colleges and the Counselling Services. Depending on the placement students may also receive academic support from a Departmental Exchange Coordinator (for Study Abroad) or placement support from the Careers & Enterprise Centre Faculty Placement Managers for students on Placement Years.
Our Study Abroad partner universites are asked to provide support to exchange students. However, the level and type of support available may vary depending on partner and country. Should you be facing an issue at a partner university, the International Office team will be able to connect you to the partner's support services.