- 18 years of age or above
- Good academic and disciplinary standing at Penn State
- 3.0 cumulative GPA or better at the time of application
- Sophomore standing or above at the start of the program
People with disabilities are the largest minority in the world, making up 15% of the world's population. Many people with disabilities often face discrimination, stigma, lower socioeconomic status and decreased life expectancy. Disability not only spans many professional boundaries (such as policy makers, doctors, engineers, human service providers and teachers) but is a human rights issue as well.
Students in this program will learn about different aspects of culture and disability through:
- Meeting with various service agencies in Ireland that provide resources for people with disabilities.
- Advocacy and assistance to people with many different types of disabilities.
- Visits to various sites and guest speakers including experts from Trinity, NUI Galway and University.
The first three weeks the group will be in Dublin. Students will participate in a variety of activities, which include visiting community service agencies and engaging with individuals with disabilities. At Trinity College, our students will gain an understanding about students enrolled in a unique program for individuals with Intellectual Disabilities, the National Institute of Intellectual Disabilities (NIID).
Throughout the program, students will engage with various service providing agencies (which may include sensory disabilities, intellectual/cognitive disabilities, and physical disabilities). Class time will serve to prepare for engagement and reflection as well as providing background information for understanding global policy and how to make comparisons. The background knowledge is necessary for students to get the most out of the activities in week four.
During the fourth week, the group will attend the 5-day International Disability Summer School at NUI Galway which equips participants with insights and understanding of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). The UNCRPD was adopted in 2006 to change attitudes toward people with disabilities internationally and ensure people with disabilities have equal human rights and freedoms. Previous participants of the NUI Galway Summer School included individuals from over 39 different countries ranging from people with disabilities, their families, advocates, policy makers as well as many others.
The Culture and Disability program has a strong service component and because these opportunities are cooperative ventures between Penn State and Irish organizations, students are required to maintain professionalism throughout. As a representative of Penn State, it is required of students to do the following:
- Abide by the policies, procedures, practices and professional philosophies of our host organizations
- Be on time and attend all service requirements and class meetings (including deadlines for class assignments)
- Be respectful and show initiative in your involvement with the individuals in the programs we visit
- Maintain appropriate confidentiality and always demonstrate ethical behavior
- Dress accordingly for service and site visits (instructors will provide further information
Summer: This program will not run in summer 2021, but hopes are that program operation will resume in 2022. Contact the faculty leader or check back for information about future travel on this program.
On a typical year, students are advised to arrive on the posted start date. Students will be responsible for finding their own accommodations upon completion of the disability policy school.
Program NoteThis program may have limited space, so we recommend that you identify an appropriate backup program and complete the Education Abroad Backup Questionnaire in your Penn State Application when applying to this program. Should you not be accepted for your first-choice program, you will automatically be reviewed for your backup choice. For help on choosing an appropriate backup, please contact your education abroad adviser.
Program Leader Information
- Dr. Katie Kostohryz
- Assistant Teaching Professor of Education (Rehabilitation and Human Services), Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education
- Dr. Amber O'Shea
- Assistant Professor of Education (Rehabilitation and Human Services), Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education
- Dr. Jessica Henry
- Assistant Clinical Professor of Education (Rehabilitation and Human Services), Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education
Course DescriptionAll students will be enrolled in RHS 420 or SPLED 420: Culture and Disability for 6 credits.
Course SelectionStudents are required to take the prescribed course listed above as participants on the program. The Education Abroad Office will register you for this course. To determine how this course will fit into your degree requirements, you will need to work with your academic adviser. Suggested tips:
- Research courses offered on your program
- Meet with your academic adviser to discuss potential courses abroad and your degree requirements.
- Complete your Course Selection Questionnaire in the ‘Post-Decision’ section of your application to choose the course you want from the cross-listed program options.
- Keep in mind that courses abroad may change or may be unavailable for your selected term, so you will need to discuss possible back-up course options
- You must enroll in a minimum number of 6 credits.
- You cannot take any courses abroad on a Pass/Fail basis
- If you are studying abroad in your final semester at Penn State, please note that Penn State may not receive your grades in time for graduation
Housing and Meals
Students will be housed on the Trinity College of Dublin and NUI Galway campus in student residence halls. Accommodations include kitchen, shared room, laundry services, and shared bath.
MealsStudents will be independently responsible for their meals.
Costs and Funding
Program CostsSummer Costs
For more information on program costs, please be sure to review the budget sheet. These budget sheets include information on costs that are billable to the bursar bill, as well as estimated additional costs. Costs vary by program, so it is important to review this information carefully.
Please note that tuition rates may vary depending on major and class standing.
ScholarshipsThe Education Abroad Office awards a number of grants and scholarships to students who participate in an education abroad program through Global Programs. The application for the scholarships awarded through the Education Abroad Office is included with your program application. Eligibility is based on academic merit and/or financial need. You must have a current FAFSA on file to be awarded. There are additional scholarship opportunities through our partner universities, Penn State Academic Departments, and other sources. To view a full list of scholarships, eligibility requirements, and deadlines visit Funding Study Abroad.
Student AidPenn State students who plan to study on a Penn State approved program can use most forms of financial aid towards the cost of the program. Exceptions include work-study awards and some athletic scholarships. If you have specific questions regarding your aid awards, contact the Penn State Office of Student Aid.
Withdrawal & Refund PolicyWithdrawal and refund details are dependent on the timing and reason for your withdrawal from a Penn State Education Abroad Program. For specific details and steps on how to withdraw, read the Education Abroad Policies.
After CommitmentOnce a student has committed to a Penn State Education Abroad program, they are financially responsible for any fees incurred on their behalf. Therefore, if a student plans to withdraw from a program it is their responsibility to immediately notify the Education Abroad office, in writing; email is preferred.
Regardless of the timing or reason for the withdrawal, the student will be responsible for paying the Education Abroad Administrative Fees. For faculty-led freestanding programs, there is a specific withdrawal penalty schedule.
Education Abroad makes every attempt at keeping the program and administrative costs to a minimum. However, when you commit to participating in a program, Education Abroad begins to make financial commitments on your behalf. In case of withdrawal, the following fees will be charged to your Bursar account
Upon Commitment - 90 Days Prior to Departure: 25% Program Fee + EA Admin Fee
30 - 89 Days Prior to Departure: 50% Program Fee + EA Admin Fee
29 Days - Departure Date: 100% Program Fee + EA Admin Fee
Following the start of the summer semester, any adjustment of tuition charges will be made according to the Tuition Adjustment Schedule as determined by the Office of the Bursar. More information can be found on the University Senate Policy on Withdrawal and Leave of Absence.
If a student withdraws after the start of a program, any adjustment of Penn State tuition charges will be made according to the Tuition Adjustment Schedule as determined by the Office of the Bursar. Students may be responsible for up to 100% of program costs. In most cases, partial credit cannot be awarded for leaving a program before its successful completion.
After the Start of the Program
For additional information on withdrawal policies, separate and apart from financial consequences, please consult the University Senate Policy on Withdrawal and Leave of Absence.
General InformationStudying abroad can be one of the most exciting and transformative experiences of your college career. It is an opportunity to develop independence, build cross-cultural competencies, grow as a person, and enhance your academic program. Entering a new culture can be challenging for everyone. You may ask yourself: is this the right country for me? What are their cultural norms? How will my identity be perceived there? What can I do to prepare for this experience? What will my daily life be like? Below are resources to help you answer these questions.
Accessibility ConsiderationsPenn State Education Abroad works closely with campus resources and our partner institutions around the world to ensure that students of all abilities reach their goal of studying abroad. While we cannot guarantee the accessibility of all program sites and locations, specific accommodations may be arranged on an individual basis. If you have accommodation needs or further questions please consult with the Student Disability Resources office and your Education Abroad Adviser. Additional resources are available through the Global Programs Website. Disability information will not be used during the admissions process, but rather is meant to provide students with resources to help in planning a successful experience abroad.
Gender and LGBTQA ConsiderationsThere are dramatic and subtle differences in how gender, identity, sexual expression, and sexual health are perceived in different countries. Before going abroad, it is important that you research the specific country or countries you will be visiting and have a full understanding of their cultural norms. Below are some resources to help you with that research and provide guidance for your life abroad.
- LGBTQA Resource Center
- LGBTQA Resources for Study Abroad
- Education Abroad Guide for LGBTQA Travelers
- Education Abroad Guide for Women Travelers
Race, Ethnicity, and Faith ConsiderationsWhen choosing a study abroad location and preparing for your travels, you will want to be mindful of how your experience will be different than what you are used to in the United States. Your racial, ethnic, and spiritual identities may be interacted with and labeled by others differently than what you expect. Here are resources to help you prepare for these differences.
- Multicultural Resource Center
- Multicultural Offices by College
- Religious Diversity Abroad Guide
- Education Abroad Guide for Diversity and Study Abroad
Non-U.S. CitizensIt is possible for non-U.S. Citizens to study abroad through Penn State. To do so successfully, you must plan early because this process may involve obtaining visas and other governmental procedures. Check with your DISSA Adviser prior to committing to a study abroad program and speak with your Education Abroad Adviser for specific information on the host country. If you plan on traveling to other countries during your study abroad experience, you will need to research and make plans to adhere to immigration policies for all of the countries that you plan to travel to and through. You are responsible for applying for visas for all applicable countries on your own. Advisers in the Education Abroad office cannot apply for your visa for you. Additional information may be available through your country's embassy and the consulate for your study abroad country.
Steps to Study AbroadThe planning stages outlined on the Global Programs website will help you have the best study abroad experience possible. We recommend that you begin this process at least one year prior to the semester you plan on studying abroad. Visit the Steps to Study Abroad section of the Global Penn State website.
How to ApplyClick the “Apply Now” button on this page to get started!
Application procedures can vary by program. Students should consult the application instructions available within each application. For more information, see the Application Process section of the Global Penn State website.
DeadlinesYou must apply to this program by the Penn State deadline, February 1. For a list of deadlines visit the Application Process page of the Global Programs website.
Contact Education AbroadIf you have general questions about Education Abroad opportunities at Penn State, please email EducationAbroad@psu.edu.
Peer AdvisersEducation Abroad Peer Advisers are Penn State study abroad returnees who advise students on education abroad opportunities at Penn State. Each Peer Adviser can explain program options, give an overview of the study abroad process, as well as provide information about their experience abroad. Peer Advisers have walk-in hours in Boucke Building during the fall and spring semester when classes are in session. For more information, visit the Education Abroad Peer Adviser website.
Education Abroad AdvisersEducation Abroad Advisers can provide information about courses, support services, application processes, housing details, program costs, cultural expectations, pre-departure requirements, and much more. Education Abroad Advisers have two types of meetings - scheduled appointments and walk-ins. For more information about how to meet with an Education Abroad Adviser, please visit the Global Penn State website.
For information about upcoming events, scholarship opportunities, deadlines, and much more visit the Global Programs Events Calendar and follow us on social media!
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