Studying abroad with a disability
Here you will find information on studying abroad as an exchange student with disabilities.
If you are planning to study abroad, you should start your planning well ahead. This especially applies to students with disabilities and who require special needs arrangements during their exchange stay. In cooperation with your student counsellor, the staff at the International section of the Division of Student and Academic Affairs, can give you individual advice and assistance.
Describe your needs for accommodation early in the process. This enables the people helping you with the accommodation to best be able to find the most suitable solutions for your needs, in cooperation with your desired institution of education.
We know it can be difficult to be completely open about a disability. The organisation Association for Higher Education Access and Disability has made a helpful guide on openness which can be of great use.
If you are a recipient of benefits from NAV you have to get in touch with NAV International in order to find out how studies abroad affect your benefits. You can find more information on NAVs website.
The different municipalities in Norway make decisions regarding personal assistance and benefits. The support for personal assistance during studies abroad are not exactly the same in all municipalities, and as such you should get in touch with your respective municipality early in the planning process to find out what applies to your specific situation.
Choosing a country and institution of education
UiB have exchange agreements with educational institutions all over the world. In Europe we have Erasmus Agreements with many institutions as well. Early in the planning process you need to inform yourself on which agreements UiB has with the different institutions. This makes the application process easier, gives you more scholarship possibilities and better advice and counsel from UiB.
Take some time researching cultural differences, attitudes and accommodation possibilities for people with a disability and the language situation in your desired country.
Financing special needs arrangements
The Norwegian State Education Loan Fund (Lånekassen) gives extra grants to students who cannot work while studying because of a disability. This kind of extra grant can usually be maintained during an exchange study abroad, regardless of place of study (also applies to dyslexia). Get in touch with Lånekassen for information on how you can keep your extra stipend while studying abroad.
Accomodation grant - Erasmus
There is no need to specifically apply for a special accommodation grant through Erasmus. Students who apply for an exchange stay with an institution that UiB has Erasmus Agreements with will automatically be evaluated for an accommodation grant if they provide a medical certificate of disability as a part of the application.
Grants and foundations
Several grants and foundations give stipends to students for different reasons. Often it is not specified that a disability is required to receive a grant or endowment. In an application for a grant you should still describe what kinds of expenses are to be expected in relation to your disability and subsequent needs for accommodation.
The foundation Stiftelsen Sofies Minde [NO], for instance, gives a grant to students with a disability that are studying a bachelor's or master's degree in Norway or abroad.
It is important that you have an insurance policy that covers longers stays abroad. Check with your insurance company before you leave.
ANSA (Association of Norwegian Students Abroad) offers travel insurance for students.
NSO (Norsk Studentorganisasjon) offers travel- contents- and accident insurance for students.
Support and contact information
When studying abroad it can be useful to be a member of ANSA. As a student abroad with a disability you can experience situations and challenges where it could be helpful to speak to someone. With ANSA's social advisors you can discuss practical, emotional, student related or health topics. They also arrange social activities to help students get to know each other quicker and become a part of the student network at the place they are studying.