Gaps in support

March 13, 2014

Many disabled international students in UK universities encounter multiple disadvantages. The general prospectus may lack disability-specific information and cultural sensitivity, which can add to a feeling of anxiety for disabled students, especially those in a new country. With little information on the cultural interpretation of “disability”, international students often cannot disclose details of their impairments appropriately. This disadvantages them in accessing disability support and hampers their start at university. Despite this, there is a shortage of literature on the application of policies for the inclusion of disabled students and, specifically, disabled international students.

As there is now great demand among UK universities to attract an international clientele paying full fees, it is likely that more international students will require tailored disability support. If, however, facilities are designed to accommodate most students most of the time, this will go some way to create an inclusive environment for all without the need for tailored support. Concentrating on disabled international students’ experiences has direct implications, not only for this particular group but also for a wide range of students from diverse minority backgrounds who could gain from inclusive practices in education.

Armineh Soorenian
Author, Disabled International Students in British Higher Education: Experiences and Expectations

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