Studying Abroad

Study Abroad without Limits
Visit the study abroad without limits page where you can access the SAWL forum and ask questions to local moderators about studying with a disability in another European Country. Ask about access, supports etc.

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B. (No) Limits on international exchange!?

When we look at today’s available information it is astonishing how big the gap is between the high objectives regarding international mobility and the little research and figures on mobility and students with disabilities. That is why LINK felt the need to engage in this research process.

On one hand the High Level Expert Forum on Mobility wants to give at least 50% of the people aged between 16 and 29 the opportunity to engage in some kind of cross-border mobility. Also, the social dimension of the Bologna-process claims the importance of social inclusion and equality on the domain of higher education on European level.

On the other hand it is hard to retrieve reliable research that actually gives attention to international mobility and students who need extra support. Although it is hard to gain reliable figures regarding this topic, the European Commission claimed that only 213 students with disabilities participated in Erasmus during the academic year 2008-2009. This number is an estimation and is higher than previous years but still remains very low. 

The statements above show the unbalanced situation on mobility and students who are labeled with a disability and identify themselves as a person with a disability. By doing research we want to give a boost to the current knowledge on students with a disability who are going abroad.

1. Goal of the research project

- Contribute to the need to gain more information and knowledge on international mobility and students with a disability.Image Goal

- Give voice to our participants, start a dialogue to gain deeper insight in their perspectives according to good practices, possible barriers and  lived experiences of going abroad.

- End up with rich, accessible, digital portraits that portray each participant as a unique person, which will inspire and learn other people more about going abroad as a student with a disability.

- Improve the opportunities for students with a disability concerning international mobility.


2. What do we want to learn?

Question Mark Image- At this point there is a lack of insight in the experiences of students with a disability who are going abroad. By putting the perspectives of students with a disability in the forefront we want to enhance this insight.
- During our process we think it’s important to approach the students and their stories with a very open mind. These stories form the starting point of our research and not a sum of questions that need to be answered. Our only question is: What do these students experience? What do they want to share with us?

3. How will we obtain our results?

We will use the qualitative method of “portraiture” from Sara-Lawrence Lightfoot (2005). This methodology is characterized by  starting from Imagethe stories of the participants and putting their subjective experiences and perspectives central. The researcher will function as the portraitist in a very open way when listening to your story. We will only use your story in a way that you feel comfortable with. There are no standard criteria on how a portrait is supposed to look like.

Portraiture is a method of arts-based research. The artistic component is seen in the end product: a portrait that reflects the essence of the student. What is appealing to this aesthetic component is the liberty it creates and the creativity it generates to produce a portrait that represents a person, with their thoughts, their wishes, their strengths, their vulnerabilities…

The scientific component of the methodology can be found in the reflection on the portraits of the different participants.
The method of portraiture can be illustrated by the example of Karl Frederik. In this example a lot of text was used and the presentation is rather formal. Karl Frederik wanted to be portrayed as a controlled, self-conscious and diplomatic person. Also as a man of a lot of words. This portrait is not yet available via this page, but will be available here in the near future.

4. Particpants

Participants ImageFor our research we are looking for people who are:
- students or who were students at the time they had an international experience;
- planning an international experience during the academic year 2011-2012 or who already have an international experience;
- and students who are being labeled as having a disability or who identify themselves as a person with a disability.
Are you interested to participate or do you know someone who might be?
Contact us directly or through Facebook!

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