The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is the number one disability friendly campus in the United States. Our commitment to inclusion and access on campus also extends to study abroad programming. Students with a physical or sensory disability often incur additional expenses while studying abroad, from equipment rental to securing on-site support. For several years, the Enabled Abroad Scholarship, a joint fund between Illlinois International and the Division of Disability Resources & Education (DRES) has provided additional funding to support additional costs incurred. This past year, Illinois International established a permanent Enabled Abroad Scholarship Fund to which all individuals may give donate. The intention of the Enabled Abroad Scholarship is to cover these types of expenses and ensure that any Illinois student who wishes to pursue a transformative experience abroad may do so.
One student who has benefitted from the Enabled Abroad Scholarship was Hugo Travino. Hugo, a Spanish and Translation Studies major, was able to visit Costa Rica with the help of the Enabled Abroad scholarship in 2018. Hugo has a physical disability called Spinal Muscular Atrophy. He is not able to walk or hold much weight with his hands. He needed a personal assistant and wheelchair to be able to go abroad. According to Hugo, “The program would not have been accessible to me” without the scholarship funds he received. With the help of the Enabled Abroad scholarship, he was able to offset some of the costs of a personal assistant and manual wheelchair for excursions, and was able to study in Costa Rica for the summer.
The Enabled Abroad Scholarship fund provides up to $2,500 per term and a total amount of $4,000 in funding for students who apply.