Leaving for a foreign exchange for a longer period of time might appear to be a very difficult task for a young person who has to face not only a completely new environment but also an unknown language and culture. Moreover, such experience can be even harder for a person with a disability who additionally needs to fight stereotypes and very often get used to setting that is not adjusted to their needs. Considering aforementioned difficulties, ESN has created a project called ExchangeAbility which main purpose is to help disabled students, by making local communities aware of their problems and life, mapping of university campuses and suitably directed promotion of the Erasmus+ exchange.
The ExchangeAbility project on an international level has been set up due to the contemporary situation regarding the mobility of students with disabilities. According to the data of the European Commission during the academic year 2009/2010 only 230 disabled students were granted a scholarship for an Erasmus+ exchange. It represents 0,14% of all the pupils of the Erasmus+ programme. Despite of the noticeable growth that number still stays quite low.
The project’s goals:
The project has two main purposes, which can be summed up as:
- Making ESN more approachable for students with disabilities and by that providing conditions and possibilities of development on every level of activities in the association as well as during the exchange.
- Increasing the number of disabled students leaving for an Erasmus+ exchange.
Useful Information and websites
For more information about the opportunities for students with disabilities to participate in the ERASMUS programme and other useful information please check out the following websites:
European Commission page for students or staff with special needs in ERASMUS mobility
ESN ExchangeAbility Project
European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education
LINK- Learning Inclusively Network + Know-how