CIEE Awards Two $20,000 Grants to Fund Deaf-accessible Study Abroad Programs

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The CIEE Access Grants to Gallaudet University and California State University, Northridge, will create opportunities for students traditionally underrepresented in study abroad

CIEE is pleased to announce that it has awarded its 2019 CIEE Access Grants to California State University Northridge (CSUN) and Gallaudet University to support two international education programs focused on Deaf students. The $20,000 grants recognize innovative programs that increase access to international educational opportunities for students in groups that are traditionally underrepresented in study abroad.

Dr. Lissa Stapleton, assistant professor in the Department of Deaf Studies at CSUN, will lead a Deaf-centered and linguistically accessible program entitled “From Apartheid to Today: Black Deaf Activism, Culture & Education in South Africa,” a Black Deaf-centered international experience at CIEE’s Global Institute in Cape Town, South Africa. Dr. Amanda Holzrichter, chairperson in World Languages & Cultures at Gallaudet University, and her colleagues will lead a cultural immersion course for students already bilingual in American Sign Language (ASL) and English entitled “Sign Language of Spain (LSE) and Spanish Deaf Culture in Madrid”.

Both schools acknowledged the limited study abroad opportunities available to Deaf students. “Many Deaf students would love the opportunity to study abroad, but the Americans with Disabilities Act does not apply outside the United States. This often leaves Deaf students who need interpreters unable to study abroad through their university or forced to fund accommodations on their own,” said Stapleton.

“Study abroad programs are also generally designed for hearing students who can learn the language of the host country orally and immerse themselves in the target culture through direct interactions within the host community, an option that is not accessible to Deaf students,” said Holzrichter.

 “CIEE is honored to partner with California State University Northridge and Gallaudet on these programs,” said James Pellow, president of CIEE. “We are committed to opening the door to international education for all students and thrilled to support Deaf-accessible programs that make study abroad more inclusive.”

In addition to the $20,000 grant, CIEE awards over $5,000,000 a year in scholarships and grants, so all students who want to experience study abroad, can do so.

CIEE received more than 180 grant proposals submitted by colleges and universities across the United States, including 38 from minority serving institutions, and 14 from community colleges.

For more information about CIEE’s Faculty-Led & Custom Programs, visit:

CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange
CIEE, the country’s oldest and largest nonprofit study abroad and intercultural exchange organization, transforms lives and builds bridges by promoting the exchange of ideas and experiences. To help people develop skills for living in a globally interdependent and culturally diverse world, CIEE sponsors a wide variety of opportunities for cultural exchange, including work exchange programs, teach abroad programs, and a worldwide portfolio of study abroad and internship programs for college and high school students. Visit

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