Amsterdam 2021

Unfortunately, we had to cancel this study abroad trip in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. We begin our planning of these trips very far in advance. At this time, we don’t feel confident that things will return to “normal” by Summer 2021. We hope to offer this course in 2022 (destination to be determined).

For the third iteration of this course, we will be going to Amsterdam, the capital city of the Netherlands.

This course will introduce students to cross-cultural views on disability, public policies, and practices that affect the quality of life of people with disabilities worldwide. In Amsterdam, we will attend the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual Disability (IASSIDD) conference and learn more about disability from representatives from over 50 countries.  We will learn more about the Dutch system for supporting people with disabilities through site visits with organizations, university research centers, and self-advocates with disabilities in Amsterdam and the surrounding areas.

This 4-credit course will involve:

  1. A weekly two hour seminar on the UMass Amherst campus throughout the Spring 2021 semester
  2. Two weeks of travel to Amsterdam (July 2-17, 2021)


Ashley Woodman, Ph.D.


Christina Metevier, Ph.D.





The spring seminar is intended to provide the foundation in disability studies that is necessary to take full advantage of our time abroad. Students are not expected to have a background in disability before joining this course, so we will discuss the definition of disability, supports and services for people with disabilities, and other key topics. Students who have taken classes on disability in the past will find the focus on the international context novel. The class is also a great opportunity to get to know the faculty and students you will be traveling with!


International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

The International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities is the first and only world-wide group dedicated to the scientific study of intellectual disability. Founded in 1964 as the International Association for the Scientific Study of Mental Deficiency, IASSIDD is an international, interdisciplinary and scientific non-governmental organization which promotes worldwide research and exchange of information on intellectual disabilities. IASSIDD has official relations with the World Health Organization.

The IASSIDD European Congress will be held in Amsterdam July 5-9, 2021. Additional information about the theme of the conference as well as keynote speakers will be posted to the IASSIDD website as the conference approaches:


The conference will introduce students to disability in the international context. During the remainder of the trip, we will be learning more about the Dutch context through site visits to non-profit organizations and university research centers in and around Amsterdam. We plan to meet with researchers, practitioners, self-advocates with disabilities and family members of people with disabilities. Additional information on our site visits will be posted to this website as these visits are confirmed.


The details of this trip are forthcoming, but we will likely be staying in university dorms, hostels or hotels. Additional information on accommodations will be posted here once confirmed.


The cost of the trip will be finalized prior to accepting applications. The budget should be settled by early to late Fall 2020.


  • Transportation (to and from the airport, to and from all site visits, etc.)
  • Some meals (group dinners, lunch during the conference)
  • Accommodations
  • Conference registration fee


This program is open to all majors. Sophomore standing or higher is preferred, but freshman will be considered. Graduating seniors are also eligible to participate. If you are a Psychology major, this course counts toward your major as an upper level elective (400 level) or a seminar.

The program is limited to 20 students, so apply early. Applications will be submitted through the International Programs Office (IPO) website. The director link will be posted to this website.

You will be asked to submit a short essay in response to the question “Why do you wish to participate in this program? Include prior experiences and the relevance of this program to your course of study and future plans.” We will be meeting with students in small groups to answer any additional questions about the program.


We will host an information session in the Fall 2020 semester.


You can email either of the faculty leaders with any questions about this program or drop by during office hours.

Christina Metevier:
Ashley Woodman: