Scotland 2019

This trip was offered in 2019. This page is here for informational purposes only. 

For the second iteration of this course, we will be going to Scotland!

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 Scotland, 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 discover the Scottish context through site visits with organizations, university research centers, and self-advocates with disabilities in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

This 4-credit course will involve:

  1. A weekly two hour seminar on the UMass Amherst campus throughout the Spring 2019 semester (Fridays 2:30-4:30PM, Tobin Hall 520)
  2. Two weeks of travel to Edinburgh and Glasgow (August 3rd-17th)


  • Ashley Woodman
  • Christina Metevier


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 16th IASSIDD World Conference will be held in Glasgow from 6-9 August 2019. The Congress theme is Future4All. Anticipated attendance will be approximately 1200 to 1500 attendees from member countries across the world. IASSIDD Congresses, particularly the 3-yearly World Congresses, are the leading international research and practice meetings in the field of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.


The conference will introduce students to disability in the international context. During the remainder of the trip, we will be learning more about the Scottish context through site visits to non-profit organizations and university research centers around Edinburgh and Glasgow. We plan to meet with researchers, practitioners, self-advocates with disabilities and family members of people with disabilities.


We will be coordinating with TILL Travel during our trip to Scotland. TILL Travel offers people with learning differences the opportunity to gain interpersonal and social skills through the transformative experience of world travel. During the spring seminar, we will visit with the  TILL Travel group in the Boston area. At the end of the semester, we will host the group at UMass. While we’re in Scotland, we will meet with the TILL Travel group during the conference, at a group dinner, and during several tourist activities.


While in Glasgow, students will be staying at the Cairncross House at the University of Glasgow. Students will have their own bedroom with shared shower and toilet rooms. Rooms are arranged “hotel style” along a main hallway. There are shared kitchens and common rooms.

While in Edinburgh, students will be staying in the dorms at Queen Margaret University. Students will have their own room with a private ensuite bathroom. Rooms are clustered within apartments, so students will share a kitchen and living area with other students in our group.


The cost of the program is $2,850, plus the cost of airfare (which you will book yourself) and additional meals. This trip is eligible for financing from student loans.


  • 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. We are still accepting applications. Deposits must be received by December 15th to secure your spot. Applications should be submitted through the International Programs Office (IPO) website.

The IPO application can be accessed through this link. 

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 inviting students for interviews based on their applications.


This hyperlink provides the presentation from the information session.  If you were unable to attend the information session, please review these slides before contacting us.

International Perspectives on Disability Information Session


Email Christina Metevier or stop by office hours (Monday 12:00-3:00, Thursday 9:00-2:00, Friday 2:00-5:00) if you have any questions about the academic portion of the program.  For any logistical inquiries or questions about Scotland, contact Michael Romero ( at the International Programs Office.