See the Beautiful Reason This Woman’s Study Abroad Photo Is Going Viral

“See the Beautiful Reason This Woman’s Study Abroad Photo Is Going Viral”

by Caitlin Scott via “Cosmopolitan


This photo of University of Montana senior Gabrielle Broere has been viewed over 1 million times, and for good reason.

Broere was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that causes physical disability, when she was just 1 year old. With crutches, Broere is able to walk short distances, but according to The Montana Kaimin, she often uses a wheelchair to get around.

Although her disability poses challenges each day, she didn’t let it stop her from missing out on important experiences in her life, like studying abroad in Greece.

“I wasn’t really sure how people were going to react to me and how helpful they would be and if I was going to get left behind,” she tells Montana Kaimin. Broere had previously been to Peru for a 10-day trip, and knew how difficult it can be to access historical sites as a disabled person.

When she visited the Aegean Sea, Broere was unable to push her wheelchair through the sand. And, without shoes and leg braces, her feet would have been unable to bear the necessary weight. So her friends decided to picked her up and carry her across the rocky beach so that she could experience the sea. One of them snapped the inspiring photo above.

Broere describes the experience as “surreal,” saying,  “I was in complete awe of where I was and what was happening.” . . .


“Blind student helps others with disabilities study abroad”

“Blind student helps others with disabilities study abroad”

by Stephanie Brzezinski via “Lanthorn

Studying abroad is often encouraged at universities, but not to all students. Oftentimes, students with disabilities have a harder time organizing a trip abroad than their peers do. Juanita Lillie, a senior at Grand Valley State University who is legally blind, is working to change that.

After talking with friends and family, Lillie decided to travel to Costa Rica. The Spanish major spent the 2013 winter semester there earning credits and having fun. While studying abroad, she lived with a host family that she said is “like a second family to me.”

“As long as I told them what I needed, they would do anything,” Lillie said. “Everyone was willing to assist me. Everyone would help everyone.”

About a month ago, Lillie started researching study abroad opportunities for other students with disabilities. She found that there wasn’t a lot of information available on the topic so she decided to create her own site for students.

Lillie created the Facebook page “Abroad with Disabilities” to encourage more universities to have more inclusivity. The page can be found at

She hopes the page will raise awareness at universities and increase recruitment, training and faculty advising for students with disabilities to study abroad.

“It is a platform to share experiences and resources,” Lillie said. “It allows students with disabilities to speak with other students with disabilities. The ultimate goal is to provide an open networking opportunity to students with disabilities despite the university they come to.”

She added that she hopes this project expands to other universities so that more students can access study abroad. She emphasized that it needs to be more diverse and inclusive of other disabilities, such as colorblindness and dyslexia.

Natalie Gomez, a GVSU Spanish professor and a friend of Lillie, also has a disability and traveled to Costa Rica. She met Lillie in their Spanish 410 class last fall and shared the idea to start researching study abroad for students with disabilities. The pair has been collaborating on the project since then.

“Our main goal is to create a network for student with disabilities interested in traveling abroad,” Gomez said. “This is an inclusive space where students can openly talk about their doubts, fears, experiences — anything pertaining to traveling abroad.”

The pair will be attending the  . . . .