Traveling with a Mood Disorder: An Introduction

In my 22 years of life the furthest I had ever traveled from home was to Orlando, FL for a week in the summer of 2016 for training for work. This was a significant distance for me but it was still on the landlocked part of the United States. I’ve always wanted to travel internationally but logistically and financially it just never worked out until March 2017. I participated in my school’s Nevada Global Business Program and spent my Spring Break in Australia and let me tell you it was one of the best experiences of my life.

Sydney Opera House, Sydney Australia

Through this program, I would travel to Sydney, Australia during my Spring Break, explore the area and learn about the economical ecosystem and Australian culture while earning 3 credits towards my MBA. Everything about this program seemed wonderful and it was what was keeping me going for the first half of this spring semester.

When I was filling out the paperwork for this program I was asked if I had a mental health issue and how I would manage it while abroad. It was kind of disheartening when I read that line of the paper work because I hadn’t even thought of it being an issue until that moment. I have been successfully managing my diagnosis for quite some time and wasn’t worried about any kind of issues occurring while abroad. I understood from a liability perspective why the school needed to ask the question but it made me uncomfortable.

I knew that under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA 35.108.b.1.ii) I am protected from discrimination but I was still worried that I will be discriminated against due to my diagnosis. Thankfully there were no signs of discrimination. However, I decided from that point that I was going to enjoy my trip as much as possible but I was also going to work to be extra cognizant of how my mental health affected the way I viewed things on my trip.

Through my next few posts I will share my experiences abroad and how my diagnosis affected my views abroad and how I managed any issues associated with my diagnosis. While you wait for my next post, run to the store and grab some delicious Australian wine or some Tim Tams from Target and experience a piece of the Australian culture!

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