When I am writing this article, I am already about three months in Dresden. I am not there for vacation, trip or any event, but because of the Erasmus + study exchange program. For those who do not know, it is the possibility of university students to spend one or two semesters at a partner university abroad. Among students, the Erasmus + project is becoming more and more popular because of a number of advantages such as improving your knowledge of a foreign language, independence or contacts with new people and culture. Surely, it is a chance any student should not miss. But what about people with disabilities? Do you think that it is impossible for a blind person to take part in it? Everything is possible.
I had heard about the possibility of going abroad already before I have started my university studies, which is already more than three years ago. However, it seemed like something I can only dream of because of the fact that I am almost blind.
First when attending the ICC – an international educational camp for young people with visual impairments, where the topic is often discussed, I started to play with the idea of going somewhere. But still, I did not have any clue how to go about it and where to start.
The turning point came with the participation in the Campus Visually Impaired project in Frankfurt, Germany, which took place in summer 2018.
I can certainly say that if it wasn’t for this event, where I participated only incidentally, I probably am not writing this article today. That’s why I decided to start my foreign story right from that point.
Campus Visually Impaired
In short, Campus Visually Impaired was a conference organized by a German organization for the Blind (DVDS). It focused on the European internationalization of people with visual impairments. During the five days we had the opportunity to listen to lectures on the topic of studying and working abroad, both from students who attended similar mobilities themselves and from representatives of organizations and the coordinators of foreign mobilities at a specific university.
Another topic was the removal of barriers facilitating internationalization and European integration. For example, we learned about international and national organizations for the blind and partially sighted and about their activities, about the latest laws and proposals that remove barriers in public life, but also about the various compensatory aids that could facilitate the studying itself.
Of course, there was also enough space for discussion. This was particularly enriching, as the participants themselves were university students from different parts of Europe, many of whom had already had experience with studying and working abroad. Later, I appreciated a lot of their advice during my Erasmus application.
The combination of all the useful information, the stories of others and the pleasant and motivating environment has caused what the conference’s own aim was – to convince students with visual impairments to go abroad.
Afterwards, it was decided – I want to study abroad. But there was a difficult task – the realization of the mobility itself. You can read about the application process for the special grant for the handicapped, but also about my experiences and stories from a foreign university in other parts of this new series. You can read the next episode right here.