Since birth I have suffered from a visual impairment known as ocular albinism and my visual performance is at only 10%. It has always been my goal to live a normal life despite my disability and I therefore chose to follow the normal school path rather than go to a special school for the visually impaired.
My time at Frankfurt School
After graduating from high school, I completed an apprenticeship in the financial industry to gain some first practical insights. It was always my ambition to attend university afterwards and I selected the job-integrated study program at Frankfurt School (Bachelor of Science in Business Administration) for the following reason: I was looking for an institution with a first class reputation for finance degree programs which provided me with the opportunity to continue working at the same time and thereby combining theoretical and practical knowledge at once: a combination I consider highly valuable.
Living with my disability means relying heavily on support: for example it is sometimes difficult for me to view the chalkboard at university. A private university like Frankfurt School which offers small class sizes, proper technical equipment and personal access to the faculty turned out to be the ideal place to study for me.
My university schedule was condensed into three days a week including Saturdays and thus the workload was demanding. It has sometimes been a real challenge for me in the context of my visual impairment to read all the required material and thus be properly prepared for the next lecture. It was even more difficult when I was forced to submit papers by certain deadlines or the preparation for the exam began. A well-organized learning schedule was my key to successfully managing my studies.
A lot of the work at Frankfurt School is done in small groups. It was not always easy to align the preferences of some individuals with the overall goal of the group, but most groups I belonged to managed it quite well. Most of my group members were quite helpful to me in various ways, from supplying me with information which was hard to obtain due to my visual impairment – like conducting research in printed books – to letting me pick tasks which suited my capabilities best. I would like to thank everyone in this context again.
The most exciting time for me at Frankfurt School – obviously next to the semester abroad and the European university tournament in which we participated with the Frankfurt School basketball team – were the classes with my core group which only consisted of 13 students. I truly appreciate the interactive learning model at Frankfurt School: acquiring knowledge from the professor and my fellow classmates throughout the frequent discussions we had during a lecture led to a better learning outcome, especially in foreign languages.
A recommendation for an improvement would be the avoidance of having multiple exams at one day. Fortunately, this happened only once to me but it was too cumbersome for my eyes. I would like to highlight the vast amount of support I received during my time at Frankfurt School: the accessible lecture material, the special working station in the library (a large screen with magnification software) and most importantly, the special exam accommodations. Without such assistance, it would have been impossible for me to complete my studies.
Recommendation for other students with disabilities
Out of my opinion, what is most important when you suffer from a disability is the fact that you have to deal with it openly: you have to state explicitly what are your limitations and in which areas you need support. Approach the student administration with your case and do not be afraid to request special exam accommodations: it is only an equal treatment which you deserve and no betterment!