My experience as a deaf student at NTU

Written by Zoe, a 3rd year Fine Art NTU student

I’m Zoe, a profoundly deaf and final year student at Nottingham Trent University (NTU). I’m currently studying Fine Art since 2020 and my dream is to become a creative deaf artist who wants to inspire everyone about the deaf and disability community in Nottingham.

My sincere experience for being the only and one deaf student, among up to sixty hearing people in my course, are not very easy for me to carrying on throughout my university journey in the last two years. The reason that it was a totally different circumstance compared to my special-needed deaf school, I had attended for more than a decade – feel like I entered into the new world of its hearing people only.

I visited the Open Day at the city campus in November 2019, few months before I applied to this university. I feel this event is very important particular in my application progress as I need to understand about their support options, and looking around the campus, whether I feel suitable to be fit in this environment and community around NTU. This how I begun to discover about the Disabled Students’ Allowance application and communication support needs, which I felt this very value for me to use during my degree.

Before I enrolled for university, I applied for Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) and was awarded Specialist notetakers and support with my English grammar as English is not my first language to write. However, I feel the support is really important particular to fit in my course because I am a full British Sign Language user, and DSA provided the interpreter requirement for me throughout the academic year.

I have a difficult time, especially the lockdown back in early 2021 because it was super difficult to deal with this situation such as Teams meeting. This happened to me in frequency time when I struggling to see my interpreter on my screen carefully due to sometimes, the internet connection was really poor and the movement of interpreter’s hand was frozen like a glitched.

Thankfully, in my second year, had no more lockdowns, less online session, and more physical activities than my first year. This definitely benefit for me to experience something new and different surrounding university campus and its people.

I really pleased with this type of specialist support because when I sent my three-thousand words writing, they modified my writing into current grammar structure and return within few hours or next day, then I submitted my work effectively. Majority, this helped me to boost my English grammar structure skills and very value resource in the future, especially my final year, which it is very important thing to make sure my lecturer understands my writing. This also helped me to achieve the second-class grade (2:1) in each three modules, which I feel very satisfying to have support to improve my English writing.

To make a new friends and work collaborate with my interpreters, was a quite difficult to build up my abilities of communication skills, confident and mental wellbeing. However, this support provided me a lot of great memories and importantly, helped me to accomplish the higher grade I intended to achieve.

I ‘m currently in the final year at NTU in the academic year of 2022-23. I would be grateful if they provide me a full of support I need. Without interpreters, I would not be able to continue learn because it would be inaccessible compared to hearing students. This is why I feel I need to encourage other students, who has a learning disability or support needs, to apply the DSA and other support services to helps them to achieve in the future. 

Instagram @zoevisualart

You can visit Zoe’s artwork exhibition I talk with my hands 9 Feb – 29 March 2023 at The Window Gallery, City Arts, 11-13 Hockley, Nottingham, NG1 1FH. This installation uses hand-drawn typography to teach people about British Sign Language (BSL). 

For help, advice and resources whilst studying at NTU, take a look at the following for sources of support.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s