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“I live for my job”: David’s life-changing story of finding his dream job

Picture of David and text that reads: Humans of EASPD

Our next Humans of EASPD story features David who chose courses at university in Austria and sat in lecture rooms with students with and without disabilities.

We showcased a story of the humans behind the BLuE programme who guided students with intellectual disabilities to pursue higher education in Salzburg, Austria. This time around we switched the lens and asked David, a BLuE programme student himself, his journey and how becoming a BLuE student led him to finding his dream job. His story of choosing and exercising his autonomy in achieving his career goals. 

 

Why did you join the BLuE programme at the Salzburg University of Education Stefan Zweig?

David: I came across the BLuE programme randomly. I was reading the newspaper and found an article on the experience of the first ever BLuE student. This was the first programme I saw in Austria that focussed on university education for students with disabilities — I didn’t think twice and signed up for it.

Going into day one, I was nervous and didn’t know what to expect. But today, my life has changed completely, and I learned so much, both, from professors and students with and without disabilities.

 

What do you do for a living now?

David: I am an assistant at a school in Austria. I don’t teach lessons to the students, but I help when they can’t understand how to do a task assigned to them by a teacher. I mainly assist the kids who need a bit of extra help to follow a class. 

In fact, tracing back, I worked as a school assistant through the BLuE programme in my fourth semester that made me realise, I like kids! Even if they hate me sometimes or don’t understand me, I still love being around them because I know they have their own personality and character, and I don’t want to change that.

Sometimes I take off my professional hat and extend a hand to help out kids in the classroom who are struggling with personal issues. I am so happy I worked hard and found my dream job.

How did you choose your courses at university?

David: Honestly, I did not know what I liked or disliked. The programme assigned a tutor to me who guided me and explained the variety of courses that I could sit for.

So, I went down the ‘creativity’ path. Teaching science to kids; making art projects with them; planning lessons, are some of the classes I took at university. I thought they were different and interesting. However, I eventually moved towards the sports and movement courses.

The programme encourages you to cast a wide net and that’s why I tried so many new things in the first semester and eventually started narrowing down to what I liked by trying. Which is why I like this programme so much! It gives you the flexibility to choose.

Would you recommend students to join the BLuE Programme?

David: A big yes! I found my dream job and I really live for it. I learned from my peers with and without disabilities — that’s what this programme offers. It changed my life. Today, I work on many different projects, I am around kids, and I learned so much more than I expected. For people with intellectual disabilities, this is a very good start to finding their career path.