Educational Journey – a Deaf student – Jonathan Ko

Published: Sep 25th, 2018

Jonathan Ko

Spotlight: Deaf Learner – Jonathan Ko – we are pleased to share yet another profile of an inspirational Deaf graduate who has maintained a positive attitude throughout his studies. Here he gives some practical advice for Deaf students. 

 

  • What is your name and what is your job? 

My name is Jonathan Ko. I work as a Solution Architect (Data and Application)

  • What university did you go to? Did you like it there? 

When I was 19 years old I attended Staffordshire University and studied a BSc (Hons) in Computer Science. This also included a one year sandwich placement, where I was able to work alongside professionals in my chosen field and be involved in a real project. I am currently continuing my studies through distance learning with Staffordshire University, completing my MSc in Computing Science. I hope to be finished by January 2019.

  • Being Deaf, what support did you receive?

I am profoundly deaf, I don’t lip read, and I also have Usher Syndrome. My university has been very supportive, arranging BSL Interpreters, Note-takers and a deaf professional to support me.

  • What challenges did you face at university? 

I don’t really see my experiences as being challenges. My father always taught my to never give up and to keep going, so when there has been a challenge, I have seen it as an opportunity to do just that. When I completed my studies at school, I left with good results – I received distinctions for all modules of my BTEC National Diploma in Computer Science. This really gave me the confidence and excitement to move on to university, to gain further independence and continue to learn at a more complex level. When things get hard I just remember back to the advice of my father.

  • What do you think the university could have done better? 

I think the university was very fair with me. Early on I realised that I need to be proactive in ensuring I understood what was going on in the classroom. It isn’t school anymore, so I had to learn to approach the lecturer at the end of sessions or arrange a meeting with them to sit down and make sure I had everything I needed to keep up and complete assignments and work. Having a good group of friends also mitigated anything that lacked from the university – I was fully involved in class discussions and lab work.

  • Since university how have you found getting a job?

Well, the market is terrible which isn’t a good start. I have found that job agencies are not aware of supporting disabled people and I have had to really fight to ensure I have access and opportunity for interviews and make sure I am considered for roles. I have had to explain what support I need and even what is involved, such as having language modification, which has been difficult. I also see that there is little support to develop one’s skills in interviewing and such for deaf people as the agencies don’t see the need. For many people this all causes such disappointment that many end up giving up. I hope my experience will be different when I finish my studies.

  • Would you recommend to a Deaf person to go to university? 

If someone has not yet acquired a vocational skill or found their niche, then yes – progressing in your understanding as competency is an amazing experience. If someone has already found what they need to do and has learnt some skills in that area, then I would say no. University is not a must.

  • What advice would you give so they can be successful? 

I think having a good understanding of the profession you want to enter is very important as you then know what you are working towards. That might mean a sandwich course or an apprenticeship and meeting various Deaf professionals and getting their insight. It might change your mind about university, your course or it might give you even more drive to succeed on your course.

Jonathan Ko BSc (Hon), MBCS

Linkedln: – http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/jonathan-ko/17/404/89

 

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