China Daily USA
22nd October 2013
One determined student stepped off the traditional career path for blind people in China, and now savors a new life at university in Britain, Luo Wangshu and Ji Jin report.
Being a massage therapist is a perfect job for many people with a visual disability, but for Zheng Jianwei, it was far from enough.
The 30-year-old former massage therapist quit his hospital job in 2009 to prepare for admission to graduate school.
After about four years' endeavor, Zheng successfully gained an offer from the University of Essex in the United Kingdom and became a graduate student this month.
He took IELTS, the language-fluency test essential for university admission in the UK, in 2012 and scored 6.5 points, winning him offers from several universities in the UK, including Essex. He was the first vision-disabled examinee to take the IELTS in the Southwest Chinese region.
"I always want to learn more. Although people say that as a blind person, you should feel satisfied to have a decent and secure job and to be able to feed yourself. But I don't want to give in so easily. Something deep in my heart is still burning and yelling, saying 'Pursue your dream!'," Zheng says.
However, Zheng's path to graduate school was not easy.
"I can't take China's national entrance exam for graduate school, which doesn't provide a version for blind students," he says.
He then turned to search for graduate schools overseas. However, English became his nightmare.
Zheng studied in special schools for visually challenged students since primary school, but foreign language was never a main subject.
Prior to quitting his job and resuming studies to learn English in 2009, Zheng only knew the alphabet, a few words and some basic expressions. "Resuming learning English in my late 20s is not easy," he says.
It took him three years of intensive study to gain entrance to a graduate school overseas.