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Beyond the Wheelchair: How Oxford and UCL Open Doors to Inclusive Education

Beyond the Wheelchair: How Oxford and UCL Open Doors to Inclusive Education

by Isabella Duarte-Crespo

Imagine me, Isabella, just your average 17-year-old with dreams bigger than my fears, despite the wheelchair that's been with me longer than most of my friends. Heading into the world of higher education, I was blown away by what I found at the University of Oxford and University College London (UCL). It wasn't just the spires and the libraries that caught my eye; it was how they welcomed students like me with open arms.

Both these amazing schools have whole departments focused on making sure students with disabilities are not just accommodated but celebrated. They've thought of everything so we can focus on our studies instead of our limitations. For instance, once you let them know about your classes, they make sure everything's ready for you.

At Oxford, the Disability Advisory Service doesn't just talk the talk; they really tailor their support to fit you. Need a ramp for that lecture hall up the stairs? Done. Their support system is so good, you can even control doors with your iPad! No more awkwardly waiting for someone to help you out.

And UCL? It's right in the heart of the city, perfect for someone like me who loves the energy of London. The campus facilities are awesome, blending into the city and offering the best of both worlds. Being at UCL means you're part of the city's vibrant life. Whether it's grabbing a coffee at a local café or exploring the museums nearby, everything's within reach. The city feels like an extension of the university, offering endless opportunities for exploration and inspiration. This urban vibe, combined with UCL's commitment to accessibility, really makes it a place where I can see myself not just studying, but living and thriving.

Both places made me feel like my dreams are valid and achievable, not despite my disability, but alongside it. Their eagerness to help wasn't just impressive; it was empowering. They're not just about giving you a ramp or tech to open doors; they're about opening doors to your future, making sure your path to success is as smooth as it can be. For a teenager looking at the daunting world of higher education, knowing there are places where I'm not just another application but a person with potential, well, it means everything.

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