Photo: Foto Sena, Text: Tinkara Kern

Goreta Robert

Robert is a graduate of the Faculty of Economics, who completed his studies in 1998 as the first student to have used a hearing aid to assist communication. As Robert is severely hearing-impaired, he has faced numerous challenges ever since early childhood, along with having to deal with a lack of faith in his ability to successfully complete schooling, which was expressed by various experts and teachers.

But Robert was never one to be stopped by the negative attitudes of others and so, throughout his educational journey, he merely proceeded to prove with each new year and each completed level of education that everything can be accomplished if there is a will. The hardest part, according to him, was keeping up with the lectures at the faculty. He  used lip-reading to help in secondary school, but the university professors kept strolling around the lecture room, which often made it impossible for him to read their lips. Nevertheless, he tackled this situation as well and solved it successfully, this time by photocopying the notes of his fellow students who were willing to help him. On average, he passed his tests on the second attempt, but this never robbed him of courage or the will to continue on the journey towards his objective, graduating, which he succeeded in doing after five years of study.

Today, students who are deaf or hearing-impaired are entitled to a certain number of hours of interpreting speech to sign language, but Robert says that the process is simply impossible without the student’s strong will and perseverance, supported by continuous encouragement and assistance of colleagues. Naturally, he is very glad that faculties now offer this option, but points out that psychological help should also be available, or a personal mentor, with whom a student could speak freely about all the challenges they encounter, and who could offer professional advice as well as psychological support in return. He believes such an approach would really help deaf and hearing-impaired students to complete their studies with success and, above all, greater ease.