Attaullah Shahbazkail

Computer Science - BSc (Hons)

In Afghanistan, Attaullah’s disability stopped him receiving an education, so he never thought university would be a part of his future. With support from our disability team, his determination and perseverance has helped him achieve his dreams. 

“I was born in Afghanistan with a condition that consists of Cerebral Palsy, Mitochondrial disorder with Lactic Acidosis, Choreo-athetosis and Dystonia. In Afghanistan, there were no schools or health-care facilities for people with disabilities, so going to school wasn’t an option for me. I watched other children of my age going to school and playing with each other, I envied their freedom to chose what they wanted to be, I didn’t think I’d ever have the chance to do the same.

However, when I was 8 years old, myself and my family had the chance to move to the UK. When I arrived, I didn’t have any knowledge of the curriculum, so I started with the basics of the English Language and mathematics. I quickly became fluent in English and by the time I reached secondary school, I was achieving excellent grades.

When I visited the university, I was amazed at the facilities. The 3D Design Printers, Computer Labs with Servers, and the lecture halls blew me away. I already had a passion for computing, so I knew it was the place for me to continue my education.

I was so excited to come to BCU, it felt like my dreams were coming true. I went to Afghanistan for a 2-week holiday before starting university. During my trip, the Taliban took over Afghanistan and all flights were grounded. I knew I wouldn’t be able to leave anytime soon and I was worried about what this would mean for my next steps. I was in contact with the university support team and I explained my situation. They gave me as much support as possible and helped me to submit both my first and second semester assignments in the second semester, making it possible for me to continue my studies. It was a challenging, scary time but I’m proud to say I got through it.

It sadly meant that I missed Welcome Week at the university, but the BCU support team offered me as much information as possible and made me feel welcome, even if I couldn’t be there in person. I was worried about coming to BCU, having missed so much, but I’ve settled in really well; I get along with everyone, I’ve made close friends, collaborated on projects, and led my team to success in group projects.

I also have the support team to thank for providing a part-time typist. I can only type with one hand due my CP condition and this quickly becomes tiring when I have assessments to work on. The disability support at BCU gives me an equal chance at success and means I never feel left behind due to my disability.

BCU has given me the creative freedom to explore projects that I’m interested in. The learning is fast paced and interesting, there’s always practical applications to the learning that we do, and it helps bring the software that we use into reality and see how it will be used in the real world.

My lecturers are also very supportive and knowledgeable. Whenever I have an idea of something I’d like to do, the staff are more than happy to help bring that idea to life. They have great connections with industry, I’ve been able to network, become more professional and work on my leadership skills thanks to the connections with companies and businesses.

I’m proud to see how far I’ve come, despite the difficulties I’ve faced in my life, I’m on track to achieve my goals of succeeding in my degree and applying for a Master’s degree to continue my Computing education.
To me, ‘I am BCU’ means bringing one’s dreams, ambitions and ideas to reality and fruition.”