I Can travel the world – Hanif’s story

The poster shows a large image of Hanif sitting on a suitcase, smiling as he looks off into the distance. There is a quote from Hanif which reads “Being able to learn another language has broadened my horizons.” At the bottom of the poster there are contact details for the College with a line that says ‘The world can seem like a big place but at RNC we equip our students with skills that help them go out and explore it’.

With their A Levels coming to an end, many 18 year olds wish to travel the world. For RNC student Hanif Khan, this once-frightening prospect is now a dream that can come true, thanks to his increased confidence and independence.

Hanif had usable vision during his primary school years in Stoke on Trent. He lost his peripheral vision in Year 6 and was diagnosed with the condition Retinitis Pigmentosa. At high school, he had a learning support assistant whilst he undertook long cane training. “I felt quite restricted and that I was always being watched,” he said.

Family, friends and staff members at RNC have all commented on Hanif’s increased confidence since he started his A Levels in September 2013. He did not feel confident enough to take part in a secondary school trip to France; however, as part of his Spanish course at the College, Hanif visited Spain earlier this year and would love to go again.

“I tried some new things like eating squid and fishing for mussels. I can appreciate the country more now that I have been there, rather than just reading about it in books,” he said. “I think that you have to travel to learn other cultures and improve your own language skills.”

Hanif leaves RNC to study Spanish with Arabic at university this year. He aims to become a teacher but his ambitions do not end there: Hanif would like to visit the Arctic Circle and experience the delayed sunsets and Northern Lights for himself.

“I have definitely increased my independence. Before I came to RNC, I had never travelled alone on a train. I arrived at College as a nervous 16 year old; now I have got my A Levels and am going to university. And, just like anyone else, now I can travel.”

As the new face of the College’s national I Can campaign, which aims to break down the stereotypes of living with a visual impairment, Hanif’s video of his time in Spain with his fellow A Level Spanish students is available to view at www.rnc.ac.uk/ican

Article written by Anika Backhouse, PR, Publications & Outreach Officer at RNC