Education Without Barriers – University of Windsor
Chaitanya Manchanda has been hard of hearing since childhood, but he hasn’t been one to let his condition get in the way of learning. Having made it through a normal school in New Delhi without special disability services, he saw no reason why he couldn’t attend a university with everyone else.
“I didn’t want to be classified or get sympathy—just an equal opportunity,” he says.
Now in the fourth and final year of an undergraduate degree in computer sciences, Mr. Manchanda says his time at Windsor has been the most challenging period in his life—and also a time that’s made him feel satisfied with what he’s accomplished.
“I had to learn to be more independent because I don’t have a family around for support,” he says. “Life is a challenge for me every day, but I am coping well in difficult situations too. I always try to keep my disability in my stride and achieve something.
Mr. Manchanda says Canada’s ethnic diversity means it has a lot to offer international students. He also likes the country’s system of support services for people with disabilities.
“I also encourage ‘special students’ to apply,” he says. “Canada has a lot to offer, and one won’t feel at a loss—it is an education without barriers!”
Like the composer Beethoven, Mr. Manchanda also hasn’t let hearing impairment hinder his enjoyment of music. He has played the tabla (a type of Indian drum) since the age of 8 and has performed publicly 16 times. Although a rigorous academic schedule has put his drumming somewhat on hold, he hopes to return to it soon—and he’s keeping his eyes open for more opportunities to perform.
“I am hoping to bounce back and join a reputed music school in Toronto some time soon, to hone my skills further and probably give more concerts,” he says.
As far as more practical work goes, Mr. Manchanda plans to look for jobs in the information technology sector and get valuable work experience before beginning a masters degree.
“I do have plans to return to India, but none as yet till I am well settled on the career front,” he says.