On Studying Abroad & Navigating London in a Wheelchair by CAPA Student Kenny Burr
Words by Kenny Burr, a Wright State University student who is studying abroad in London this semester with CAPA International Education. Below is his story:
I live in New York and go to Wright State University, which is in Dayton, Ohio. Being in London is an awesome way to wrap up college! This is my first trip abroad. It is also the first time that a student from Wright State who is in a wheelchair has studied abroad for a full semester. And, I am the first student at CAPA’s London center in a wheelchair as well. So, I am being a ground-breaker on a number of fronts, which often happens to me because I like to push the envelope.
I was able to get around most of the places pretty well in my wheelchair. I have to decide in advance whether to use my heavier motorized chair or a lighter weight one that can, if necessary, be pushed, since many places have a step here or there, or other unpredictable obstacles. I usually travel with a personal assistant (PA) just in case I need help with anything.
The only exception, in terms of the ease of getting around, was the Neasden Temple, a Hindu shrine. I had to take 3 buses to get there, which made me half an hour late. And the neighborhood didn’t have curb cuts on all the streets. But, the temple itself was worth the trip. It is made entirely of marble and was beautiful! There is this wonderful dome which has statues of the five different incarnations of the Hindu spiritual leader. Everyone was very welcoming, although people kept coming up to me and saying things like “I hope you know Vishnu is watching over you” and “I hope you get better.” I realize I have a disability but I don’t feel like I need to “get better.” I just am who I am. It felt weird to be prayed for, although I am kind of used to this.
Thanks Kenny for sharing!
Check out more of his stories in his blog!