Determined to succeed
Even though he is sightless, Georgi Zhivankin has never placed limitations on achieving his dreams.
Despite the additional challenges of living and studying in a different country, Georgi graduated in January 2013 with a BSc Business Computing Systems (First Class Honours) from City University London's School of Informatics.
Georgi selected City from a number of UK universities because of its central location, employability prospects and its unique Professional Liaison Unit (PLU): "In terms of university selection, there were three main selling points that helped me select City as the place to study as opposed to other UK universities where I was offered a place, such as Warwick, York and Goldsmiths. The first of these was that City offers a Professional Liaison Unit (PLU) which assists students to do an internship whilst studying; secondly, City's reputation for employability with various high-calibre IT companies; and last but not least, City's location in London, one of the world's greatest world's cities. I really wanted to study in a big city."
A keen musician and pianist, Georgi initially applied to read for a BSc Computer Science with Music Technology:
"Music was the next important hobby to me after computers. I had been playing the piano in my native Bulgaria for seven years before moving to the UK".
Georgi had to overcome several hurdles, however, before properly settling down to undertake his studies:
"My first challenge was adapting to a new city and a new country - something faced by all students new to London and the UK, regardless of social status, disabilities, etc. Secondly, there were course modules that were a bit tricky to organise as I was unable to follow the standard module content without them being modified. City's student disability office, my tutor Dr Tillman Weyde, and other staff from the School of Informatics were brilliant in assisting me to adjust the modules for me to follow them successfully."
In his second year, Giorgi secured his first PLU Professional Pathway Internship with the National Autistic Society. He readily acknowledges the help offered to him by PLU Work-based Advisor, Mohson Khan:
"As my advisor for over three years, Mohson Khan was very helpful to my development. He assisted me in the initial stages of the Professional Pathway Scheme and was always there to offer support at times when I struggled to see the bigger picture, for instance, when my applications were rejected."
During his final year, though, the PLU sourced a vacancy with RepRisk AG for a web developer internship:
"Even though I was told that RepRisk was actually looking for a first year student, I was still advised to try my luck and apply for the position. I sent my CV to the company just thinking that nothing would come of it and received a reply from it's IT-lead inviting me for a phone interview. I got through this without trouble. I was recruited by the company on a six-month long internship, coincidentally, alongside a second year City colleague. After completing my internship, I was invited to Zurich and offered a full-time position with the company."
Mohson Khan says Georgi was a model student:
"Georgi demonstrated a lot of determination to secure a place on our Professional Pathway Scheme. His effort paid off and left an excellent impression on his various employers. His success has served to enhance City's reputation, the Professional Pathway Scheme and the work of the PLU. He was an absolute pleasure to support and a he was a model student. I wish him continued success in his career."
For Georgi Zhivankin there are no limits.