"A side job, more than a source of income"
Tim van der Velden (21) has a visual impairment and talks enthusiastically and proudly about his experience of combining his master's degree in criminal justice at Radboud University with his job at the MuZIEum. Read Tim's story and be inspired by his experiences.
How did you come to work at the MuZIEum?
I have a form of macular degeneration, which is a progressive eye condition that will eventually make me virtually blind. After my first year of the Bachelor of Law I wanted to do something besides my studies, I wanted to make myself useful again after my previous part-time job which I had to quit because of my eye disease.
How did you get this side job?
I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do. My family eventually pointed me to the MuZIEum in Nijmegen. At first, I didn't know exactly what it entailed, but I soon found out that you can work there as a guide. The MuZIEum is a museum of experience where visitors can experience what it is like to be blind or visually impaired while being accompanied by a guide with a real visual impairment. I saw the vacancy on the MuZIEum website and applied there. After a good interview, I eventually started working as a guide at the MuZIEum.
What does this side job mean to you?
With the ‘dark experience’ you go along in my daily life, and we visit my house or go on vacation. Meanwhile, visitors can ask me anything and I tell them about what I experience as a visually impaired person and what I encounter during the day. Or precisely show them where I can offer added value because of my low vision. Of course, I also talk about my studies at Radboud University, the Master Dutch Law, and about other things I undertake in daily life.
So, by sharing my experience, I contribute a better understanding for the blind and visually impaired in the Netherlands by sharing my own story and by giving the visitors the experience what it means to be blind or visually impaired. This also brings me satisfaction, but above all it is a lot of fun to do! I haven't had a day yet when I went to work and didn't feel like it.
What do you get out of it for yourself?
Besides it being a normally paid part-time job with nice colleagues, it is also important for my soft-skills development, and I learn how to present an interesting and fun, didactic story in front of (large) groups. It also makes it even more challenging because you don't know exactly what kind of group of visitors you are going to meet; one tour, you can have fellow Radboud University students, and another tour you can have a government agency or a grandparent with grandchild. So, this gives a lot of challenge and variety to my work at the MuZIEum.
What message would you like to give to your fellow students?
It is in spite of and thanks to my visual impairment that I am able to have a job next to my studies at the MuZIEum. If you would also like to experience what it is like to be blind or visually impaired, please visit us! If you are visually impaired yourself and interested in a nice, challenging job, you can always check the website for more information and the vacancy overview (https://muzieum.nl/).
Do you also have a disability and do you find it difficult to take the step to a (side) job? Then contact the our team of study and career advisors.