Dubai: A hearing-impaired German student, who recently graduated in aviation management from Dubai, says defying the odds in a world that was long silent to him has helped him scale greater heights.
Linus Benjamin Bauer, 33, who has an MSc (Master of Science) in Air Transport Management from City University of London in Dubai, was recently presented with the Outstanding Academic Achievement Award by Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of Dubai Civil Aviation and chairman and chief executive of Emirates airline and Group.
Diagnosed as ‘profoundly deaf’ at birth, Bauer said the first 13 years of his life were the most challenging.
“As a child and teenager, I had to cope with people’s negative perceptions and pre-judgements towards my disability,” he said. “I had to improve and apply my lip-reading skills in order to be able to communicate with people.
“Because I didn’t know sign language back then, if people didn’t understand what I was saying, I had to write it down on paper. There were lots of exhausting moments.”
The local education authority back home refused multiple requests from his parents to send him to a primary school.
“I would have gone to a special school for people with disabilities,” he said. “But after a long legal battle, I was able to join primary school like all the other kids. However, it was very challenging for me to follow the teachers. Together with my mum, I had to review everything at home in the evening.”
As a child and teenager, I had to cope with people’s negative perceptions and prejudgements towards my disability. I had to improve and apply my lip-reading skills in order to be able to communicate.
The turning point came when Bauer received a cochlear implant in 1999. “Even then, the principal of the secondary school doubted that I would be able to finish school. I underwent intensive auditory and speech training for the next four years. That allowed me to be reborn in a new world which has been more lively and colourful. The childhood struggles and experiences in the past shaped the ‘warrior by nature’ I have become today. My motto in life has always been to work twice as hard and to never give up in the face of setbacks.”
Bauer, who is married to a Chinese flight attendant and has a six-year-old daughter, said he has been fascinated with aviation since childhood — whether it was the dynamics of the highly complex industry or merely the ability to watch the earth as a passenger from a plane window. He said he followed his dreams and landed an internship at a UAE-based carrier, following which there was no looking back.
Now a freelance aviation consultant who shuttles between Germany and the UAE, his decision to undertake the mid-career MSc air transport management programme was aimed at equipping himself with skills — both soft and hard — to take up the next level of challenges in the world of aviation.
“It has paved the way for me to pursue a PhD in Air Transport Management. Success is a journey, not a destination,” he said, adding, “Perseverance is one of the keys to achieving success.”