EUROPE : MOBILITÉ POUR TOUS - MATTHIEU CHATELIN, ÉTUDIANT FRANÇAIS AU ROYAUME-UNI
Mathieu is taking International Studies at university. Due to his cerebral palsy, he suffers from motor function problems. He has chosen London (United Kingdom) because of the arrangements made by the University. He encourages young people with disabilities to experience mobility in Europe.
My name is Matthieu, I'm 22. Welcome to the UK, where I'm doing a masters in international studies at the University of London. I did a Bachelor of Arts in international politics and comparative politics at the American University of Paris. And before that, I passed my baccalauréat in economic and social studies in Paris. Morning! How are you? You look a little bit tired. Good morning. It's 7:29 AM... Time to get up and get ready for the day ahead. My disability is cerebral palsy. So I suffer from motor function problems and cognitive problems. It's not that noticeable in terms of everyday expression but mathematics is difficult for me. And my way of constructing phrases and ideas can be quite different. I'm Timo, what's going on? Everything okay? Hey, your French is improving! Now I'm preparing the breakfast. It's now 8:32 AM. In terms of catering for handicapped people, the UK is in the forefront, along with the Scandinavian countries. And I must say, my life is much easier here. I have many more opportunities and possibilities here in the UK than in France. I've spoken to some of his tutors and to the head of his course and they are particularly interested because it's an international politics course and they are looking at issues of society across the world. And so to just have students from one background - UK students - wouldn't really fit with the ethos of the course. So they have been excited to have someone from France with a disability, come in. The challenge for them was that I would be the first disabled person on the course with a helper. Someone with a severe physical handicap. For example, they modified all the doors in the residence which was quite costly for the university. With regard to the courses, it was more complicated at times to what degree do we advantage or disadvantage? For me, for example, they allotted extra time. It's now 36 minutes past ten, I've finished my Icelandic course, to my apartment just over here. I'm sharing with six other people. We get on well together. I have two people to help me, Andre and Timo, who are both... German. I feel I have changed. I have gained in independence here in the UK. I'm happier here and I have projects to help others. I'd like to work for a government French, British or whatever. The advice I'd give to someone with a disability is: despite the difficulty, go for it. As the more who do so the easier the whole process will be. It helps if you have the support of your family and friends. You just have to be nice to people. And, go ahead!