Hello everyone, Liam here. I’ve been a Living Painting library member and supporter since I was 9 years old. I’m now at Nottingham University studying languages. For those of you who have read my previous blog, you’ll know that I like to keep myself busy! So I thought I would begin 2016 by looking back at the last twelve months and sharing with you what I’ve been up to.
I have had three unforgettable travel experiences. Firstly to Amsterdam with friends from university, then to China (the trip I won last year on the BBC2 quiz show hosted by Richard Osman, Two Tribes), and finally a road trip around Central and Eastern Europe which covered ten countries in fourteen days. These trips gave me some unforgettable experiences and I already have more journeys planned for 2016.
As usual, Goalball has also been a large part of my year. With my new team, the Nottingham Sheriffs, we won a silver medal in London, a silver at our home tournament and bronze, on golden goal, at the National Finals in Sheffield. I also made my first foray into coaching, taking my team to a bronze medal in Lincoln. I will hopefully be a fully-qualified coach by the end of the year and have some more medals!
Perhaps my biggest and most important achievement was to secure a place for next year at Marburg University in Germany where I will be studying for a year. I’ll be improving my German and also expanding into other modules, hopefully learning some Dutch along the way. There are still several steps to be taken before I go, but this is the first and biggest hurdle overcome and I can now focus on making sure that all my accessibility requirements, accommodation and other plans are organised.
This year I have become active in the Disabled Students Union at my university. This role involves many things: organising social events for our members, answering questions and giving advice, helping students with applications and participating in our fortnightly open meeting which is a platform for discussion but which also aims to build friendships and create a support network.
In addition to this, I have also become part of the team of ambassadors who give presentations and answer questions about our languages department for university open days. This gives me the chance to tell potential students about our university but will also, I hope, make it easier for other disabled students and applicants to find someone to discuss their problems, concerns and questions with.
I want to finish by saying how many wonderful, inspirational and informative blogs, letters, social media pages and more I read in 2015. The more we write, speak and explain, the more we can help others to understand the difficulties we face, appreciate the support we need and help us to achieve all that we can. Let’s all keep up the good work!
If, like Liam, you haven’t let your disability stand in the way of achieving amazing things, then we’d love to hear from you. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or ring us on 01635 299771.