Completing university study is no walk in the park. For most of us it’s a long, challenging journey, even with the advantages of a place to live, and adequate finances and study resources.
Matte Dunne, 48, graduated from La Trobe in May 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in linguistics and French. He also happens to be homeless. While completing his degree, he often spent nights sleeping in a swag near La Trobe’s Melbourne Campus at Bundoora.
Who is Matte Dunn?
Matte grew up in a boy’s home. He squats in an abandoned granny flat in Box Hill, having spent his first night homeless at just 15 years old.
You may have come across Matte before. Also known as ‘InfoGuy’, he volunteers around the Melbourne CBD, helping passers-by with directions and transport information from behind a blue desk.
InfoGuy began around eight years ago, after Matte thought that his detailed knowledge of Melbourne’s streets could be of benefit to the general shopping public. The small donations he often receives in return for his assistance mean he doesn’t need to beg for money – something he hates doing.
Matte says that speaking with people through his InfoGuy enterprise gives him a sense of human connection that is worth more than tips.
What has he achieved?
Over the last several years, Matte has graduated from his Bachelor of Arts, learned French, and travelled overseas twice.
Matte credits Kevin Rudd’s 2020 Summit – and the optimism that came with it – with helping him change his own life. Compensation he received from the Queensland government for abuse he suffered in the boy’s home funded his overseas travels. He says that standing in a crowd of foreigners at the Gare du Nord train station in Paris was a magical moment.
After decades of living on the streets, he is now contemplating a new chapter of his life. His hard work and achievements are an inspiration for anyone wondering how they will fit study into their busy lives.
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