'I never got any help'

July 2, 2004

Deepika Bharadwa has just graduated in English from Leicester University, but she is appealing against her 2:2 degree classification. She says she can understand why ethnic minority students feel they need more support.

Although students such as herself have access to cultural and religious societies and networks, Ms Bharadwa said there is little in the way of academic support tailored to the needs of ethnic minority students.

She said that because she came from an Indian background and a home in which languages other than English were spoken, she found it difficult at times to keep up with the demands of her course.

She said: "I sometimes struggled with my vocabulary and in trying to write concisely because I was constantly switching between languages. I felt it made it harder for me to write eloquently in English. But I never got any help."

She also felt at a disadvantage because her course was set almost exclusively in a Christian context.

"I do not want to ignore the fact that I am a Hindu, but to come here and study English I feel I do almost have to ignore that aspect of my life because the course is very much based around Christian culture and history," she said.

Ms Bharadwa believes that universities should do much more to recognise such obstacles.

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