• SU Directory
  • Trading
  • NUS Extra


To assume makes an ass out of you and poses a barrier to me

Rated 4/5 (1 person). Log in to rate.

Nana Gyasi is a member of NUS Scotland Black Students' Committee, NUS Scotland Women's Committee and NUS UK Women's Committee

Being a black woman in Scotland has proven itself to be a challenge. I moved to Scotland when I was 16 years old, leaving my likeminded friends and the comfort of my black community in Luton, to be confronted with a very white city that still seemed to be learning about black people.

Starting college helped me through this move, I found my course mates were from a diverse range of backgrounds with students from all over the world coming to study in Scotland’s capital. I found other black students who were going through similar experiences and we found strength in each other.

This experience of my peers at college was in contrast to my later experience at college. I started a new course, looking to broaden my skills base, but immediately had a fight on my hands. I was stopped from taking Highers because course tutors assumed that I didn’t have the qualifications. I was told by the college that I must take English proficiency courses. I fought against this as I was from London, I speak fluent English and I came across the border with a whole host of GCSE’s in hand.

I later found out that this was an assumption that had been made, purely based on my last name. After months of fighting this battle and when course tutors came around I was told that I hadn’t made my situation clear. I had applied like every other student and provided them the information that they asked for, what more could I have done?

My confusion led me to become more depressed and made me very self-conscious, I was a shell of what I used to be. I watched as my school friends went through the education system, not facing these barriers.

This all eventually changed when I met a student advisor at the college, she saw potential in me and recognized the unnecessary and unfair barriers that I was facing. When she came with me to an interview to support me, she saw these assumptions play out once more, when the tutor addressed her, assuming that I didn’t speak English.

Since I was 16, for six years now, I have been in and out of courses, studying lower level courses unnecessarily. By now I could have studied a degree and a half in Scotland. All my high school peers have finished and I’ve just started my university studies. I’m now happy to say that I’ve developed as a strong political activist, and I am studying politics at university, something that I always wanted to do from the start.

It’s a disgraceful thing that these assumptions are made about me, and I know I’m not the only one, black students across Scotland are facing these problems as a result of assumptions being made about them. Complacent behaviour leads to this situation and we have a responsibility to tackle this as a student movement.

My call to you, to student officers across the country is to make sure that students aren’t being trapped out of education, and that situations similar to mine are being fought. I had the support and the power to fight on to challenge what was wrong, but others might need your help. Our campaign against racism doesn’t stop just because Black History Month is drawing to an end, the fight continues on and it’s up to you to support it.


No comments have been made. Please log in to comment.
Some features of this site - including article viewing - require javascript enabled.
You must be logged in to view this article - Login now


Latest in campaigns

Response to the Welsh Government’s announcement on post-compulsory education and training review

Students demand sustainability, stability and credibility for the Welsh system - and any move towards a better-organised sector, with deeper collaboration between all forms of post-16 education, should be welcomed.

Ymateb i gyhoeddiad Llywodraeth Cymru ynglyn ag adolygiad addysg a hyfforddiant ôl-orfodol

Mae myfyrwyr yn mynnu i'r system Gymreig fod yn gynaliadwy, yn sefydlog ac yn gredadwy - a dylid croesawu unrhyw symud at sector fwy cyfundrefol sydd â mwy o gydweithredu ymysg pob math o addysg ôl-16

Ideas, experiences and challenges: Wise Wales Partnership for Wales Conference 2015

Wise Wales held its second annual Partnership for Wales Conference in Neath on Wednesday 3 June.

Syniadau, profiadau a heriau: Cynhadledd Partneriaeth i Gymru 2015

Cynhaliodd Wise Cymru ei ail Gynhadledd Partneriaeth i Gymru flynyddol yng Nghastell-nedd ddydd Mercher 3 Mehefin.

Statement on the future of the Welsh language community of Pantycelyn at Aberystwyth University

In light of recent developments at Aberystwyth University, the President of NUS Wales is calling on the university to invest in sustainable, high quality Welsh-medium student accommodation.

Datganiad ar ddyfodol cymuned Gymraeg Neuadd Pantycelyn ym Mhrifysgol Aberystwyth

Yn sgil datblygiadau diweddar ym Mhrifysgol Aberystwyth, mae Llywydd UCM Cymru yn galw ar y brifysgol i fuddsoddi mewn llety cyfrwng-Cymraeg cynaliadwy ac ansawdd uchel.


Latest news

Students’ Unions Local – Coming to a town near you!

We are delighted to inform you of our upcoming Students’ Union Local events. These specially designed one-day events have been created to meet the needs of officers and staff in students’ unions.

Charity fundraising partner Student Adventures goes into administration

It has come to our attention that recently that a charity fundraising partner used by many Students’ Unions, Student Adventures, has gone into liquidation and is ceasing to trade.

University students warned to stay vigilant amidst suspected mobile phone fraud

The National Mobile Phone Crime Unit (NMPCU) has launched an investigation into a suspected mobile phone fraud targeting students at universities across the UK.

NUS criticises ‘Know Your Limits’ rape poster campaign

NUS has expressed huge concern today at the ‘Know Your Limits’ recent poster campaign to tackle rape. The poster points out that in a third of reported rapes the victim had been drinking and warns people to monitor their alcohol consumption. It is available for download on the Home Office website and has been sighted in NHS premises.

'You Never Know Your Luck' by Fred Jarvis

Former NUS President and General Secretary of NUT, Fred Jarvis, has published his memoirs reflecting on his lifelong campaigning for education. Find out where to buy here

NUS Awards 2014

Through expert training, support and knowledge students’ unions and NUS together continue to build a national movement that champions the rights of students – shaping the future of education and changing the communities we live in.


Most Read

Trending/Most Shared articles


Recent Comments