With his wife working for the NHS, his four children being home-schooled, Adeyemi’s preferred place to study, the Library, being closed, and a bout of COVID-19, he faced enormous pressures to keep up with coursework. He refers to the University as his village, made up of his wonderful family, the Department of Language and Linguistics, the Library, the student development team and the career and employability team.
Adeyemi made the most of the career development opportunities offered by the University: “Whilst I have had many memorable and rewarding experiences at Essex, time spent volunteering as an English Teacher with the Refugee Training Programme and as a Teaching Assistant in a primary school in Colchester, both with the VTeam, rank top of my list.”
As well as persevering with his courses, another highlight for Adeyemi was to take part in a cross-disciplinary initiative looking into decolonising the curriculum.
“My inspiration to be involved lay in my desire to see black students and students from minority ethnic backgrounds have the same chances in education as every student. We need to take a critical look at the content of courses in our universities. We need to look at those who are teaching these courses. We need to promote tasks or assignments that allow students to bring themselves and their experiences into the learning environment.
“By decolonising the curriculum, we can address inequalities. Decolonising the curriculum enables us to use education as a tool for liberation and transformation.”
Adeyemi’s own dissertation was on aspect of Yoruba Syntax. He says: “It was a privilege to work on my mother tongue.”
As for his next steps, Adeyemi has a tough decision ahead with two offers to study for postgraduate studies and a Philological Society Master’s Bursary. He will choose between a PhD Linguistics here at Essex and an MPhil in Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics at Oxford.