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Excellence Scholarship winner Roshni Dhodakia in the Catalyst building.Excellence Scholarship winner Roshni Dhodakia believes that Edge Hill University is providing her with the right environment in which to fulfil her teaching dreams.

“As a person who prides herself on lifelong learning and a passion for English, I was inspired by my teachers and tutors to pursue a career in teaching English; I was determined to face the challenges of higher education.

“I thoroughly enjoy my course and believe that there isn’t another suited to me,” she said. “I love studying here as not only is it a beautiful campus with fantastic facilities, but my course is flexible as there are a wide range of optional modules that I can choose from to tailor my degree to my interests.”

The 20-year-old from Bolton is in the final year of her English Language degree but remains focused on much more than her university studies – with voluntary work being a key part of her life.

Her interest began with the annual Race for Life walk for Cancer Research and the Midnight walk for Bolton Hospice. She was soon helping organise fundraising events herself.

“Over the years there are several successful events I have been involved in, from simply providing ideas for an event and being a stall holder at fun-fair events to helping host a Bollywood dinner and dance.”

The latter event allowed Roshni to promote her Indian culture.

“I also participated in a religious drama act, ‘The Ramayana’, the story behind why Diwali is celebrated, held at my local Hindu temple. By participating in this drama act, I learnt how the Hindu festival of light is celebrated. We also performed it in Bolton Town Centre.”

“I have also been participating in the annual North West Raas-Garba UK competition for over seven years in which, as a group, we won first and second place over five times, including in three consecutive winning years.”

Generally performed only during the nine-day Hindu Festival, Navratri, Roshni initially found the traditional folk dance difficult to master – particularly tricky in a team environment.

“I learnt the basics whilst also exploring its origin and its practice as a form of worship and an expression of devotion. To be able to gain this knowledge and become a proficient Raas-Garba dancer is a matter of great pride to me.

“Going forward, I hope to be able to contribute towards the promotion, preservation and protection of this style and portrayal of Indian folk culture by teaching it to others; a vision of mine that I perceive to be incredibly important, aspirational and empowering.”

Roshni admits she has, on occasion, found managing her time difficult, balancing her extra-curricular activities and a part-time job alongside her studies, but feels she is reaping the benefits.

“Although I found it difficult at the beginning, I learnt to manage my time effectively and prioritise tasks to ensure I have a healthy balance. Participating in events and competitions has greatly built up my confidence in front of large audiences and I have always enjoyed gaining new opportunities and experiences.”

Roshni hopes to set up a Hindu society at Edge Hill during her remaining time at university.

“I am in the process of setting it up so that myself and others can come together and share our interests and with everyone at university by holding events such as a colour run, celebrating the Hindu Festival of colours ‘Holi’ and much more.”

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