Language barrier and regional differences can dampen the spirits of many a students when they enter the hallowed portals of colleges. Students from identical backgrounds end up forming their own groups. They promote people within the group when it comes to choosing union leaders and circulating study materials.

Afshana Khathun, student of St. Aloysius College, Mangalore, for example had a tough time initially because she could not speak in English. “Those of us who spoke Kannada got together. It was fun. We started to speak some broken English. By the end of the year, I was the topper.”

Nishith Lobo, student of SDM Law College, too was not comfortable with English. Called “Macky” by his friends, Lobo had the confidence that he can pick up. Today his English may not be great but his ability to crack jokes has won him lots of friends. He loves speaking to students from Kerala, as they have a hearty laugh at each one of his jokes. Madesha Bhajantri, from north Karnataka, regretted that he came to Mangalore University to pursue journalism as he did not know Tulu. “There was not a single student in class who came from my region. It was hard to adjust as my classmates usually interacted in Tulu.”

Mangalore University’s Director, Student Welfare Officer P.L. Dharma said students at the receiving end of linguistic and regional divide can be helped through consultation. He pointed out that students of North Karnataka organise ‘Rotti Mela’ and come together occasionally to tide over the feeling of being isolated. Vice-Principal of St. Aloysius College and counsellor Judy Pinto, however, agreed that students who do not know English tend to develop low self esteem which eventually led to students forming their own groups. Teachers should speak to them and advise them appropriately. She felt that many get into such groups initially, but the groups vanish as days pass by.