Student Voices

Our wonderful students have kindly shared their experiences in answering a few of our questions to help others understand what it is like for them.

We asked them and here is what they have to say.


Student A

1. What are the challenges of being an estranged student here at Exeter?

The main challenges I've faced being estranged have been financial. When stripped away from all support from a family the prospect of funding a several year long degree alone is terrifying. Thankfully the university has been incredibly supportive with bursaries and help with student loans leaving me to be able to focus on studies and friends!

 2. What has helped you at Exeter?

Claire (Student Guild advice) has been incredibly helpful through the whole process. From initial family issues through to getting estranged status and further ongoing support she/they have been a constant guide with regular checkups, good advice and genuinely caring.

3. What advice would you give an estranged student who was in need of support?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Being estranged is an intensely anxious period which can lead to the desire to bottle up and try and support yourself in everything. However pushing past this and asking for help and advice from the university is one of the best things you can do. The contact with them is non-stressful, incredibly understanding and deeply useful.


Student B

1. What are the challenges of being an estranged student here at Exeter?

For me, the main challenges are predominantly financial and emotional. Having no parental support means during term time and the holidays I’m entirely reliant on student finance, bursary payments and work income. This can be difficult because it feels like there’s no safety net if I make financial mistakes or don’t plan well enough. Emotionally university life can also be a challenge because although I am not in contact with my parents I am still heavily involved in my mum’s care so balancing that with a university schedule can be difficult.

2. What has helped you at Exeter?

What has helped me is the support from Claire and my friends. On top of that I think it helps that I’ve got clear goals so I’m certain I’m in the right place and rarely have doubts about that.

3. What advice would you give an estranged student who was in need of support?

To exhaust all the resources available to you and not to be afraid of talking to those who want to help.


Student C

1. What are the challenges of being estranged student here at Exeter?

Due to the lack of family support (Financially and Emotionally) I decided to drop out my course many times. Financial difficulties are one of the reasons in my case.

In addition, the difficulties in affording accommodation, estranged students struggle more than other students. While most students rely on their family to act as guarantor or provide money for a deposit, estranged students usually do not have this option.

Moreover, mental health issues, sleeping disorders, bad dreaming and wellbeing of estranged students have a significant impact on their academic performance as well as personal development. Holidays can be emotionally trying period for those who do not have a family to meet up and may be feel alone in their residence.

2.What has helped you at Exeter?

University of Exeter students’ Guild helped me to start a new life without family. They supported me financially and emotionally. During my stay with my family in Pakistan Rachel emotionally helped me and that time I never thought that what I am going to face after leaving my family. When I reached in Exeter, I was feeling so alone , but after meeting with Claire, I forgot almost every pain and difficulties as she supported me emotionally and financially.

3.What advice would you give an estranged student who was in need of support?

In my case, continuous hard work, utmost struggle and believe in myself are the most important factors which helped me to move myself forward.


Student D

1. What are the challenges of being estranged student here at Exeter?

The challenges of being an estranged student have been mental and financial hardships. Personally, not having those key parental figures for advice or aid intensifies the stress of university life and particularly impacted my financial assessments because I lacked that contact to provide details of estrangement to student finance.

2.What has helped you at Exeter?

Speaking to the guild gave me immediate support such as access to bursaries and advice and action that eventually resolved those financial problems. They have also been very caring and supportive for my wellbeing with regular checkups and quick responses.

It can be very stressful with the workload with these ongoing issues so speaking with the wellbeing program also gives support such as ILP's (Independent Learning Plans) that allowed me to have extensions on essays along with other benefits.

3. What advice would you give an estranged student who was in need of support?

I would advise any estranged students that if they are dealing with difficulties to make use of the guild and wellbeing parties in order to gain access to opportunities that can help, especially under these stressing circumstances. Although it is not a nice situation to be in, these at least ease some of the stress of uni life and give you more time to enjoy yourself.

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University of Exeter Students' Guild is a Charity and Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered Charity Number: 1136468 Company Number: 07217324; registered in England and Wales Registered office: Devonshire House, Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4PZ