Admission Essay on BSW Program

Paper Type:  Admission essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1663 Words
Date:  2022-11-30


I am an intersectional individual, an immigrant, a woman, and a minority. I have faced discrimination and prejudice both in my native country and also in Canada. I see through a lens that allows me to see diverse hardships. This also means a unique perspective and approach to solving social issues. As a woman of color, I recognize the intersecting factors that can affect individuals and families. As an immigrant, I understand everyone has a story and is deserving of respect and compassion. As a social worker, I want to advocate and aid immigrants and those marginalized in our society.

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I was born in a small village in southern Ethiopia, Oromo tribe region. My family moved to the capital, Addis Ababa, in search of better opportunities. During this time, the Ethiopian government was forcibly imprisoning and killing any Oromo who dared to speak and express dissent. Acquiring a job as an Oromo, a marginalized group proved impossible. My parents divorced after the birth of my younger brother. My mother, Aster Ayano, was left by herself with four kids. Integrating was one of the main challenges we faced. My siblings and I had Oromo names which made us targets for discrimination and harassment. Even as a child, I noticed the change in peoples' faces when they heard our names. I am named after the first female warrior from the Oromo tribe, Kulani. Although I am proud of my name, back home it made my family prey and life in the capital extremely difficult. Many Oromos were fleeing the country. People fled to neighboring countries like Kenya or Djibouti; most of them on foot. My mother often discussed the idea of leaving the country and the increased risk factors when it involves children. Therefore, with no other options, my mother decided to start applying for a visa which would allow us to leave the country. She applied for nearly ten countries. By chance, my mother's visa application for Canada was processed and approved within months of her application. In the year 2005, we immigrated to Calgary, AB, Canada.

Getting to Canada was only half the battle. Cultural and language differences created barriers that made it difficult to navigate through our new environment. This was especially difficult for a single mother of four. My mother did not know anyone in the city. She did not have knowledge or access to resources. We stayed at a shelter for a few months while my mother searched for employment. During this dark time in our lives, the light came from a social worker that worked at the shelter. Her name was Brenda. Brenda was the first person to reach out to my mother. She helped my mother with her legal documents for employment, housing, healthcare, and even helped with her application for ESL classes. Brenda could be likened to a superhero for she swooped in to help us in time of need by guiding and providing assistance. However, even with the completion of the ESL classes and the attainment a diploma to become a Health Care Aide (HCA), my mother still could not find a job. This was the only time Brenda was unaware of the next course of action. My mother was qualified to work as an HCA and completed her ESL training. However, there were intersecting factors that hindered her from succeeding.

Despite the hardships my family and I have faced, I still have hope. Hope because of a social worker that intervened. I have witnessed different levels of oppression alongside prejudice. However, I came to realize that intersectional social problems need an intersectional approach in the quest for problem-solving. In our society, a person's race, gender, and social class create unique types of hardships. Acknowledging the power dynamic of social structures and relationships is the key to progress. With the knowledge and tools, this program offers, I plan to dedicate my life to the service of others like myself and social justice. My mother taught me to be relentless. Hence I will continue her fight for a better life. I intend to live up to my name, a warrior. I want to fight for those who cannot, be the megaphone for the unheard voice, and be the guiding light Brenda was to my family.

Canada has over 150 years of history of immigration. This country is known for recognizing the importance of diversity and welcoming newcomers with open arms. The rapid increase in immigration through recent years is said to be mutually beneficial for both newcomers and Canada. Ahmed Hussen, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, had this to say about the new immigration plan; "This plan seeks to enhance our country's prosperity through immigration further, while we maintain our priorities to reunite families and offer protection to displaced and persecuted people." ("Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada Departmental Plan," 2018, para. 1). The contribution of immigrants in this country is undeniable. Immigrants who come to Canada seeking an improvement in living standards and job opportunities are integral to the growth of the economy. As valued members of this society, immigrants deserve the accommodation and social assistance needed for them to lead a good quality of life. Equality is not only achieved by recognizing all humans as equal, but by also admitting the inequalities that exist between people. As newcomers, immigrants face many challenges. While the language barrier and employment are two of the main challenges and they are not the only ones. The problems vary depending on intersecting factors such as race and gender.

Settling in a new country poses many challenges. A language barrier can result in a lot of hardships. Not only can language barrier lead to a challenging experience in the job application process, but it can also affect "health care access and quality of care" (Bowen, 2001). Language can affect patients' health access and care directly and indirectly especially in the situation whereby an individual cannot communicate their needs, and it is difficult to provide the care that they need. Bowen (2001) adds that "Communication is a key factor in patient adherence to the treatment plan." This factor can directly affect the patient's health. Without proper communication, proper care is impossible. As a result of the language barrier, immigrants can get overlooked during research participation. "Both clinical and health services research tend to under-represent ethnic minorities, especially those who are not proficient in an official language." This means the study report does not speak for a large part of the population. It leaves immigrants out of the conversation and decision-making process.

The broad underlying theme of the obstacles immigrants face should be discussed. However, it is also important to recognize the layers of identity an individual has that can result in unique challenges. The experience of a visible minority, immigrants, and women standout in this context. An article in The Star reported "immigrant women in Canada face greater employment barriers and earn less money than both male immigrants and Canadian born women" (Wright, 2018). It is important to acknowledge the progress made in terms of opportunities that have been created for immigrant women. While the educational and employment opportunities are there, there is no genuine progress witnessed thus far. True progress starts by realizing women are often carrying twice the burden. Immigrant women not only have the same obligation to learn a new language, culture, and find employment, but are also the caretakers of the household. They have the responsibility of taking care of children and elders in their families. The assistant professor of social work at Halifax university, Sara Torres, adds "If you don't know the language, and if you don't know how some cultures work or how they operate, what they think, then it's hard to help them in their transition" ( Gill, 2017). Recognizing the cultural and social responsibilities of women is crucial in implementing effective change, and this is a change I want to participate in implementing. Acquiring a bachelor of social work program is vital for me in achieving this dream.


In conclusion, immigrants face multi-faceted challenges. CBC reported, "Canada will take in 40,000 more immigrants in 2021" (The Canadian Press, 2018). This move will continue the legacy of Canada as an immigrant country which also means more people will be facing these challenges. As mentioned before, these challenges include the language barrier, cultural differences, and employment opportunities. If an immigrant does not speak either English or French, it makes integration a lot more difficult. Language allows people to navigate their environment and communicate needs. Without the ability to communicate things such as employment and even health care, it can be difficult. Additionally, the role an individual plays in the community can largely be based on gender and culture. The culture of gender performance can dictate an individual's contribution to their family, community, and ultimately themselves. Recognizing the multiple layers of an individual's identity can help create sustainable progress. A country that is built by immigrants should be for immigrants. Addressing the challenges, immigrants face in Canada will level the playing field for this marginalized group, which is a major step towards true equality. I want to participate in this change, and a degree in BSW is the driving force to achieve this dream,


Bowen, S. (2001). Language barriers in access to health care. Ottawa: Health Canada. Retrieved from:

Gill, J. (2017, October 25). Newcomers, especially women, face challenges beyond language, says Dalhousie prof. CBC. Retrieved from:

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada. (2018). Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada Departmental Plan 2018-2019. The government of Canada. Retrieved from

The Canadian Press. (2018, October 31). Canada to increase annual immigration admissions to 350,000 by 2021. CBC. Retrieved from:

Wright, T., (2018, April 12). Immigrant women in Canada earn less, face more employment challenges: government report. The Star. Retrieved from:

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