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MA Sociology, Latina, Mexican-American

December 15, 2013

I am from a Mexican American background born in Chicago and raised in Mexico and the U.S. I am bilingual in English and Spanish. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology awarded by the XXXX College. My goal is to assist members of the Hispanic community generally and particularly to help them to pursue the educational and vocational opportunities open to them and also to improve their health awareness and access to healthcare.

 As a member of an immigrant Hispanic family who was raised among other such families, I am aware of the particular challenges that they face. There are continuing problems of educational and vocational underachievement by community members arising, at least in part, from low expectations and self belief. Many young people seek to validate themselves within ‘gang culture’ rather than seeking to do so in the wider community and this situation clearly still requires serious attention. As someone, from that community, who has taken advantage of the opportunities offered to me, I feel that I have a part to play in improving the situation that exists and also in providing a positive example. I am also concerned about the lack of access to medical care for poorer members of the community especially those whose immigration status is in question. One of my long term goals would be to improve basic health education and access to medical care, especially preventative care, to members of my community and to assist in this being provided by those who are culturally knowledgeable and sensitive.

 From the very first lecture in Sociology that I attended, I understood that such studies offered potential solutions to the problems among the Hispanic community that I had become aware of and, to some extent, experienced. For this reason, I majored in Sociology at undergraduate level and came to love the subject. While my studies have provided me with a good general understanding of Sociological concepts and research techniques, I now wish to enhance and focus the knowledge and skills I have acquired in order to apply them to the particular problems found among the Hispanic community. I see the program as the best fit to enable me to do so because of the relevance of the available elective topics to my areas of interest and the excellence of faculty and the academic environment.

 I have happily studied and worked with people from a variety of cultural and social backgrounds and look forward to doing so when participating in the program. While my particular interest is the Hispanic community, I am aware that the program may involve work relating to other cultures and I look forward to participating in such work and case studies. I enjoy sharing my own experiences and culture and learning about others. I have lived in Mexico and have travelled to Japan and have lived in Virginia as well as Chicago. This exposure to various communities and cultures has been very interesting and rewarding.  Spending a month in Japan was an option during my sophomore year and I am very glad that I decided to go there. I learnt of the Japanese reverence for education and of the many sacrifices that Japanese children and their families are prepared to make in terms of work and inconvenience to achieve a good education and also of the great importance of the spiritual viewpoint in the lives of the Japanese people. The main lesson that I learnt is that comparison of cultures is a very valuable exercise and that many useful insights are available to be shared and applied between cultures.

 My undergraduate studies took place in Virginia and this environment was a great contrast to urban Chicago where I grew up. I experienced an acute awareness of my minority status when I arrived in Virginia. This was initially very discomfiting but I quickly became used to the situation forged many friendships with fellow students. I regarded this as a very useful experience providing me with an insight into the feelings of those of my community living outside urban areas in communities where they constitute a small minority. While there, I made contact with the Hispanic community of the Shenandoah Valley and took the opportunity to do some informal research into their lives. I learned much about them, their particular experiences and perceptions. They told me that they felt, to some extent, excluded and discriminated against in various ways in the locality. This non-urban environment provided a new perspective on Hispanic life in the U.S. and gave me many new and valuable insights.

 I am aware of the social work core values of service, social justice, dignity and worth of person, importance of human relationships, integrity and competence. I am fully committed to upholding and furthering these core values at all times in my studies and in my future career.

 I appreciate the value of non-verbal communication in dealing with people generally but especially those who are living in stressful circumstances. I hope to be able to enhance my ability in this skill during my further studies. I am also aware of the importance of being realistic but optimistic in terms of outcomes and in maintaining determination to secure the best outcome achievable in any situation.

 It would be my hope to work both in the U.S. and also in Mexico in the future. The problems are different but equally pressing. Mexican society suffers from the many ill-effects of corruption and the lack of a good basic social infrastructure. I believe that properly trained and committed social workers can improve the situation in many ways and I look forward both to working directly as a social worker in the country, at some point, and to training members of the local community in such work.

 I am particularly interested in undertaking research into urban studies with a focus on the Latin American communities. I know that such communities are not homogenous and I am also interested in learning about the differences in experiences between the different communities and the reasons for them.   

 I am aware that the program will attract many, well qualified applicants. However I do consider myself to be an exceptional candidate. I have formally and successfully studied Sociology as a major undergraduate subject and I possess focused goals that the program will enable me to achieve for my own advantage and that of the community at large. I also believe that I can share much relevant personal experience with my class. I undertake to work diligently towards my degree and to participate enthusiastically in the program, if selected.  Thank you for considering my application.

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