As a twenty-one year old Muslim girl, in an extended family environment, I have learned to contribute to the well being my family. My family moved to the USA in 2005, and I live with my parents and six siblings. I was born in Afghanistan, but my family moved to Uzbekistan in pursuit of a better life while I was still young, before finally relocating to the USA seven years ago. Our Muslim society is especially difficult for the female gender since our faith places a lot of social restriction on women. Thus, in a society where women enjoy more freedom like in the USA, I had a few difficulties adjusting to the unrestrictive nature of the USA population especially toward women. Initially, I also had difficulties with the English language. This limitation forced me to take extra lessons in the English language. This somewhat affected my grades in high school since I had difficulties understanding the language. Through hard work, and supplementary courses in English, my language skills have considerably improved. My faith also does not allow an unmarried woman to participate in social activities unaccompanied by a male relative. As such, I was restricted from undertaking most of the extracurricular activities in high schools. This means that I have missed out on opportunities to undertake additional couching, study groups and other group activities. My ethnic background has, therefore, at times been inhibiting to my studies and social life.
My faith also restricts me from moving far away from home unaccompanied by my relatives. For this reason, I had to shift from North Seattle Community College to Shoreline Community College to be near my family. I have been undertaking an associate degree in arts; majoring in speech and hearing science. My initial difficulties in the United States have shown me how one can be excluded from the premier community due to their handicap. Individuals with hearing and language difficulties also undergo the same exclusion. In my family, my uncles with hearing difficulties have often been excluded from interesting family discussions and stories. This has often left me feeling sad over their predicaments and made me think of doing something to change their situations. By learning hearing and speech science, I know I can help those with hearing and speech difficulties improve their quality of lives. Having relatives undergoing such difficulties have strengthened my resolve.
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