Identify some problems/issues in a case study Essay Example

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Cultural Studies

Cultural Studies


There are many reasons that can account for shifting of families to completely new countries. In this case study, a family is forced to migrate due to war-related conflicts. This as usual is going to have a huge impact on the lifestyle of the members of this family. This is a family of three members consisting of the father, mother and one child. The family is composed of Kasim, Sahar and Salima who is the only daughter. The war is the main reason this family is forced to migrate to a new country. It has affected their professions since they cannot work in their home country. In the same manner, they are struggling to get an opportunity to practice in the foreign country because of the related bureaucracy. In addition, the education of their 15 year old daughter is directly affected as she is forced to change the learning environment as well as friends.

From the case study provided, it is clear that critical issues emanate. These are mainly cultural issues that have had a profound impact on the life of this family. The transition that this family is passing through has made them to go through a state where behavioral norms, beliefs and values have to be sacrificed or compromised in some ways. This has been made clear in this given case study. For instance, these doctors seem to struggle with the Australian English inasmuch as they believe they know English language. With similar emphasis, the struggle that their daughter is facing in academics is a reflection of the issues people face when they go through a cultural transition. Culture seems to be such a strong bond that defines people and cannot be easily broken. When individuals shift, they have to be ready to bear with completely new cultural practices.

Selected Issues

From the case study, there are numerous issues that can be identified for discussion purposes. All issues that have been pointed out have something to do with culture and it is important to explore these issues as a way of gaining in-depth insight on the key issues. One of the issues that are coming out clearly in this case study is language. While all the issues that are highlighted are very crucial, language seems to carry a little bit more weight than others. It is considered one of the most critical tools especially when one is transiting to a completely different culture (Barker, 2011). This is being presented as a nightmare to the couple. They are being forced to undergo a language exam in order to ascertain their credibility in relation to working as medical practitioners in Australia. When the couple fails the test, it is so demoralizing to them. Literally, they can’t comprehend failing the English test. In addition, there is the issue of low incomes. This couple is earning comparatively small amount of money from their various occupations in Australia. In spite of the fact that they have been absorbed into other fields of specialization in the foreign country, they have to survive on limited finances due to low income. For this reason, they are forced to adjust their budgets appropriately.

Besides, the fact that they do not have assets to be used as collaterals to acquire loans from financial institutions is also a major problem. It is quite basic that for an individual to access mortgage related financial services from commercial banks one must have assets that can be used as security in the case where the customer defaults. Kasim and Sahar are facing it rough since they have not yet accumulated assets that the lending firm can use as collateral. Lastly, the academic performance of Salima is a huge concern to the couple. Over time, it has been reported that the academic performance of the child is declining with time. It is turning out to be a bit difficult for the teachers to understand the source behind the sudden change of character and attitude in particular. This can form a major source of worry considering the fact that this couple has only one child, who happens to be giving them a reason to spend sleepless night.

The issues that have been raised above seem to dominate this given case study. They represent the main challenges that Kasim and Sahar are facing in Australia. The solution to these problems can help in making their stay in this country a bit easier in some way. Addressing these issues as they are will give this couple the peace that they require while in this new environment. A closer look shows that indeed the main cause of all these issues is the migration of the family to a new country. It has led the family to experience all these types of challenges. This can be used to explain how detrimental conflicts of this nature can be to the entire population. War in any given society comes with severe consequences on the people involved. Social structures are completely destroyed as a result of war. In addition, the economy of the country is left in shambles as a result of destruction of resources meant for productivity.

Discussion of the issues


The struggles that Kazim and Sahar experience when it comes to mastering English denote something. While according to them they had great mastery of the language, they failed to pass the English test. Failure for them to pass the English test made it very difficult for them to be cleared to practice medicine in Australia. Good mastery of foreign language is very important in opening up new opportunities even in foreign countries (Lewis, 2008). From a cultural perspective, language is very critical in communicating the culture of people. In fact people study language as part of the culture of people in a certain setting. Quite often, when people migrate into new countries, the first cultural practices to be learned and adopted include language and food. One has to understand language for communication as well food for survival. When foreigners enter into any country, the ability to communicate effectively is paramount if they are seeking for any given job (Barker, 2011). The ability to communicate simply implies that one is capable of understanding the situation and therefore he or she can derive a solution from that point. When Kasim and Sahar failed their English test, it became technically challenging for them to secure jobs in Australia. While this may be heartbreaking to the couple, the reality is that medicine is a high-profiled profession. For anyone to be allowed to practice medicine, the concerned regulatory agencies must be convinced that the person is up to the task. This partly explains the reason why the couple was expected to sit for the medical board examination before being certified to be employed as medical doctors.

High cost of living

This is also another issue that has come out very clearly in this case study. The couple’s income is not sufficient enough to meet their financial commitments in the foreign country. One of the contributing factors is that the couple failed to secure their desired jobs and therefore they are just absorbed in professions that are only meant to act as the second option. With this income, it is becoming hard for them to meet their financial needs. The high cost of living is worsened by the fact that foreigners in any given country experience some kind of spending disadvantage. The disadvantage is created by the fact that they do not understand places where they can purchase products at affordable prices. Lacking such information will definitely expose the immigrants to buying products at premium prices which strains their budget beyond elastic limits. Another concern is taxation. Taxation rates for foreigners are set higher than the citizens working in the same capacity. The country believes that foreigners are exploiting economic resources of the country for their own benefit and the government can benefit directly by increasing their taxation rates. Putting this into consideration, the couple in this case study might be struggling financially as a result of such discriminatory taxation rates. In most cases, immigrants end up taking more than one job in order to increase their income. These are just some of the survival tactics that foreigners use to survive in hostile environments. At the end of it, choices have to be made in order to make the ends meet.

Education of their daughter

The couple’s daughter, Salima started well in her academics. There was a lot of hope that she would continue well after seemingly adapting quite well. Recently, her behavior has become a serious concern. The dramatic change in the character of Salima is an indication that probably the company she has started interacting with is corrupting her. Her parents’ concern and worries are genuine because this may even worsen. Since Salima just changed to this new school, it is hard for her parents to have an oversight function over the kind of friends she is interacting with. In the same way, the fact that the teachers have raised the alarm shows that the parents ought to have a session with them in order to discuss on the methodologies of handling the situation. Culture is learned and therefore the worry here is that she is learning the wrong culture probably from the people she is interacting with. In addition, the circumstances that prompted this family to seek asylum in Australia could not allow them to carry out some investigation in order to establish the suitability of the country in relation to various factors. The fact that this family was running away from war means that any country that is considered safe would be the next destination. Parents are forced to bear with the fact that the new culture in the girl’s school was because they never took time to establish the best place this child could get her education.

Inability to Access Loans

From the case study, Kasim and Sahar are not in position to access loans from financial lenders in this country. This is not because they are foreigners, but because they do not have assets that can be used as collaterals in acquiring loans. This couple may have had assets in their native land before they migrated. The issue is that they could not migrate with such assets even as they walk around seeking asylum from a particular country. Such challenge only helps to showcase the plight of immigrants especially those coming from war-tone countries. They cannot be trusted by financial institutions probably because they feel they can go back to their mother-countriesat any time. Inability to access loans from financial institutions simply implies that they may never develop while in the foreign country. This is because their little income seems to be too small and therefore may not cater for development.


Just like any other immigrant, this couple is facing it a bit rough in this host country. Shifting blame cannot be the solution to this kind of challenge. This can be addressed from the basis that while Australia may be willing to help immigrants from various places, it also has a responsibility of ensuring that the immigrants do not inconvenience the citizens of the nation. The measures that have been in place especially for certification to work in the country are meant to ensure that the labor force maintains its credibility throughout. In spite of all this, there are factors that can be put in place to ensure that the life of this family is improved.

First, I will recommend the couple to put in place strategies of how to pursue further education in their respective fields in order to increase their chances of being absorbed in the country’s labor market. They have a very good chance of working on few areas that hindered their certification in order to ensure that they are able to meet the required standards. For instance, they can enroll in special English classes where they can explore the subject more. It is possible that after the classes they may pass the English test and make it easier for them to practice medicine in Australia. In addition to that, they need to take keen interest in particular cultural activities or practices that are considered to define the Australian people. This is very important as it may help them understand ways of exploring their gifts and talents in the new settings. Lastly, they need to find out the friends that their daughter is interacting with. Such friends can be useful in understanding the sudden change in behavior and attitude in Salima. Afterwards, I strongly believe that Salima has to be advised appropriately in order to understand that in a new country like this, there are certain standards of behavior that are expected. She has to understand the situation that prompted the family to migrate and take that as a motivation even to work harder.


From this case study, a lot can be learned in relation to cultural influences and how such can affect people moving across borders. The challenges experienced by this family partly highlight the ills brought by different forms of conflict. The war in Iraq is responsible for the breakdown of cultural setup amongst the people in the region. Nevertheless, the bad situation has provided an opportunity for people to understand some aspects of life. For instance, this has showcased how the quality of education can be so varied. In this case study, though Kazim and Sahar are qualified medical doctors, they find it very hard to practice in Australia. The fact that they struggle with the English exams shows that the quality of education in Iraq is lower than that of Australia. The struggles they seem to be experiencing emanates from the variances in the quality of education in the two countries.


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Barker, C. (2011). Cultural Studies: Theory and Practice. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.

During, S. (2007). The Cultural Studies Reader. Oxon: Routledge.

Longhurst, B. & Smith, G. (2008).Introducing Cultural Studies. Oxon: Routledge.

Lewis, J. (2008). Cultural Studies: The Basics. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.

William, R. (1983). Culture and Society 1780-1950. Columbia: Columbia University Press.