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my social work identity

Cultural aspects and social work


Culture is the way of life of people. It encompasses behaviors, values and beliefs which are passed from one generation to another. Social work involves working to help people in elevating their way of life (Bin-Sallik, 2003). Cultural aspects play an important role in shaping the identity of a social worker and determining the effectiveness of the worker. There are different values involving social work such as social justice to individuals, service to community, human dignity, integrity and competence. For these values to be accomplished, cultural values are very significant (Bin-Sallik, 2003). This essay will analyze these values and how cultural aspects have shaped my identity as a professional social worker.

Cultural aspects and how they shape my identity

Every individual has a way of life. Culture can shape somebody’s way of thinking and provide orientation to future work (Fogel, 2004). Believing that all individuals are the same, with different capabilities, makes me a potential social worker. My family background lays the foundation of a good social worker. Appropriate guidance by parents and my sibling makes me believe that I have the ability to change people’s lives for the better.

In my home country, China, there are more than fifty ethnic minority groups with different ways of living (Harrison & Carroll, 2006). Interaction with individuals from these ethnic groups and growing up with them shapes who I am. I view all human beings as people with potential to excel in life from my learnt lessons as I interact with these people. This makes me feel comfortable as I interact with other people and makes me fit in social work.

Individuals in a community shape their own culture as they live together. The behavior inherent to an individual is a product of forces of culture (Harrison & Carroll, 2004). The different dialects in the Chinese language that I have encountered in my life give me a good communication basis. My good knowledge in English language which is used by many people for communication in the world helps me know the problems being faced by people and the possible ways of solving them. This makes socialization with people from different backgrounds easy to me and my identity become shaped by the language aspect.

Being a good ambassador of the Chinese culture in the way I dress helps in being a good role model to the people I interact with. Simple dressing is a Chinese aspect of culture and many individuals in China dress neatly (Fogel, 2004). I interact with clients in the social work; I believe to be a good example to them as well as other individual in the social work industry.

Relationship between my experiences and insights with social work values

Human dignity

As a social worker, I need to understand every human being, regardless of his/her background. My culture has taught me how to relate well with different individuals in all walks of life. Believing that all human beings are same and equal shapes my identity as a social worker in that I can work with individuals who have different personalities. The culture of believing in religion makes me feel there is no need of biasness when working and relating with different people as I work (Bin-Sallik, 2003). I have learnt to keep aside my feeling for the sake of my clients in order to acknowledge their right of self-determination.


This is the value of being honest and ethically sound in all social work activities (Harrison & Carroll, 2006). My culture has shaped me in a way that I will always mind my clients in being trustworthy and never betray their secrets. Acting with integrity as well as promoting integrity is vital in social work culture shapes individuals on the direction to follow as you relate with other human beings and clients. This has helped in never to gossip about clients or tolerate gossiping colleagues. In social work, workers interact with people from different classes. Having come from a society with different classes of people, and the aspect of understanding each social class, my identity has been shaped to help all of them without fear and favor.


Social workers need to show expertise as they do their work. Family background as an aspect of culture has played a very significant role in making me have the competence in the work (Bin-Sallik, 2003). My good relationship with my family members have always held me responsible of what I do as I relate with other people and this will help in increasing my competence as a future social work. Respect to my parents and siblings have laid a good foundation in preparing me for the work ahead in relating with people as well as helping and working with them.

Social justice

The ultimate goal of engaging in social work is to help the under privileged people in the society (Harrison & Carroll, 2006). These are individuals ranging from the homeless, victims of domestic violence as well as those struggling with drug and substance abuse. Most of these need helpers with their problems at heart which I believe in having. Out of experience, these people need to somebody to socialize with so as to air out their problems without fear and I believe I have the qualities of socialization. Service to humanity

Social workers need to put the needs of their clients ahead of their needs. Seeing others excel in their social as well economic life is the ultimate objective of engaging in social work (Harrison & Carroll, 2006). Having been a good service provider to my colleagues as well family members gives me the courage to join social work and help other people who are in need of my services. I feel encouraged when people’s living standards increase and this makes me feel I need to work for others.


In conclusion, culture and work are very much related. My background in terms of beliefs and values has played a significant role in shaping my identity and preparing myself as a future social worker. Cultural aspects ranging from family background as well as language and the way of dressing have shaped and programmed my life as a social worker. The various values of social work are enhanced by someone’s experiences and insights. Social workers believe in elevating their client’s way of life and making their lives better based on the social work values.


Bin-Sallik, M. (2003). Cultural safety: let’s name it!. The Australian Journal of Indigenous

Education, vol. 32, pp. 21–28.

Fogel, J.A. (2004). Late Qing China and Meiji Japan: political & cultural aspects. USA:


Harrison, J. & Carroll, G. (2006). Culture and demography in organizations. New Jersey:

Princeton University Press.