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Ethnographic Research Essay

2468 words - 10 pages

Aziza Makhmudova was born in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, on March 31, 1991. She grew up with her paternal grandmother, parents, and elder brother and sister. “I live with them all because we cannot leave before marriage. If I get married, [then] I leave home. It’s so weird when I heard that American families, if you are eighteen or twenty you can leave, they leave their home . . . No, we always live together.” Both of her parents spent most of their days working to support the family and so her grandmother was the one who mainly raised her. “I almost never saw my parents. They were always at work. They left early and came back late . . . What I remember from my childhood, I was ...view middle of the document...

After her mother was released from the hospital, Aziza helped her grandmother and sister take care of their mother. “I remember after school when my classes were finished, I had to run home and help my sister and grandmother to take care of my mother. During those years, I remember it was so hard. I wanted to play with my peers but I could not.” Her father worked long hours and all of the money he made went towards medication for Aziza’s mother. “We had a financial problem. My father could not afford even to buy clothes for us. Everything, every coin, was for my mother’s medicine. It was a really hard time.” After his graduation, Aziza’s brother got a job in another city, with an American company, to help his father support the family.
“When my sister got married, she got married when she was twenty-five. If you are over the age of twenty, girls have to get married. If you are over the age of twenty, you are considered old.” At the time of her sister’s wedding, Aziza was nineteen. After the wedding, her sister moved into her husband’s home, as per Uzbekistani custom. By this time, her grandmother was very old so Aziza was the only one left to take care of her family. “[My sister] left me everything. I was the only one who took care of my mom and grandmother. I was like a wife for my father. I had to wake up early to make breakfast for him, to prepare his clothes and everything, and meet him after his work and talk with him about his day, like a real wife, you know. I did not want to; sometimes I used to ignore him because… I was a girl! I was not supposed to do these things. I was supposed to be with my peers and going somewhere to study and having fun. Even when I was like seventeen, I had a lot of responsibilities . . . but when my sister got married, everything fell on me. It was really hard at first but I got used to it. It became like a regular day for me.”
The educational system in Uzbekistan makes education mandatory upon students from kindergarten to ninth grade. After independence from the Soviet Union, all high schools were replaced with lyceums, which offer various three-year educational programs in certain majors to help students go in a certain direction. “Schools – elementary schools, colleges, and lyceums are free, it is mandatory. It is required – after school, you have to apply for a college or lyceum. It is free, you do not have to pay for tuition, but for universities and institutes, it costs a lot of money.”
To apply to a university, there is an annual entrance exam held on the first of August. Each candidate takes a test over three of four subjects pertaining to their major. If they obtain the scores necessary to pass, then they are accepted to the university. If not, then the candidates go home, study, and take the exams again the following year. “I was not able to prepare [for my exam] because after my mother’s car accident, I had to take care of my grandmother. For three years, I was at home, as a nurse, and then I...

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