The winter semester is underway and we’re celebrating the arrival of three new practicum students! Julia will be helping out the Basic Needs team, while Christina supports the Girl Power program and Carole works in community development.
Tell us a bit about yourself!
Carole: I am fairly new to Calgary. It’s always quite a challenge for me to give an answer when people ask me where I am from! I am French and I used to live in France before moving to Canada. My family is from the Caribbean so I have lived there, as well as in some other places on the planet! My favourite, very simple and sincere answer: I am a citizen of the word!
Christina: Hi, I’m Christina! I was born in Adelaide, South Australia, and am currently studying as an international social work student at the University of Calgary. My work background in Adelaide was focused on families and children. I enjoy traveling, learning, music, being outdoors (especially the beach) and cooking.
Julia: As a budding social worker I’ve had experience working in various fields such as community development, poverty reduction, mental health and substance abuse. In the future, I hope to become a grief counsellor and to work alongside of individuals and families who have had to experience various types of trauma and loss. In my spare time, you can find me at the gym lifting weights and practicing my cardio. If I’m not there, I’ll most likely be spending time at home or outside with my beloved border collie. If my friends were to describe me they would say I’m resilient, bubbly, hard-working, passionate and reliable.
What is your personal definition of feminism?
Carole: I believe there is more to feminism than the traditional gender dichotomy. I perceive feminism as a very holistic perspective on human relations. Feminism does not solely relate to equality but most importantly to equal opportunities for women to achieve their full potential regardless of the country in which they were born or their personal circumstances.
Christina: Feminism is about self-determination, rights and equal opportunities for women. It is about all women having opportunities to thrive and being empowered to make their own decisions in their life. Feminism is about valuing each woman as an important individual who has her own unique strengths and skills. It acknowledges societal and systemic disadvantages women historically and currently face. In my role as a training/future social worker, I aim to contribute in a positive way to breaking down such barriers.
Julia: Feminism to me means that everyone is equal and everyone should be treated fairly. Everyone has something unique to offer this world. A person’s voice and different characteristics should be cherished and appreciated instead of ignored and devalued.
What brought you to the Women’s Centre of Calgary?
Carole: I have always advocated strongly for more awareness about the specific challenges women face. I also believe in powerful connections and the strong commonality in the experiences women share. Being part of the community here at the Center felt like a very natural and logical choice!
Christina: I think completing my practicum in Canada is a great learning experience for my professional and personal development. In particular, the Women’s Centre of Calgary was of great interest to me as I am passionate about women’s rights and empowering women to reach their full potential. I see the Women’s Centre aligns with my core values such as equality, respect, empowerment and diversity (to name a few).
Julia: I found out about the Women’s Centre of Calgary through word of mouth. I was intrigued by all the different programming done by the Women’s Centre to help various women living in Calgary. They also have great insight on various social justice issues so I thought that this was definitely a place I wanted to be!
What’s one thing you hope to learn at the Women’s Centre?
Carole: I am hoping to learn more about the means towards more social justice in Calgary. I am also eager to engage more with members of the community and organizations as strong connections benefit women tremendously.
Christina: I am very excited to be here at the Women’s Centre! I hope to learn from women in the community about what is most important for women. I wish to expand my understanding through listening to others and learning about social issues women face in our communities. In addition, in the girl power program I hope to build my knowledge about issues young girls face daily and how I can shape my future practice as a social worker to empower young girls to be confident leaders in their lives.
Julia: I hope to learn more about social justice issues geared towards women and how to create change. I hope to use my voice and knowledge to create a difference. I wish to break down the barriers that have been and continue to be an obstacle for women.
Describe a woman who you admire or who has influenced your life.
Carole: My mother is my hero and my constant inspiration. She is a woman of such remarkable and continuous resiliency and she has taught me about tolerance, love and fairness. She is without a doubt the reason I am so passionate about social work.
Christina: I have many influential women in my life – I admire my mum’s encouragement and strength, my nanna has influenced me with never-ending support, my sister has taught me unconditional love and my girlfriends have influenced my life with a special kind of commitment and understanding. Another influential woman I admire encourages the message of self-love. This woman’s commitment and belief in promoting the importance of women’s needs is inspirational. She has taught me kindness, acceptance, hope, understanding and believing in one’s self.
Julia: I have two women in my life who’ve influenced my life and shared the same role as a mother to me. Both my mother and step-mother are deceased now, but they had taught me many different life lessons while being present in my life. I learned from them how to be gentle, kind and compassionate towards others and to give respect no matter what. They both cared for me in different ways but made me feel valued, empowered and welcomed. They always reminded me that I am important human on this planet and that I am loved.