Dissertations: Taraneh Etemadi

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By Hayley Hanks

Who knew immigrating to Canada could end up being what inspires your future career? This is the case for Taraneh Etemadi, a 26-year-old master’s student at Ryerson University.

In 2000, Etemadi and her family immigrated to Canada from Iran. She was eight years old.

“It was so shocking to see the differences in the way in which people lived there, and how we live here. I mean, I grew up here, so I was never exposed to any of the things that went on in Iran and the differences in culture,” Etemadi said.

“I feel like it had a huge, huge, huge impact on the person that I am today, I guess. I don’t feel, I know it has,” said Etemadi.

Now enrolled in the Immigration and Settlement Studies program at Ryerson, Etemadi is now researching new migrants to Canada, and is specifically focusing on the private sector for her research. She has always been interested in business.

“I guess I’m a unique case because a lot of the people that come into this program are very much invested in public sector positions…I think for me, I’m really interested in business and the private sector aspect and how migrants are incorporated in that sector,” said Etemadi.

Etemadi’s research will focus on ethnic business displacement within communities around the city. She is focusing primarily on Little India in Toronto and will be looking at struggling businesses within this community. Her research stemmed from conversations with one of her professors in her master’s program who was also interested in migrant’s role in the private sector.

“To be honest, [research] never happens like this, it’s usually a little more difficult [of a] process, but I guess I just got lucky,” Etemadi said.

Etemadi knew she was interested in immigration after taking a third-year sociology course in her undergraduate degree at McMaster.

“I just kind of looked back on my academic interests and I felt that, “Hey, I really like immigration and I like the topic of immigration,” it’s definitely a topic of interest, and even my background really resonated [with] it,” Etemadi said.

Now, Etemadi commutes to Ryerson every day from Richmond Hill.

“If I had to take the subway everyday, it would be really frustrating. But I take the GO train, which is really close to my house, and then it just goes to Union. And it’s actually surprisingly… relaxing, because I guess my route isn’t as busy, so I can get a lot of work done,” Etemadi said.

Often on campus, Etemadi is busy between classes three days a week and working as a grading assistant for an undergraduate political science course and research assistant for one of her professors.

“Last semester was crazy busy for me because I was actually studying for the LSAT, in conjunction to doing schoolwork and research assistantship, so that was definitely a huge, huge chunk of my life,” said Etemadi.

Etemadi found there are some challenges organizing social events for specific programs at the graduate level.

“I feel like that issue of inclusivity is definitely a problem at the graduate studies level within Ryerson,” said Etemadi.

“I feel like at the graduate level it’s often that you go to school, you go to class, you might go to the library, and then you go home. There’s no…social activity involved,” Etemadi said.

Many of Ryerson’s students, especially at the graduate level, study on campus but commute from the GTA.

“I like being social with the people around me, especially at the academic level. So, that’s definitely something that, I guess, could be improved,” said Etemadi.

Etemadi also says she is striving for a balanced lifestyle, which includes finding time to go to the gym and being with family and friends.

Planning to graduate in August of 2015 after completing her degree, Etemadi is waiting to hear back from law schools she applied to earlier this year.

“Honestly, I always thought that I would be a lawyer…the reason I wanted to be a lawyer was because I really wanted to help people, and I know it sounds really vague, but that’s basically my general goal,” said Etemadi.

However, Etemadi has no concrete plans for after she obtains her degree. Law school is one of many options. She is hoping to stay within the field of immigration.

“Immigration has been such a huge part of my life and really a changing milestone in the person that I am today,” said Etemadi.

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