Next week, we celebrate Welcoming Week and Citizenship and Constitution Day. These celebrations have a particular meaning for individuals such as myself who are naturalized citizens. I came to the United States in 2013, a year after my American husband had started the petition process for me. We spent a whole year apart, separated by an ocean and a six-hour time difference. Needless to say, it was not an easy year. When I finally came to the United States a cultural shock was awaiting. Even though I had been to Knoxville before, visiting for a short period of time is not comparable to permanently moving away from your family, friends, and your beloved country of origin (I am a very proud Italian).
From getting my driver’s license to finding a new job, it was one hurdle after the other. Five years after coming to the United States, I became a citizen, and I have enjoyed every moment of it. I was finally able to vote in local elections, and I am looking forward to voting in my very first Presidential election this November. I also got my US passport which allows me to travel freely outside the United States. I started working for OIS in 2014, and since then I have had the privilege to assist many individuals in achieving their American Dream. A path to citizenship, similar to what I went through, is what most of my clients dream of achieving. It is not always straightforward; most of the time applicants encounter issues along the way. For some, learning to read and write in English is a major hurdle. For others, saving enough money to be able to afford the increasing immigration fees is the main obstacle. OIS’s mission is to facilitate this process. From beginning to end, our staff assists clients in the pursuit of the American Dream. Join us this week for a Facebook Live event on Wednesday, September 17 at 1:30 on our Facebook page to learn more and celebrate Welcoming Week and Citizenship Day!