On Becoming a U.S. Citizen
By Santiago Delboy
I received my U.S. passport a few days ago, 5 weeks after I attended the citizenship oath ceremony, 6 months after I submitted the initial paperwork, and 10 years after I moved from Peru, where I grew up.
I came to the U.S. under privileged circumstances, in order to pursue my first masters degree. I was not rejected from my home country by poverty or violence, I was not responsible for supporting a family, and I was not trying to escape from anything other than some of my inner demons. However, moving to a country with a different language and a different culture, where I had no close bonds, was a very scary, uncertain and open-ended life-changing decision.
Despite my efforts to minimize it, I realize that becoming a citizen was also a big step. Life did not change after the ceremony and I still keep my Peruvian citizenship, but I have been thinking about the meaning this transition has for me. I wanted to share some of my thoughts hoping that they would help others understand the impact of this event.
The process of becoming a citizen of the U.S. is, paradoxically, foreign for most U.S. citizens. My hope is that sharing my experience can be helpful to incite curiosity, the necessary precursor of empathy, which is becoming so apparently scarce these days.....
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