I am deeply inspired by the roots and reason for America’s existence, and have fully embraced this great country as my home, which is why I want to go through the next step of becoming an American: naturalization. I am 24 years old and from Ecuador, but Queens, New York is now my home.
Having lived in Queens for nine years, I have recently applied for citizenship and I am now waiting for an interview. My mother, my brother and I immigrated to the United States to join my grandmother and a few other family members in Queens. With us, we had our green cards, our hopes and our dreams. I thrived in New York and got a good education. I was on the high school honor roll and managed to score a scholarship and financial aid to the City University of New York (CUNY), eventually graduating despite the various difficulties that life put ahead of me in the summer of 2017. My dream is to land a job at the State Department and become a career diplomat. I am enthused by international relations and politics, which was also my major in college. These days, while searching for a full time job in my field and attending job interviews, I work part-time in a pharmacy to help with family finances.
I love my adopted country. I love Ecuador as well, but the opportunities and possibilities I can have here are hard to find in Ecuador. Though I sometimes still miss the memories of Ecuador and the family members who are there, I now call the United States home—in fact, the only home I know.
My mother, Yessenia Villagomez, age 43, immigrated to the United States because she dreamed of a better education and more opportunities for me, despite the unfamiliar surroundings and the definite challenges she would face. My mom works with the elderly, helping to take care of them and tending to their health. Like me, she is also a citizen-in-waiting, and is excited about her naturalization interview. She contributes to society and her surroundings, and feels like she will have even more opportunities once she becomes a citizen, making her even more resolved to naturalize.
I am now more determined than ever to enter the world of politics as a professional. In this age, amid the obstacles immigrants and foreigners face, foreign policy attracts me more than before, and I feel that I could be a source of change in my own right. I intend to pursue a graduate degree while I work in my field. In fact, my major motivation to apply for citizenship is to qualify to serve in the government, in the area of foreign policy.
Having gone through the ups and downs of immigration and life in an adopted land, I must say to my fellow immigrants, “Work hard. Embrace the culture, the diversity, and the opportunities in this great country.” I have to add, “Apply for citizenship. Go for it, don’t be afraid. Have faith and be courageous because more doors will open for you and you can contribute more once you naturalize.”
By Marco Niama
In the picture (from left to right): Marco Niama, Matteo Fu (my cousin), Angel Villagomez (my brother)