On Tuesday, March 26, Dr. Ricardo Carreras stood among 65 other students from 27 countries in Phoenix and swore the oath of citizenship to the United States. As of that day, Dr. Carreras officially became an American citizen. After going through the tedious and bureaucratic progress of becoming a citizen, he could only say, “it’s a sense of relief and pride to be a part of this nation.” Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is a school that not just beckons to international students, but also to professors in the unique fields that it offers. Many who begin on visas and green cards eventually decide this is where they want to stay. The process to become an American citizen is a long and expensive process that few actually want to go through. The talk of illegal immigrants never stops on any media outlet, but it always forgets to mention those that sit down and take the time to go through the processes. “It took me,” Carreras says, “ten years and $7500 to finish the course. After two visas and a green card, I am now an American.” The process of becoming a citizen has four tests that an applicant must take. There is writing, reading, oral speaking, and a civics and history test. Carreras said, “The civics and history was the hardest, especially when the test covers more than most history classes in schools across America cover. The speaking, writing, and reading were a breeze.” The process is daunting to those that do not realize what is expected in a citizenship course. With no offices in Prescott or neighboring cities, Dr. Carreras was forced to drive to Phoenix for every class. Taking every kind of test, including a medical exam in Flagstaff, the process can be very rough on people, but in the end, everything is worth it. Dr. Carreras is one of many professors that have gone for American citizenship as many still work towards it. Dr. Shigeo Hayashibara of the engineering department has already achieved his citizenship coming from Japan along with Dr. Wahyu Lestari and previous Embry-Riddle professor Dr. Karl Siebold. Juggling classes and life while trying to achieve this long process is commendable. At the end of the long road to becoming an American citizen, people stand among their peers they have spent years studying next to become part of the United States. Dr. Carreras was told on his last day, “welcome to America and please remember, bring your culture and enrich this country with what you know.” Dr. Carreras said of being an American, “the process went from being in a foreign country to home in every sense of the word. This is home.”

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