09 Apr

Coming to the U.S. with NOTHING but Perseverance : A story of a Vietnamese Immigrant

danang2

     I was born and raised in Vietnam, specifically, Da Nang; one of the major port cities on the South Central Coast of Vietnam. I came to the United States August of 2009. I was 17 years old at the time and had just graduated from high school. I came here for a better future.
     It is more of a personal reason as to why I came. My relatives who live in the U.S. always looked down on my mom and grandma because they came from a very poor family. My mom is the greatest woman I know and the fact that they disrespected her so much really upset me. That’s probably the biggest motivation as to why I came to the United States. I wanted to prove a point and show my family that my mom is not small nor to be disrespected and make my mom proud.
     It’s tough living here. People think America is the land of opportunity and success. That is true, but you have to work hard to be able to obtain those opportunities exposed. Sometimes, I get frustrated and mad at those who have all these benefits, but take them for granted. Here I am working my ass off, yet my immigrant status is holding me back from being able to receive anything. I’m tired of hearing the same thing come out of many prospective openings: “No, you can’t apply for scholarships, unless you’re a citizen.” “You’re a very qualified candidate, but we cannot hire a person on visa due to our company policy.” Etc. I’ve heard those words come out of people’s mouths more times than I would have liked to have heard. I just smirk at them whenever I hear them.
     My family isn’t rich at all, so they definitely couldn’t afford my school in the States. However, it is because they believed in me and my dream to go to school here, my parents saved enough money for me to attend school for a year in exchange for me to find a job to support myself while living here. It is illegal for students on VISA to work in the U.S., so I worked under the table during my first year to pay for school. It was hard but I was motivated to keep my head up and succeed no matter the circumstance.
     I am trying really hard to obtain citizenship. For many international students, getting an H1B1 Visa (Employer Sponsorship) is the ultimate way to stay in the states, besides getting married. I got my first big girl job right after college and the employer is filing my H1B1 Visa. I’m pretty happy about that right now. I recently found out that H1B1 is a non-immigrant visa that qualifies for in-state tuition, which means that I am one step closer to Grad school! To be able to get a green card and eventually citizenship, I have to get my PhD, which would take me another 5-10 years. If my employer wants to sponsor my green card, I have to work in a super important filed such as engineering, research, etc., and have to work for them at 6-10 years before filing for a green card. It is a very lengthy process, but I feel that must do this not only for myself but my family back at home.

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