Becoming an American Citizen – My Experience
My name is Prashanth Sai Sankar, and I’m an alumni of the Wharton Gladden “Developing Excellence” Summer Internship Program – completed the program in 2014. I recently became a proud citizen of the United States, and thought I’d share my journey on the Wharton Gladden blog.
In 1996, sponsored by my aunt and uncle, my parents applied for U.S. permanent residency (also known as the “green card”) for our family. We lived in Dubai at the time, but fast forward eleven years to 2007 and we had moved around the world from Dubai to Australia to Singapore.
We had been residing in Singapore for close to three years when we became aware that the State Department was finally processing our application. However, we still had a lot of work to do before getting our green cards. After completing mountains of paperwork, an in-person interview at the U.S. consulate and a battery of vaccinations and medical checkups, we were finally done by the summer of 2008.
In October 2008, we packed our bags and moved to the United States to begin our lives as American permanent residents. Saying goodbye to friends and family and leaving behind our content lives in Singapore was certainly not easy, but we did it all with the hope and confidence that the United States would provide a better life for us.
We stayed in the suburbs of Wilmington, DE, where we had family, and within less than a week, I had suddenly gone from being in an Indian-oriented middle school in Singapore to an American public high school. While the initial adjustment process was very challenging, with support from friends, family and teachers I was able to adapt to life in the United States.
After two years in Delaware, we moved to Cary, NC in 2010 where we have lived ever since. I completed high school in 2012, and graduated from UNC in 2016.
I decided to start applying for naturalization around the summer of 2016, and filled out the required paperwork, followed by a biometrics appointment in July and a naturalization interview in February 2017.
On the morning of March 15th, 2017, I joined 59 other people from 32 different countries in taking the Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America. I had finally done it. I had become a citizen of the country that I had come to love and call my home for the past eight years. This was a moment 21 years in the making, and it made my parents’ sacrifice in leaving behind a cushy life in Singapore feel absolutely 100% worth it.
I think about my time living in the U.S. over the past eight years and realize that this country – my country – is truly the land of opportunity and freedom. It has given me countless experiences and opportunities that would not have been available to me had I lived in any other country in the entire world. I am extremely fortunate and grateful to be a citizen of this amazing nation, and I hope to be able to give back at least as much as this country has given me.