The best way to describe Michelle is relentless and determined. As a Development Manager for Salzburg Global Seminar and an expectant mother, Michelle managed to stay poised through her naturalization process. Having just completed her citizenship interview, with excitement in her voice she shared a pleasant experience.
Michelle was twenty-nine when she moved from Italy to the United States. Love reunited her and her husband as she made her arrival in this country. When asked what citizenship means Michelle responded, “citizenship is flexibility and freedom to move freely. There is no longer that fear of your place in this country being ripped away from you. That security is valuable”. Michelle applied for citizenship because she believes it is the bridge between a person and freedom. Michelle states, “I look forward to becoming more involved in my community in D.C. through my ability to vote”. Michelle believes that voting is one part of being an active community member. She values the importance of having your voice heard. Further, Michelle states “it is crucial and valuable to be part of the decision-making process in our country, while also helping shape our society as a whole”.
Having finalized the naturalization process, Michelle shared a sense of relief. When Michelle was asked what having assistance with the application process meant to her, she responded, “It was huge, the financial component was beneficial. Having a support system and services that allow for finances not to become a barrier was really important. I feel grateful for what was done for me and for what is being done for other people”. Michelle’s favorite thing about being a Development Manager is being part of an organization that has a strong mission in supporting people around the world. In addition, the people she works with are very important to her and she says that she has great colleagues that make working there even better. When asked about her experience she said, “having someone care about my case and making the effort to follow-up to make sure I was prepared made me feel supported”.
Michelle encourages others to apply for citizenship because she believes there are a lot of benefits that come with naturalizing such as having legal security and having the flexibility to build a better life personally and for your family. Michelle looks forward to the expanded work opportunities that will become available. She states, “I come from a political science background, so I am excited for the next steps in my career”. We wanted to wish her the best of luck on her new chapter in life and of course, a healthy baby.
The National Immigration Forum would like to thank Kevin Rojas De León, Integration Programs intern, for capturing this story.