Tompkins Learning Partners citizenship students come from all over the world. They are now our community members, neighbors, and friends. Each has his or her own story about their journey to the United States and their desire to become American citizens. Here are just a few of those stories:
A student from Morocco is anxious to improve her English and become a United States citizen so her children will be proud of her.
A small class of Karen students from Burma spent years in a refugee camp in Thailand. Their journey was long and at times, very dangerous. They want to be citizens because, “American people are good and America is a safe country.”
A student from China seeks the freedom to express herself and wants to be able to participate in elections in the United States.
Preparing for the citizenship test often takes between 1-3 years. Students are tested in their ability to read, write and speak in English. They must also demonstrate knowledge of U.S. history and government by learning 100 civics and history questions. It is a challenging test for anyone, and especially for our students who have had little formal education in their home countries. Others have never experienced living in a democracy, so our government and all its components can be difficult for them to understand.
We could not be prouder of our students for working so hard to pass their citizenship interviews. We are especially proud of those who never had the chance to go to school in their home countries. For these folks, the study process often takes years of determination and practice. We are also grateful for our dedicated corps of citizenship tutors who play a key role in their learning partners’ successes.
One of our students here at TLP studied reading, writing, and U.S. history, and civics for over 2 years. They said the most difficult things to learn were writing and spelling words like, “California.” When asked how she felt about becoming a new citizen, They said they were “very happy.”