Jeovanna Badson on Becoming a U.S. Citizen

by Megan Dreher, Features Editor

Jeovanna Badson is a senior at Manhattan College majoring in biochemistry who recently became a United States citizen.

The Quadrangle: What led up to you decision to becoming a citizen in the U.S.?

Jeovanna Badson: My dad lives in Brooklyn, so that definitely influenced it. He’s been a citizen for almost 21 years. I am originally from Jamaica, but the main reason why I decided to become a citizen is that there are generally greater opportunities available as a citizen of the United States.

TQ: What was the citizenship process like?

JB: The process was super long and tedious. I started the process in 2014, but only officially became a citizen in August. There’s lots of money involved in the process too. Every time the government asks for a piece of documentation, you also have to send in a money order.

TQ: What was the oath ceremony like?

JB: The oath ceremony was a really interesting. First, you’re seated in this room where the officials will take your green card and make sure all of your information is correct. Then once they take your green card, you have to sign a certificate and then wait for the actual ceremony to begin. They do multiple ceremonies per day so once the room is full, the officials will come in and do the oath. Basically, the oath is swearing that you’ll adhere to all of the duties of a United States citizen.

TQ: How long have you known that you wanted to be a United States citizen?

JB: When I was 16, I knew I wanted to dorm at college. I couldn’t dorm at the college in Jamaica because it was so close to home, so I decided to look internationally, especially since my father was already here. Manhattan was the school that gave me the most money, but I also looked and was interested in schools like USF (University of South Florida).

TQ: What are your next steps after Manhattan?

JB: I plan on going to graduate school. Currently, I’m in the process of applying and doing my GREs (Graduate Record Examinations).

TQ: What have you noticed about American culture as an international student?

JB: It was a culture shock for the first few weeks here at college. It’s a pretty big difference from home, especially the social life. But I’ve gotten used to it over the years. It’s a different experience from home, but overall I’ve had a lot of fun!

TQ: Have you experienced any difficulties during the citizenship process?

JB: I actually had a problem when I travelled abroad with the cheer team to Ireland last December. When I landed in Dublin and went through customs, I was informed I couldn’t enter the country because I didn’t have a Visa. I was then given a Visa warning, meaning that next time I went to Ireland without a Visa, they would put me on a plane back to the United States. I was able to go through, but it was still difficult because I wasn’t a U.S. citizen yet. I didn’t even think about it and that it would be an issue.

TQ: What advice would you have for anyone else applying to be a United States citizen?

Patience! Like I said, it’s a long and tedious process. Sometimes it’s tricky, especially if you run into any obstacles with the government that stalls the process. But it was all worth it in the end. I plan on staying in the states for graduate school and then work, but then we’ll see where life takes me!