By John M.
Grade 4, Maryland
Country of Origin: BosniaHerzegovina

I interviewed an immigrant named Dr. Edina to find out about her experiences coming to the U.S.A. Dr. Edina is from Bosnia. She and her family left her country together and came to America in 1996 when Dr. Edina was 20 years old. Dr. Edina really likes it here in America. She is now a citizen of the United States and told me how she became one.
Dr. Edina left Bosnia because of war in her country in 1992. Her family was not safe. One night her father came home, got them on a bus, and they left the country. Her family stayed in Croatia for 4 years for her to finish high school. When Edina left Bosnia, she was only able to take a backpack with a change of clothes and a few pictures of her childhood and family. She had to leave everything else. She never saw her house again. When she visited Bosnia later, her house had been burned down.
She arrived in America on a plane, unlike some of the earlier immigrants that came on ships. Dr. Edina came with her family, her uncle and his family. Dr. Edina likes it here in America. One thing she did not like, and still doesn’t love, is American food. She says that for the first few weeks in this country she only ate fruit. Also she noticed that in America things are not made very well, and they break; so the customer will have to come back. In Bosnia a pair of shoes could last for years.
When Dr. Edina arrived in America, she went to New York, and then to Iowa to be with other families from Bosnia. She says that when she first arrived in America, it felt uncomfortable. Everyone was so polite, friendly and smiling. This was very different from Bosnia. “I didn’t understand English, either”, she says. She also says, “In Iowa, I felt like people were friendly, but no one really cared about listening to my story.” They didn’t care about really getting to know her. Some of her first impressions were that everything was so interesting and different. She also noticed that while she liked America, it was not exactly as it had looked on TV.
Dr. Edina compared America to her old country, and told me what she likes and dislikes about America. I already explained a few comparisons; for example the better quality items in Bosnia. She also explained that there was a small grocery store every few blocks in Bosnia; while in America they are large, far apart, and you have to drive a while to get there. Another thing she noticed was that no one rode bikes to work in America, and even fewer people walked to get places. Dr. Edina also noticed that everyone tries to have or does have perfect grass in America. Nobody cared about grass in Bosnia. She likes America because of the freedom and the American Dream. She says, “I came here with nothing and was able to make a great life as a pharmacist.” “I was also able to finish college here in America,” she says. Dr. Edina says the biggest adjustment to make was to learn to speak English.
Dr. Edina described the process she went through to become an American citizen. Dr. Edina says that to become a citizen she was a permanent resident for a year, and then she applied for a green card. She had her green card for five years before she could become a citizen. After those five years she could apply to become a citizen, and she did. She explained that she studied hard and passed the test. Dr. Edina feels like she has a new life in America, and she is glad that she and her family came here.

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