By Alex B.
Grade 4, Maryland
Country of Origin: The Netherlands

My Interview with a Dutch Immigrant: M.D., Ph.D. Dr. A. decided to leave his home in the Netherlands and come to the United States as an immigrant in October 1994. In making his decision to come to the United States, there were two factors. First, because of his work in clinical research, he wanted to work with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and that meant that he needed to be in the States. The FDA is a U. S. public health agency that protects the American people by making sure that the food we eat is safe and wholesome, that the cosmetics we use will not hurt us, that radiation-emitting products will not harm us, and most importantly, that the medicines and medical devices we use are safe and effective. Second, he had an American girlfriend and either she was going to come to the Netherlands or he was going to go to the States. At the end of October 1994, Dr. A. flew into Denver, Colorado and then drove to Boulder, Colorado. However, this was not the first time Dr. A. had come to the United States. Dr. A. had been in America many, many times before he made the ˘big move÷¨to live permanently in the United States. The year before¨1993¨when he worked in the Netherlands for an American pharmaceutical company, he had to be in the States twice a month. When Dr. A. was working for this American pharmaceutical company, he did clinical research and helped to develop new medicines. Dr. A. still does clinical research, but he has been given more responsibility over the years and has changed companies. He now works for a company in Rockville, Maryland. Even though there are pharmaceutical companies in Holland, it is a very small country with opportunities in his field. Dr. A. likes the wide-open spaces of America. There is so much room here and so many places to see. He also likes the Chesapeake Bay. He thinks it is a great body of water and there are nice little villages on its shores. The bay is larger than the Netherlands. There are 15 million people in Holland living in a space smaller than the Chesapeake Bay. He likes the weather in the States ű it is much nicer for a longer time than in the Netherlands. He said, ˘In the Netherlands, you canĂt wait for a sunny day and here it is the other way around. ItĂs such nice weather that you canĂt wait for it to rain and then itĂs a relief.÷ When I asked Dr. A. what he liked the least about living in the United States, he said, ˘I miss the coziness of the Netherlands Ó ItĂs hard to find that coziness here in the States.÷ Dr. A. is a Permanent U.S. Resident. He said, ˘They used to call it a Permanent Alien but they got rid of the Alien part.÷ He is currently applying for citizenship. When I asked Dr. A. if he will retain his Dutch citizenship after he has earned his American citizenship, he said, ˘ThatĂs a good question. According to the American rules, you cannot have a dual citizenship. However, in the Netherlands, if I donĂt do anything, the Dutch law will allow me to retain dual citizenship.÷ When I asked Dr. A. what he misses most about the Netherlands, he said that the Netherlands is a very nice country, and it has a very nice atmosphere. He used to live in Amsterdam and there were very many nice restaurants and bars that he could eat at. Also, there were small shops, like the butcher shop at the corner, the cheese shop next door, and the teashop. He said it is hard to find those kinds of shops in the States. But most of all he misses his family. Dr. A. said that his favorite memories of Holland are from when he was young. He spent part of his youth in a very small village between Utrecht and Amsterdam. There was a lake nearby where his family had a sailboat and where he spent much of his time. Sailing was a big part of his life there. Dr. A's family still lives in Holland. When he was 10 years old, his family moved to a larger village ű Hilversum ű itĂs the Hollywood of the Netherlands ű where they make TV shows and films. He lived there until he was 18 years old. His father and sister still live there. Dr. A. visited his family only once this year. But last year he visited them 6 times. His visits depend on business and if he can take time to travel there for pleasure. His parents came to visit him in the States twice ű in 1995 and in 1997. However, his sister and brother have never come here, partly because his sister is afraid of flying and his brother is in the Royal Dutch Navy and has very little vacation time. Dr. A. said that he would encourage other people to come to the United States to live and work depending on what kind of people they were. He is happy here, but it takes a lot to leave your whole family behind. As far as opportunities are concerned, he would encourage people to come to America, if they can live without their family. However, he said, ˘If you cannot live without your family and if you have to move your whole family, that is an entirely different circumstance.÷ Dr. A. said, ˘Yes, definitely,÷ when I asked him if he had it to do over again, would he still come to the United States of America. ˘Because I love it. I enjoy living here.÷

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