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Student Spotlights

“Grandma, come on, time to study!"

Image of Sandra

Spotlight on Sandra

Sandra shares her journey on the path to becoming an American citizen.


I came to the United States from Costa Rica with my daughter on April 16, 1999. I joined my son who was a citizen. I needed to work very hard to support my family and did not have time to learn English.

Two years ago, I decided it was time for me to become a citizen. I knew I needed to improve my English so that I could pass the test. I took LVSC's Beginner's class with Susan P. in Bound Brook and then worked with my LVSC tutor, Tammy, until the pandemic closed the library last March.

I work full-time, but would study every chance I could.

I took citizenship classes in Somerville and Flemington at night. I listened to a citizenship CD while I was driving. My family helped me on the weekends. My grandchildren would say to me: “Grandma, come on, time to study!” We would sit down at the table and they would help me every Saturday and Sunday.

It took me 18 months of taking classes and studying before I was ready to take the test. I was so nervous—my hands were shaking. The immigration officer was so nice, and I understood everything he said!

I am so happy to be an American citizen.

Last month I needed to return to Costa Rica to help my mother, and it was so easy to go through immigration with my new passport. But the most important thing for me as a U.S. citizen­: I can vote next time for president!