Congratulations, Boosteeyo!

“Now I am so happy to be a citizen. I can sleep better and am less stressed. In one month, I will go to London to visit family!”

Spend time at the English Learning Center, and Boosteeyo Ahmed is likely one of the first students you will get to know. Always ready with a smile, laugh, or joke, she can be described as many things—full of life, strong, chatty, boisterous. And, most recently, she can proudly add to that list—United States citizen!

Originally from Somalia, Boosteeyo arrived in the U.S. 5 years ago and has consistently attended the ELC for over 3 of those years. She started because she wanted to be more independent in this country, to do things like go to the doctor or store without an interpreter. Starting in English level 1, she’s now progressed up to level 4, which is conversationally proficient.

In addition to English classes, Boosteeyo started studying for the citizenship exam a year and a half ago. As the second eldest in a family of 13, now spread around the world, it was important to Boosteeyo to become a citizen so she could safely travel to see family she hasn’t seen in years.

Although the class was sometimes hard, Boosteeyo says that the studying was fine. It was the interview part of the exam that made her the most nervous. In preparation for the exam, applicants study a list of 100 questions about United States history and government. During their interview, an immigration official asks any 10 of those 100 questions. Would-be-citizens must correctly answer at least 6 to pass. Most are required to take the test in English, as Boosteeyo did.

Though she was “not surprised she passed,” Boosteeyo expressed some relief at the news. “Now I am so happy. I can sleep better and feel less stressed.” There’s also the security factor. Until gaining citizenship, there is no guarantee of being able to stay in the country permanently.

On January 21, 2014, at the Minneapolis Convention Center, Boosteeyo pledged her allegiance to the United States of America, along with 1,500 other new citizens from all over the world. She was most amazed by how many people were there. She was also surprised that it was on the news.

With this milestone behind her, Boosteeyo looks forward to new opportunities. She was excited about Abdi Warsame winning a seat in Minneapolis’ city council and is eager to cast her vote in future elections. However, she is most excited to have the freedom to go anywhere she needs or wants. In one month, she’ll go to London to visit family. But she won’t be out of class for too long. After all, there’s still a lot more English to learn!