Citizenship Interview with Osman Nejat (Kabul, Afghanistan)

This is Teacher Jennifer from US Citizenship Podcast. Every week, we bring you practice interviews, quizzes, resources, and the latest news that help you get ready for your US Citizenship Interview. Today we’re going to listen to an interview with Osman Nejat from Kabul, Afghanistan. Osman is the Citizenship teacher at New Haven Adult School. After his interview, he’s going to talk about his education and being bi-lingual and bi-cultural in America. Let’s get started. How are you eligible to become a US citizen? I have been a legal permanent resident for five years. What is your full name? My full name is Gina Montoya. What is your date of birth? My date of birth is October 14,1967. What is your country of birth? My country of birth is Mexico. What is your home address? I live in Milpitas, CA. How do you financially support yourself? I am a waitress. Have you ever claimed to be a US citizen? No. Have you ever registered to vote in any US elections? No. Have you ever failed to file your taxes? No Have you ever been declared legally
incompetent? No. What is legally incompetent? A doctor or a lawyer says that you cannot make important life decisions someone must make (decisions) for you like a guardian. Have you ever been in jail? No. Have you ever used sold or smuggled illegal drugs? No. Have you ever gambled illegally? No. Do you support the Constitution and the form of government of the USA? Yes, I do. Are you willing to take the full Oath of Allegiance? Yes. I am. If the law requires it, are you willing to bear arms in the US Army? Yes. Are you willing to perform non-combatant services for the US? Yes. Are you willing to help the government during a national emergency? Yes Do you promise that everything that you
have said is true? Yes. (Get ready for Civics Questions!) What is an amendment? An amendment is a change to the Constitution. What stops one branch of government from becoming too powerful? Checks and balances. Who vetoes bills? The president What is the capital of the United States Washington DC What is the capital of your state? Sacramento How old do citizens have to be to vote for president? 18 years and older. There were 13 original states. Name three. Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina What movement tried to end racial discrimination? The Civil Rights movement Name one problem that led to the Civil War. Slavery Thank you. Okay, Osman–can you introduce yourself? My name is Osman Nejat. And where are you from originally? I was born in Afghanistan. You came from Afghanistan. Then where did you go to school? I came to California and I lived in Union City, where I went to New Haven Adult School. I took my first English class at the New Haven Adult School at a time we had only one class–a multi-level class So I joined the class. I was at the lowest (laughter) lowest class so I learned the language And then from there I started off and I went to college and I got my degree an AA degree from Chabot (Community College). And I transferred to East Bay Cal State at the time, Hayward, and I got my BA (Bachelors of Arts). And then I was interested in teaching so I went back to teaching. I got my credential from San Jose State. And now I am working at the same school that I started as a student. That is so awesome! You are such a role model for all your students!!! Thank you Now what do you teach? I teach US Citizenship and also GED and High School Diploma for New Haven Adult School. And then how long have you been teaching citizenship? For the last ten years ten years. Ten years? Well, that is awesome! What kind of experiences have you had as a teacher? As a teacher? Actually, I started teaching ESL. And then also in my school district was very nice to me So I also got a citizenship class. So I have the the greatest experience of my life teaching –especially the immigrants– who are coming to America, learning a (new) language, a US citizen, and then fulfilling their dreams. Do you remember anything about your own citizenship process? Yes, I do. Actually, I do. What do you remember? During my time actually was a long time ago. I had to memorize 13 colonies. (laughs) I had such a hard time memorizing the 13 colonies but I just named four or five of them and I passed. Do you have any advice for our students preparing for their Citizenship test? Actually I do. The first thing, I think, it would be a good idea for students to learn the language, the English language. And from there, they can learn the Citizenship. But they just cannot jump into the questions and memorize because memorizing doesn’t help that much. They have to understand because once they become American citizens, they have to know the geography; they have to know the system of the government; and where they live–how they live in America. It’s not just memorizing question. It would be a good idea to know where they live and how they live in America. Yes. Start where you live and build up from there, Exactly. Sometimes people don’t realize that even the simple act of going from home to work or from home to school is actually a “lived N -400.” You wake up. You look at yourself in the mirror. You say “Hello Osman.” (What is your full name?) You realize that the person you wake up to is probably your wife. (Are you married? Who is your spouse?) You greet your children. (How many children do you have? What are their names?) You’re going to work . . . Of course they ask you about work. (How do you financially support yourself?) Sometimes you drive past an airport. (and you remember the N-400 question)
Have you taken any trips outside the United States? So looking at everyday activities
is very important for Citizenship because the Citizenship (interview and the N-400) is almost like a microcosm (or snapshot photo) of your day to day experience. Right, right. It there anything else that you want to say? Like I said, learning English language and
learning also the American system of government. For example, if you want to travel outside the United States with American passport. In an American passport, the 1st page would say that the DATE of your nationality It doesn’t say your American nationality, you still have the first nationality But be proud of also your first nationality and also be proud that you’re American citizen. And understand where you live; why live in America; and love America! I mean, I’m not saying that you can give up on your first culture and language. It’s nice to be bi-lingual and bi-cultural. You always carry Afghanistan in your heart. Afghanistan is my heart also in my American citizen and my passport. in the back of the American passport, it says: US citizen / US passport But if you open the 1st page, it says: BORN IN AFGHANISTAN That means you always carry that
(your Country of Birth) with you even though you’re American citizen, but you still have to have carry that (Country of Origin) with you. So don’t forget that, whoever you are, your identity, you have to keep that as well, as your first identity, an American as the second identity Would you want to say anything to students who are preparing for Citizenship ? Well, my message will be to all Americans to all people who are be willing to become American citizens. Like I said love for your country, keep your identity as the first were you born, and be proud of it. And also love America as your as your second country and keep it in your heart that America is giving you so much opportunity. America is giving me a lot too, I mean that I cannot pay back. So be a proud American citizen while
you are also speaking Farsi or Chinese or Punjabi, try to learn the (English) language and become also somebody. Always think about why did you come to America? Meaning you know you have a dream of either becoming a doctor, engineer, or maybe just
become rich, or just do something– that dream unfulfilled–ACHIEVE IT! Achieving your dream is not only
just by hard work but you have to learn the language and the culture of American culture. You have to have bi-culture! You know, like, bi-lingual and bi-cultural There’s more advantages around you in America if you know English and Farsi, English and Chinese, English bilingual will bring you more opportunities especially in California. My mother came (from Germany) just before WW II so she could not speak her native language and she was robbed of her identity (and language) and so little by little I’ve been trying to reclaim that but it’s something that’s lost and the only way we can gain that is to help other maintain (and develop) their identity. Thanks to the students & staff of Milpitas Adult School. Special thanks goes out to teacher Osman Nejat from New Haven Adult School. Please visit us on the web at Thanks for listening. I know you will be a great American citizen!

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