Somali refugee receives citizenship

Nuria Furhan passed her citizenship test on first try, after 6 months of English class.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass.  (WWLP)– As many Americans prepare to celebrate Independence day with Barbeques and firework displays, 22news spoke to one new American who will spend the 4th of July being honored for her new citizenship.

A mix of immigrants and refugees fills Nathan Bench’s English speaking class at the Springfield Housing Authority’s Neighborhood Network Center. But for one of his students Independence Day will take on a whole new meaning this year.

Nuria Furhan sought refuge in Springfield from Somalia 10 years ago. She told 22News living in the U.S. kept her and her family safe, but that there were daily challenges of speaking a different language than everyone around her.

“Sometimes you sick and you go to hospital and they tell you wait for translator, and you sick! That was bad! But lucky now I’m okay and I’m my own translator,” Furhan said.

Now, after only six months of studying the English language, she passed her naturalization exam on the first try and is officially a U.S citizen.

Her proud teacher told 22news Furhan’s challenges with adapting are common to those trying to re-adjust in their new country and do things like search for employment.

“You have to fill out all this paperwork and there are all these words that are great vocabulary words for an English class but they’re a real impediment, a real obstacle for English learning students,” Bench said.

Furhan will be honored in a New Citizenship ceremony on the 4th of July in Northampton.

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