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VCU Professor and Students Help Prepare Immigrants to Become Citizens

Anita NadalAt the Virginia Historical Society on a recent evening, Anita Nadal, a Virginia Commonwealth University professor of Spanish, is quizzing a classroom full of Richmond-area residents who are studying to take the test that is required to become a naturalized U.S. citizen.

“During the Cold War, what was the main concern of the United States?” Nadal asks Sonia Bellatin, who immigrated to the United States from Peru.

Bellatin confers with VCU international studies major Camilla Harris, who is on hand to help translate the question into Spanish.

“Communism,” Bellatin says.

Nadal, an assistant professor in the School of World Studies in the College of Humanities and Sciences, is teaching the new service-learning class being offered by VHS, “Becoming Citizens,” to prepare those on the journey to become U.S. citizens.

“To help immigrants prepare for citizenship is a joy and I like to highlight the importance of giving back to the community, which is an important aspect of civics,” Nadal said. “Many immigrants have come from very difficult circumstances and they feel like becoming citizens in the United States gives them a second chance on life. As such, I take pleasure in being a small part of their life goals.”

Read the full VCU News article.