Thomas Student Becomes a US Citizen Web Director | December 13, 2018

Film Janla ’18 came to the United States from the Udon Thani province in Thailand. Film, along with his mother and brother can to the US in June of 2010. Film got a visa for three years before getting a permanent green card that would last ten years. Film wanted to become a US citizen so he would not have to go back to Thailand and complete the entire process again once his green card expired among other reasons.

“I like the people here. I like the culture here. I like the opportunities here. There is definitely better education here in America. I wanted to become a citizen because I wanted to feel like I belong in this country.”

Film said gaining his visa was more difficult than becoming a citizen.

“There are so many tests to get a visa. It took me three years just to get a visa. I had to constantly go to Bangkok to run tests and write a lot of papers. At one point my mom and I almost gave up on coming to America just because of how hard it was.” To become a citizen, Film had to apply online before taking three tests covering writing, reading, and history. After passing his tests, Film was sworn in, officially becoming a US citizen.

He says the culture is different in the US because Thailand has many more ceremonies, like our holidays but constantly throughout the year due to the different religions. Film said, “Its more tradition over there whereas over here it’s more contemporary.” Climate was another difference Film has noticed. “I liked seeing snow the first day, but not anymore.”

The lifestyle is also very different. In Thailand, people are more self-sufficient and live very close to one another. “Basically, I can just go to the woods and find food, whereas in America, I need to have a car. I need to have money over here.”

When asked why he came to Thomas College, Film said, “I didn’t know Thomas existed at first. My coach wrote a letter to Thomas College’s head coach for soccer. The head coach, Chris Parsons, went to see one of my games and he was interested in how I played so he said why don’t you come play for us at Thomas.” Thomas College was the only college Film applied to, and he got accepted!

“The thing I like most is my friends at Thomas. In high school, I had friends but not close friends, whereas here, my group of friends is super tight,” he said.