Being an Alien in America

According to the United States’ IRS, an alien is an individual who is not a U.S. citizen or U.S. national. I am one of them.

While the stories and voices of minorities and immigrants are well-spread, the story of the international student, not yet even considered an immigrant, is not as well documented. I hope to shed light on what it is like to be an alien in this country.

For those who are entrepreneurial and high-achieving, the United States is not the place for you (especially if you are entrepreneurial).

Think you can start a company? Not without an American cofounder.

Want to drop out of school to do something spectacular? Sorry, but you’ll most likely have to go outside of the United States.

There are two visas that allow us to stay here — one is a life of stability but is so limiting, the other — a gamble.

The overlooming visa looms over every life decision — it has led to multiple headaches, crying sessions, and re-evaluation of life (or even 2-year) plans, sketching out Plan As, Bs, Zs, and then crossing them off.

The safe path is to get a job, go to graduate school, live the life of normalcy.

It is a life of restrictions that, with a change of passport and a document, can be avoided as an American citizen or even a green-card. The problem is not the “safe” path -that is a completely legitimate path.

It is the fact that we have very little choice but to choose that path.

Alien.

Who knew such a word could weigh so much?

Like what you read? Give Yada Pruksachatkun a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.