From time to time we receive comments from former refugees who give us an insider’s look at a refugee’s life in America. And, LOL!, you can bet this Bosnian woman wasn’t selected to go to Washington to tell this story at the anniversary bash last week!
For background you might want to re-read the 2009 post ‘Peelow’ is commenting on, here (and this related post) before reading her comment below (I’ve added paragraph breaks to make the comment more readable).
I just wanted to say that I am a Bosnian refugee who lived in Bowling Green KY for 8 years.
My family and I first moved to Spokane WA through World Relief and after living there for a year we moved to Bowling Green. Bowling Green International Center made me sick to my stomach with the way they treated refugees. Even though most of the employees there are my own people I didn’t want to deal with them.
They made my family and I retake all of our shots needed to apply for Green Card after we brought in sealed envelopes with all of our medical stuff from WA. Luckily my English was very good so I questioned everything. I went to the Health Department and gave the nurse my medical history asking for shots needed to apply for Green Card and that’s when the nurse informed me that I was super up to date with all my shots.
My whole family went to get their shots with an interpreter from the International Center and they all had to get a shot each (God knows what kind of shot). The main reason behind this was so the International Center can collect the ‘filling fee’ for the Green Card and the interpreter services.
A lot of friends and family asked me to interpret for them if they had a doctor visit, delivering a baby, unemployment filing, medicaid filing and I would do it, but then one day I started being told that if I was not associated with the International Center I couldn’t interpret. So what happened here is that people from the International Center contacted all the major agencies in town and convinced them that anybody interpreting and not associated with the IC is not truthful and they should not use their services. But the real truth was that IC interpreters collected state funds for interpreting plus the fees they would charge innocent people who were struggling with English.
I avoided International Center for years until the time came for me to apply for my citizenship. I told my parents that I was going to apply for my American Citizenship and after they realized that my intention was to apply online, or print my application online and mail it myself they started telling me that I will never get an appointment because the International Center told them that the only way you can apply for citizenship is to go through them. They have to give you an application, they fill it out for you and they will get you new copies of all the documents you need and if you try going any other way it won’t work.
I was speechless! I told my parents that they were full of s@@t and I was going to do it my way. I have had my citizenship for almost 3 years now. I graduated from WKU with a B. S. in Business Economics and currently work for a worldly known hospital. Oh did I mention that I no longer live in Bowling Green? Yep, I moved 3.5 hours away looking for a better future and representing my culture and my background in the best way possible.
All of the stories I have read here about Bowling Green and Bosnians are unfortunately true but I have to say that not all Bosnians are bad. Bowling Green is populated with Bosnian Gypsies and Albanians who are prone to violence and the actual Bosnians who cause trouble are the ones from very very rural areas in Bosnia and unfortunately the life in US (very modern country in the world) didn’t teach them anything.
Oh by the way, I was told that the reason why there are so many Bosnians in Bowling Green is because some 15 years ago Bowling Green wanted to become a metro so they accepted refugees to increase their population and that’s why the International Center was set up. Who knows what’s true and what’s not.
One honest truth here is that I cannot thank enough to whomever brought me here because I created a wonderful life for myself without anybody’s help, not government, not parents, not international center. I live your typical American life: pay taxes (most people don’t believe that), pay student loans, got my first FHA mortgage all on my own, live with my boyfriend before marriage (who is by the way American because I couldn’t stand dating Bosnian guys in Bowling Green), got two adorable cats, and love my job.
This category, comments worth noting, is for comments from readers that might be missed because they were posted to older posts and/or are very informative themselves.