Endeavor flight attendant describes his journey to becoming a U.S. citizen
Ram York vividly remembers the first time he experienced snow.
“It was the beginning of fall, as the cold weather was approaching and the color of leaves were changing. Everything seemed to be like in the American movies I used to watch,” recalls the LGA-based flight attendant.
“Soon enough, it was my first time experiencing the snow, and I’ve never been so happy the first time it touched my cheeks.”
Born and raised in the Philippines in the province of Bicol, Albay, York first landed in America in October 2016. Gripping his K-1 visa in-hand and wearing a smile on his face, he began his journey to achieving the ‘American dream’ — one that was fully realized this summer when he officially became a United States citizen.
After settling in Manchester, New Hampshire, in 2016, York received his working visa and immediately applied for a job as a front desk agent and breakfast attendant at a Springhill Suites hotel.
While working at the hotel, he spent many days checking people in and out as they began or ended their stay in Manchester — but one group of guests caught his eye.
“While I was working, Endeavor crew were staying in the hotel. I started getting curious and asked one of the flight attendants about their job,” remembers York. “She told me to check on the company website for an open position for flight attendants.”
York’s curiosity led him to visit the Endeavor website, apply for a flight attendant position, and eventually join the Endeavor team in November 2017.
While York was flying in the air with Endeavor, his dream of becoming a U.S. citizen never halted. Growing up in a third world country opened his eyes to a world of possibilities, so York started his application for naturalization last year.
“Living in a country that is deprived of accessible health care and that has poor leadership of our government officials… that makes you dream big,” York said.
“I have a bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant management, and getting a decent job is difficult,” continued York. “Filipinos are hard workers, and I am one of those… But no matter how hard you work in the Philippines, you won’t get the same rewards as I do now here in the U.S.”
Although the entire process was long, York was determined to fulfill his dream of citizenship. After beginning his application, he vigorously studied the 100 civic test questions to ensure the interview and testing would go smoothly.
“Because of COVID-19 and moving around the country, the process took even longer, as each state has a different jurisdiction on my case,” York said.
“When I finally moved to Florida and changed my address, my case was starting to process quickly.”
When the day finally came to swear in as an official U.S. citizen, every minute of studying and waiting was worth it. COVID-19 restrictions didn’t allow any visitors inside the ceremony, but his family and friends were there with him in spirit.
“Unfortunately, my siblings were all in the Philippines, and my husband waited outside,” said York. “I could feel the support of my family and friends, and they are very happy to know that I am now a U.S. citizen.”
“This was just a dream, my American dream,” York said. “I will have the same rights as others. I am looking forward for bigger opportunities that may come.”