Tania Galvan, an admissions counselor at GHS Cancer Institute’s Eastside location, reached a milestone in November of 2017. After 19 years of attempting to achieve U.S. citizenship, she finally became a citizen on November 9, 2017. During the intervening two decades, Tania carried only temporary residency, which she had to renew every year. Renewing her temporary residency involved paying a fee of $800-$1,200 with each application.
Tania was 6 when her parents moved to the U.S. for her father’s job. His company sponsored his working permit. Tania’s parents brought her to the U.S. when she was 11. The family applied multiple times for her residency, but was only able to obtain the temporary status.
Tania dreamed of attending medical school. She worked her way through undergraduate studies at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and completed the requirements for an undergraduate degree in biology. But because her temporary permit expired before she graduated, she could not receive her degree—and without her degree, she could not attend medical school, even though she had already been accepted to medical school at UCLA.
Undeterred, Tania persevered in her quest to become a U.S. citizen and to pursue a career in health care. Eventually she got married, and she and her husband had two children. About three years ago, Tania’s husband’s job brought the family to Greenville. Tania found the job she now has with GHS Cancer Institute. Even though she didn’t get to fulfill her dream of attending medical school, she said she loves what she does.
“I love being there for my patients—emotionally and physically,” Tania said. “I want to make sure they get what they deserve and what they need.”
Tania also is part of GHS’ Bilingual Program and translates for patients who speak only Spanish. Her manager, Latoya Pyles, said of her, “She’s a hard worker, passionate about what she does.”
In June of this year, Tania finally was able to take her citizenship test. She brought a practice test to work, and her co-workers were surprised to learn that most of them could not answer the majority of the questions.
Finally, in November, Tania was granted U.S. citizenship. Her husband and children watched proudly as she took the oath of citizenship. When she returned to work at the Cancer Institute, Tania discovered her co-workers had prepared a celebration for her, complete with decorations of red, white and blue.
Despite the lengthy process, Tania said she has no bitterness and that the journey was worth every step.
“America is my home,” she said. “It’s all I remember. I have always felt that I was American.”