New self-guided tour helps prepare immigrants for citizenship test
Andriana Arvizo, an employee of Visit Philadelphia, created a tour that connects the material on the U.S. citizenship exam to the the city's historical sites to help new immigrants pass the test.
WHILE PREPARING for the U.S. Citizenship test, Adriana Arvizo realized that more than half the answers in her flash-card set related to Philadelphia.
So, the public-relations manager for Visit Philadelphia got to thinking: Why only bury your nose in a history book when the actual sites are in our back yard? And she went to work.
Visit Philadelphia, a local tourism organization, yesterday announced its New Americans Tour, a self-guided trek of Philadelphia historical sites to help immigrants prepare for the U.S. Citizenship test.
"When you see something, it's easier to remember, resonate and identify," said Arvizo, who organized the tour.
"I think a visit to Philadelphia will truly help you prepare for your test," she added.
Established in partnership with the Mayor's Office of Immigrant and Multicultural Affairs, the tour visits 13 historical sites, including the Liberty Bell Center, the Betsy Ross House and the National Constitution Center. It also includes places important to Philadelphia's immigration history, such as the Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent. Some stops are free, others charge admission.
Following the announcement, Ed Mauger of Philadelphia On Foot, which sponsors tours of the city, led a brief walking tour of the historical area.
He took the group to the Liberty Bell Center where he quizzed students on the length of a presidential term. Other stops included Independence Hall and Old City Hall, the former home of the U.S. Supreme Court.
"We have the best stage set you could have for American history," he said, "and it's the real thing."
Elizabeth Wang, a Penn law student from China, learned of the tour through the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians. The Welcoming Center brought students who are preparing for the citizenship test to the event.
Wang said she isn't sure she will pursue naturalization just yet, but wanted to take the tour anyway.
Arvizo, a native of Chihuahua, Mexico, said there is value in such tours and cited her experience when she visited the Betsy Ross House.
"I remember the first time they explained how the flag has 13 stripes for the 13 colonies," said Arvizo, an aspiring journalist who is awaiting a date to take the citizenship test, "That stayed in my mind."
Igal Kabak, an employment specialist at the Welcoming Center, also said the tours helped him with the test.
Naturalized in 2008, Kabak said he previously lived in Israel and the Soviet Union. When he was studying for the citizenship test, he said frequently seeing historical sites helped him remember important events for the test.
"Once a thing is more personal, you tend to remember it better," he said.