Inside WRAL

TV staff member becomes U.S. citizen

Posted January 29, 2010 8:51 a.m. EST

WRAL-TV's lead designer, Shan Zhong, has fulfilled his 15-year dream of becoming an official U.S. citizen.

“It’s great. I feel different now," he said. "It’s a psychological shift. I can’t go back and live forever in China. Now I’m a foreign visitor in that country. I feel reborn.”

Shan was born in Nanjing, China, and came to the United States in 1994 on a student Visa. He followed the long paperwork journey of work permits, working Visa and Green Card for permanent residency. That’s all just to be eligible to apply for citizenship.

Shan says, “It’s a lot of paperwork to get where I am today!”

The citizenship test is a Q&A on basic rights and responsibilities of a United States citizen, geography, history, plus a writing and reading English competency test. Shan says it’s a hard test, even for those who were born here.

“I quizzed a few people on some of the questions and they knew 50 percent of the answers. So they’re hard!" he said.

Shan says he studied the 100 questions for more than two months saying he wanted to make sure to get every question correct. And…he did!

WRAL-TV Creative Director Shelly Leslie says that’s exactly what Shan would do. “His work ethic is unbelievable. When he first came to work here, I had to make him eat lunch and leave at night. I’m not surprised he took that same approach to fulfilling his dream. We’re so happy for him.”

Several of Shan’s co-workers surprised him at the Naturalization Ceremony in Durham.

Lead Designer Shan Zhong

Shan’s planning a big party to celebrate, aptly named Red, White & Shan: A Patriot Act! Partygoers will have no trouble finding the new American citizen, “I’m going to dress like Uncle Sam!”

Thanks to my co-worker, Shelly Leslie, for this story and pictures.

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