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Meet Three Vermonters Who Became U.S. Citizens In 2019: Arunima Dasgupta

A person sits in a chair with the GlobalFoundries logo in the background.
Elodie Reed
At a ceremony in a museum dedicated to Vermont folk hero Ethan Allen, Arunima Dasgupta completed the naturalization process in 2019. This is her story.

Arunima Dasgupta, 46, moved to Vermont in 2004 from Virginia, where she completed a master’s program. She now works at GlobalFoundries as an engineer and lives in Essex, and she’s one of three people VPR spoke with shortly after receiving U.S. citizenship this year.

Here’s Arunima’s story, in her words.

Click here to go to VPR's 'New Citizens' project page.

(Note: This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity).

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So my name is Arunima Dasgupta.

I landed in Vermont in February, I think somewhere in the last half of February. I get off the plane. It is cold like crazy, and there's this beautiful snow — white, white snow — and the full moon, and there's the blue streak, and I think I fell in love with Vermont.

And both of the kids grew up here, and I wouldn't change a thing.

So I grew up in a city, in Kolkata. And for us, you know, we had our little lane we could play in. But anytime we had to go somewhere else, we needed some parental guidance. You know somebody had to come with us, it wasn't safe, it wasn't right. But in Vermont, these kids, even when they were very little, they would go out and play, and we never worried.

I also went through a divorce when I was here. I had the support of the community: Friends, neighbors, you know, helped me out.

More from VPR — Meet Three Vermonters Who Became U.S. Citizens This Year: Said Bulle [Dec. 31]

You know I have a daughter and I have a son, and there is obviously no, no distinction in how I raise both of them here.

But I knew my boundaries as a woman in a place like Kolkata. You know, there were things that you could do and you could not do socially, as well as you know, safety-wise. And then our path, if you ask me our path to be greater than just a woman, would be to really do well in studies, in academics — to be able to break that barrier and become a career person and then show the world that you can do it.

But when I came to this country, and especially to Vermont, what I noticed as my daughter grew up, is that girls can basically do anything. I never thought in India I would be able to play soccer and play with the boys. My daughter played in a club — with the boys.

Now, I will tell you that from the day I moved to this country, and the day I moved to Vermont and started raising my kids, this has been my home.

Whether I took the oath or not, I was an American, you know. And I wouldn't just say because I'm paying taxes. That's lame. But you know, it's more because I was part of the community — I have been part of the community.

More from VPR — Meet Three Vermonters Who Became U.S. Citizens This Year: Islane Louis[Dec. 31]

You know when Irene hit, when things went wrong in our little communities, I was there. I did whatever little I could. I never felt that the fact that I wasn't a citizen mattered to me. And my green card got me everywhere, you know.

But when it came down right to it, my final decision was because I wanted to vote.

I love Bernie. I love Bernie. People would ask me to vote and I had to explain to them how I can't vote. It really bothered me.

So I was like, "No, I want to vote in this country." I don't think I have that strong of a voice until and unless I am a citizen of this country.

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These stories were produced by digital producer Elodie Reed. Production assistance came from Emily Corwin and editing from Mark Davis. Music by A2VT and Blue Dot Sessions. Special thanks to Liam Elder-Connors, Henry Epp, Chris Albertine, Noah Cutter, Jonathan Butler and Meg Malone.

Elodie is a reporter and producer for Vermont Public. She previously worked as a multimedia journalist at the Concord Monitor, the St. Albans Messenger and the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript, and she's freelanced for The Atlantic, the Christian Science Monitor, the Berkshire Eagle and the Bennington Banner. In 2019, she earned her MFA in creative nonfiction writing from Southern New Hampshire University.
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