DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Army Spc. Vahid Afsharzadeh was born in Iran, and on Monday he became a U.S. citizen.
Afsharzadeh came to America at age 20 to pursue his electrical engineering degree at Cal State Long Beach. After graduating from CSULB, he made the choice to join the Army.
"When I became a permanent resident I wanted to give back what I had been given to the country," said Afsharzadeh. "And as an immigrant it's a source of pride for me to wear the uniform."
Afsharzadeh says it feels great to be an American citizen.
"It's a great feeling to be a part of this nation," said Afsharzadeh.
"And I'm so proud. I worked so hard for it, to be here," he added.
Afsharzadeh says becoming an American citizen is a huge source of pride for him and his family, especially his father.
"He was really supportive, to come to this country, get an education, and also joining the military - super supportive," said Afsharzadeh.
Afsharzadeh plans on continuing his service with the military and upon graduating from his master's program, he wants to become an Army officer. He says for anyone immigrating to the United States to work hard and your dream can come true, too.
"It might be tough at first being an immigrant and then get settled in. It's going to take a while," said Afsharzadeh. "But keep dreaming, keep working hard and hopefully your dreams can come true."