Many know today as April Fools’ Day, a day for practical jokes and pranks. For me, however, today represents something entirely different – and much less funny. April 1 is the day the U.S. government starts accepting applications for the H-1B visa, an employment visa for high-skilled immigrants. The government will receive tens of thousands of applications – including mine – for only 65,000 spots, and they will rely on a lottery to select the recipients. If I don’t win that lottery, I’ll likely be deported.
I first visited the United States when I was 16 years old. Born and raised in a small town in Belgium, I fell in love with America’s culture and energy, so much so that I returned as an exchange student two years later. My experience as an exchange student changed me. When I arrived, I was a nerdy kid who preferred to keep to myself, but America gave me the confidence and ambition to dream big.