Academic Barriers Hmong Students Face Essay

Academic Barriers Hmong Students Face Essay

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Academic Barriers Hmong Students Face in the United States
The Hmong, an Asian ethnic group, came from an oral culture, where they did not have any written form until the 1950s (McCall, 1999). The Hmong lived an agricultural lifestyle in the hill and mountain areas in Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand (McCall, 1999; Tatman, 2004). They focused on physical labor to provide food for the family and lacked formal education, as it was not essential (Lee & Green, 2008; McCall, 1999).
During the Vietnam War, the Hmong helped assist the United States government. However, when the United States withdrew from the war, the North Vietnamese and Laos Communist government declared genocide on the Hmong (Tatman, 2004; Thao, 2003). Thus, the Hmong were left to defend themselves and flee to refugee camps in Thailand for safely (McCall, 1999). This resulted in the Hmong migrating to the United States during the late 1970s through 2007 in waves as refugees. They reside in California, Minnesota, and Wisconsin (Collier, Munger, & Moua, 2012; Lee & Green, 2008).
Upon their arrival, Hmong faced “multiple social, cultural, educational, economic, and institutional barriers and challenges” (Hmong National Development, 2004; Lee, Jung, Su, Tran, & Bahrassa, 2008, p. 559). As the Hmong settled down in the United States, they found that education was vital for their children’s future (Lee & Green, 2008). A study conducted by Reder (1982) found that “73% [of Hmong adults] had never attended public schools in Laos, 12% had one to three years of school, 7% had four to six years, 5% had seven to eight years, and approximately 3% had nine or more years” (Vang, 2005, p. 29). But because many Hmong parents and adults are not educated and lacked knowledge of...

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...r postsecondary expenses (Lor, 2008).
In addition, Hmong high school students also struggle with understanding how the education system. It was brought to light that Hmong student in Xiong and Lam’s research stated, “having difficulties in navigating the higher education system, for example not knowing the academic requirements, admission requirements and campus resources” (2013, p. 137). Furthermore, a study conducted by Xiong and Lee (2011) suggested, “The top three academic support services that many Hmong students selected as beneficial were financial assistance (n=14, 63.60%), peer advising (n=13, 59.10%), and academic advising (n=12, 54.50%)” (p 13). This continues to show how crucial it is for Hmong high students to seek guidance and advising from their siblings, friends, classmates, and school educators such as academic counselors and teachers (Lor, 2008).

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