Interview for

Hsir Nee

7/20/2019

Interviewed By:

Irene Hsu

Date Interviewed:

Audio Recording of Interview
00:00 / 24:26
Summary

Hsir discusses growing up in a refugee camp in Thailand, his Karen grandparents having resettled there due to persecution in Burma, and his own resettlement in childhood to the United States. He speaks of his experience among Buddhist and Christian members of his community and of how his time in English as a Second Language classes has informed his desire to go into speech pathology and work with children.

Transcript
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Additional Notes
Outline

Narrator: Hsir Nee

Date: 7/20/2019

Location: Hsir’s house


Summary: Hsir discusses growing up in a refugee camp in Thailand, his Karen grandparents having resettled there due to persecution in Burma, and his own resettlement in childhood to the United States. He speaks of his experience among Buddhist and Christian members of his community and of how his time in English as a Second Language classes has informed his desire to go into speech pathology and work with children.

Topics: Family, Cultural Adjustment, Dreams for the Future


Outline

Section 1: (00:00-4:15)

  • Childhood - Grew up in a refugee camp in Thailand; grandparents helped raise him; didn’t have a lot of things in camp, hard to get to places and had to walk everywhere

  • Family and Friends - Spent a lot of time with his friends in the camp; felt totally free; has memories of chasing helicopters in the sky; ran around without shoes on with friends;

  • War - Grandmother fled Burma with five children before settling in Thailand; Parents don’t talk about Burma probably because don’t want to bring back those memories

Section 2: (4:15-9:10)

  • Immigration Process - Was in one of the first waves of refugee resettlement for Karen people in the United States; Process involved lots of pictures, documents, and fingerprinting; a bus came to the camp to take them to Bangkok and then to the airport; Uncle sponsored him to come to the United States;  already here and the sponsor who brought them here; hard to say goodbye to his parents because he came with grandparents (his parents are here now)

  • Food - Misses the food and the weather from Thailand

  • Cultural Adjustment - Came to the States and saw snow for the first time; Before coming, didn’t know anything about the United States except from movies and a map of the United States; Was very surprised by the houses

Section 3: (9:15-14:10)

  • Education - Going to school was hard without speaking English and didn’t like the food; Had a hard time communicating with teachers; Was very open so friends made it easier; In 2nd and 3rd grade made more friends, adjusted more

  • Cultural Adjustment - Was homesick at first and missed his parents; his grandparents would get lost and not know how to get home; Bullied because he wore different clothes and couldn’t speak English well; ESL teachers helped him a lot, nicer than usual and spent more time with them, they were more like friends, taught them to not be scared

Section 4: (14:15-19:51)

  • Childhood - Didn't have a lot of Karen people in his life at first; More people immigrated and he made more friends and could help them adjust

  • Historical Context - talks about his culture: flag, don dance, a lot of celebrations to not forget history and culture; Karen people are originally from Burma but they were forced out by the government

  • Religion -  a lot of Karen people are Christian and they pray together; Some are also Buddhist; Personally not religious in any way but appreciates different religions and their life lessons; Enjoyed coming to the United States and joining a new Church

Section 5: (19:56-24:26)

  • Commentary on Age - Most important part about adjustment was the language; being a refugee gives him motivation; wish people would know that refugees went through a lot and people can learn more about them

  • Hopes for the Future - Future goal is to be speech pathologist; inspired by ESL teacher who helped him say a lot of words and also wants to work with kids