Audio Recording of Interview
A Korean refugee born in Burma, Pri Paw fled to Thai refugee camps with her family due to the war in Burma before coming to the United States. She discusses her experience living in the camps, the process of coming to the United States with assistance from the UN, her education, and her Korean identity as a refugee from Thailand.
Other interviews of this person can be found below:
Narrator: Pri Paw
Location: Midtown Utica Community Center
Summary: A Korean refugee born in Burma, Pri Paw fled to Thai refugee camps with her family due to the war in Burma before coming to the United States. She discusses her experience living in the camps, the process of coming to the United States with assistance from the UN, her education, and her Korean identity as a refugee from Thailand.
Topics: Race, religious practice, war, family, immigration process, language, personal finance, education, cultural adjustment, childhood, generational differences, future
Section 1: (00:00-10:24)
Childhood, generational differences, language- Talks about growing up in the Mae La refugee camp in Thailand before moving to the United States at age 15. Noted the differences in access to technology and contacting relatives during her time in the camp in comparison to people growing up in the camps today who have cell phones, TVs, social media like Facebook and Wi-Fi. Pri does not see her time in the refugee camp as particularly negative. Rather, she speaks about being grateful for her parents sending her to school where she could learn English, ensuring she had food to eat, and playing outside.
Faith, family- Shares about the prayer that took place with monks and family prior to leaving Thailand and the camp.
Section 2: (10:25-20:19)
Cultural adjustment, immigration process, race - Recounts the interview, training, and health processes required for entrance into the United States, where she was excited by how large and diverse the cities were- encountering different races, cultures, and ethnicities while finding comfort in her Korean community. First noticed how quiet the neighborhood was when first arriving at her new home.
Religious practice- Talks about her father discovering a Korean Buddhist community after first practicing at a Cambodian Temple in the States. Though, Pri does not think that her family’s Buddhist religious practices had a great impact on her transition to life in America.
Education, language- Pri attended high school and college in the United States, which she shared allowed her to meet a diverse group of people while strengthening her language skills and recognizing her desire to care for people, like her mom who has a heart condition and members of the Korean community in need of translators when visiting the hospital, in the health field.
Section 3: (20:20-28:27)
Personal finance, education- Talks about taking a year off from school during the time period of the interview in order to work and save money to go back to school and earn a master’s degree since her financial aid from college does not carry over to graduate school.
Future- Speaks about aspirations for greater attention to be paid to Korean refugees and all refugees in order to build understanding of their lived experiences.