A lot of opportunity, if you are willing to work hard.: Becoming Minnesotan

Tashi Lhewa, c.2005.
  • Name - Tashi Lhewa
  • Age at interview - 24
  • Gender - Male
  • Generation - First Generation American / Immigrant
  • Date of Interview - 08.28.2005
  • A Tibetan shop, Dharamsala, India.  Photo courtesy Wangyal Ritzekura.
    High school graduation day, Tibetan American Foundation of Minnesota, 2007.

    Economics, Tibetan

    Essential Question

    Becoming Americans: What does it mean to be an American?

    Opportunities in America: What kind of opportunities does this person see in America that he/she did not have in the homeland?

    Words to look for


    Background Information

    Many Tibetan people have fled to Nepal or India to escape the persecution of the Chinese.  While living in these places, jobs were often hard to find and many Tibetan refugees struggled alongside the “underclass” of very poor people in India. Despite this, many Tibetans have worked hard and pulled themselves out of poverty—both back in India and Nepal, and in the U.S.

    To learn more about Tibetan history and culture, visit our Tibetan Community page.

    • Chapter 1

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    Narrator: Tashi Lhewa (TL

    TL:  As far as economics are concerned, I think it’s been an excellent opportunity. Unlike — I mean Tibetans, they came to India and India there is a large underclass where people don’t have many opportunities at all. And Tibetans thrived under that condition. So they can thrive in — the refugee population can thrive in India. I think that coming to the U.S., where there is a lot of opportunity, if you are willing to work hard...I believe it. I mean it’s not perfect but there are a lot of opportunities for people out there and we have thrived. We still face challenges but we have thrived. 

    Related Glossary Terms


    Noun:  1. A requirement or need, or a limitation.  2. A state or quality.


    Noun:  The management of the money and resources of a community or system.


    Noun:  A chance for advancement, progress, or profit.


    Noun:  A person forced to leave his or her own country and seek refuge in a foreign country out of fear of persecution or violence or because of poverty or natural disaster.


    Verb:  To increase in wealth or success; to prosper, be profitable; to flourish.  (thrives, thriving, throve/thrived)


    Noun:  The poorest class of people in a given society.


    Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access]. http://www.mnhs.org/immigration
    nid: 136